What To Eat in New Jersey
Delaware Valley hoagies (aka sub sandwiches) are fantastic in the southern reaches of New Jersey, as is classic Neapolitan-style Italian-American pizza. Highway travel leads to countless excellent diners and delis, many of which feature the Garden State’s favorite breakfast (and lunch) meat, pork roll, which can be hugely satisfying when griddle-cooked to crisp-edge succulence. In and around Newark, look for Newark hot dogs, also called Italian hot dogs. They are all-beefers stuffed into big puffy rounds of bread along with fried potatoes, onions, and peppers: mighty, mighty meals!
The common and seemingly logical story is that the sub sandwich was named after the long, loaf-shaped ships of the silent service during World War II. But years ago, Tom LaRocca, longtime employee of the venerable White House Sub Shop in Atlantic City, offered us another perspective: "Atlantic City said 'sub' long before this place opened [in 1946]," he said, explaining that the length of bread used to make the sandwich was always known as a sub. "Because it is not a full-size loaf. It is subsized." In any case, what makes New Jersey subs great is not only FRESH, high-quality bread but also the artistry with which multiple ingredients are folded and layered and dressed inside.
If it wasn't so déclassé, pork roll could be the official dish of New Jersey, where it is a preoccupation. Sliced thin and pan-fried, the pig-parts loaf frequently is used in sandwiches, but it is most popular as breakfast meat in lieu of higher-on-the-hog options such as bacon, sausage, or actual ham. Packed into a hard roll with egg and cheese (known in diner slang as a Triple Bypass), it fairly gushes fatty savor. A single slice supplies 26% of the fat recommended in a normal daily diet.
The Newark Hot dog, also known as an Italian hot dog, is a deep fried all-beef wiener– usually two; few customers order a single – inserted into half of a capacious circular bun known locally as pizza bread. The bread is sturdy and absorbent and can be squeezed open like a pita pocket to hold not only the hot dog(s) but also sautéed onions and peppers