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Tour the Garden State and New Jersey Cuisine by Traveling the Anthony Bourdain Food Trail

Updated: Jun 28

Anthony Bourdain once said, “To know Jersey is to love her.”  We feel the same, Tony. Just like Chef Bourdain was proud to hail from New Jersey, we are so very proud to be residents of The Great Garden State.  We are even more proud to have started this family run business right here on our own home turf, and to be able to serve fellow New Jerseayans.

Image from "Parts Unknown" - Chef Anthony Bourdain

Since Pinto Carpentry serves most towns and counties in New Jersey, we also get to see a lot of our great state in our travels, and get to try some delicious new eateries.  Plus, several of our staffers also enjoy cooking, baking, grilling, and barbecuing as a pastime.  So, we thought we’d celebrate some of our shared passions as well as the amazing things that make this such a great place to live in, starting with some of the wonderful shore towns and staple eateries that wooed even the persnickety chef himself.  (Of course, New Jersey does have its own official Anthony Bourdain Food Trail, but we thought we’d sprinkle in a few extra gems he enjoyed from around the state, too!)

Take a Tour of the Great Garden State with Your Tastebuds, Tony Bourdain Style!

Hiram’s Roadstand in Fort Lee

Known for their deep fried hot dogs, also called “rippers” this stand brings a vintage classic charm with old-school grill-top favorites.  Locals recommend a Chili Cheese Dog with the onion rings, with the cheeseburger running a close second. It’s clear why Bourdain called this his “Happy Place”!

Frank’s Deli and Restaurant in Asbury Park

Serving up classic deli favorites, authentic greek food, and milkshakes alongside incredible oversized sandwiches.  Locals rave about the Pork Roll Egg & Cheese, chocolate chip pancakes, Western Omelette, and of course there’s Bourdain’s favorite: The No. 4 - a sesame-seed roll with ham, pepperoni, salami, provolone, topped with lettuce, onion, tomato, oil and vinegar, and hot peppers.

Klein’s Fish Market and Waterside Cafe in Belmar

This Jersey seafood staple since 1924 is a charming old-school waterfront restaurant with locally sourced catches!  Local patrons love the lobster roll with an ice cold beer, the crispy buffalo calamari, crab-stuffed flounder, and lobster bisque.  Bourdain himself enjoyed the fried oysters, swordfish steaks, and a female lobster with drawn butter.  It’s a hustling, bustling joint, so you may experience long wait times, but it’s worth it for these classic Jersey Shore eats.

Kubel’s Bar in Barnegat Light

A neighbourhood staple of this shore town since the 50s, Kubel’s offers up fresh seafood and classic American Cuisine.  The interior has that classic, cozy shore-town interior complete with a homey fireplace and a full bar to enjoy some sports with the locals.  Although it’s open year round, this is a hopping spot in the summer months in the LBI region.  Visitors here love the pretzels with beer cheese, garlic steamed clams, coconut shrimp, country fried ribs, local barnegat light sea scallops with beurre blanc.  When Tony stopped by with his brother, they enjoyed the clam chowder, garlic steamed fresh clams, fish and chips, and the deep-fried clam strips.

Tony’s Baltimore Grill in Atlantic City

This classic spot in Atlantic City has been in operation since 1927, and a plethora of Italian and Italian-American comfort food and pizzas.  Keeping its vintage roots fresh with a throwback interior, this place offers jukebox music entertainment and a friendly atmosphere with a family dining room in one half and a pub-style bar in the other.  Locals love the typical Jersey Italian fare, but especiall rave about speciality options like the Clams Casino Pizza, the generous homemade spaghetti and meatballs (Tony’s dish of choice), The TBG Special Pizza (Mushroom + Sausage), shrimp and bacon wrapped scallops, and the Hawaiian pie.  It’s a top tier spot for late-night eats when you’re done having fun in the casinos!

Lucille’s Luncheonette in Warren Grove

This charming luncheonette has been in business since 1975 and has remained a local favorite ever since.  You’ll get classic home-cooked favorites like french toast, generously sized pancakes with fresh fruit, a classic diner style sloppy joe, homemade waffles, and even that good ol’ warm and bubbly apple pie.  With an expansive menu of Breakfast (served all day) and Lunch options, it’s the perfect stop off on your trip “down the shore”!  Bourdain’s visit included a cup of chili with oyster crackers, and a hefty plate of hash browns, eggs, sausage, and toast, if you’re looking for some suggestions.

Bobolink Dairy and Bakehouse in Milford

This incredible farm, dairy, and bakehouse began its mission to raise awareness for agriculture and respect for nature in 2002, and moved to their current location in 2010.  This is a 100% grass-fed family farm with regenerative and sustainable practices, and prioritze animal welfare above all else.  As a result, they have some of the most delicious cheeses, delectable 100% grassfed meat options, and the most divine hand-crafted homemade baked goods.  Everything is made from scratch right there on the self-sustaining grounds, and even Anthony Bourdain himself could not resist their cave-aged cheddar, a bit of Drumm, and what he referred to as “the most extraordinary” Jean-Louis cheese.

Gencarelli’s Bakery in Bloomfield and in Wayne

Family-owned and operated since 1975, this old-fashioned Italian bakery started as a bread bakery, and later evolved to produce cakes, pastries, donuts, and more!  According to Mario Battali and Anthony Bourdain, you just can’t beat their handmade cannolis, powder-sugar dusted lobstertail pastries.  Locals love the cheese cake, hazelnut cake, and strawberry shortcake to be real standouts, alongside the homemade gelato.

Baumgart’s Cafe in Ridgewood NJ

This unique eatery offers Asian-American cuisine and ice cream!  That’s right, you can grab your favorite Chinatown style noodle bowls, Southeast Asian curries and spicy dishes, a variety of fried rice, and American-Chinese classics.  If that’s not enough options for you, there’s also the Baumgart Chef Special menu with a multitude of dishes from Duck to Filet Mignon, and even some classic NJ Diner Classics.  Whatever you choose, make sure to follow it up with one of their classic Ice Cream Sodas or housemade ice cream.  When Tony swung by, he enjoyed a chocolate ice cream soda, an egg cream, and a broiled eel and tuna sushi roll.

Mitsuwa Marketplace in Edgewater

A bustling Japanese speciality market offers a plethora of Asian grocery options, shopping mall vendors, and a unique food court with everything from noodle bowls to stir frys and bento boxes, sushi and deli options as well as fresh baked goods, bubble teas, mochi donuts, and a Japanese confectionary.  On Bourdain’s visit, he enjoyed a refreshing and creamy Taro Bubble Tea.

So Kong Dong Soft Tofu 소공동 Restaurant in Fort Lee

This intimate cozy nook offers comforting Korean cuisine favorites in a relaxed setting. They’re very busy on weekends, but visitors say it’s always worth the wait!  Locals love the seafood pancake, spicy beef noodle soup, bibimbap, classic soft tofu soup (a house specialty!), dumplings, and spicy cucumbers.  Tony visited with his friend Nari, wher ethey ordered soare ribs and banchan, sour and spicy soup with a fried egg, and spicy tofu soup (which self-professed tofu hater Tony said he actually enjoyed very much!

Have you been to any of the restaurants on this list? Let us know your favorite!  See a spot we left off the list? Let us know in the comments.

Are you a homeowner or business owner in New Jersey looking for indoor handrail installers, stair carpenters, and related carpentry services? Pinto Carpentry would love to work with you! We’re available for both commercial and residential projects throughout most regions of New Jersey. We specialize in customized indoor handrail, custom indoor staircases, custom trim and cabinetry.  Our experienced professionals have more than 20 years of industry experience!  We’re also a family owned and operated business 

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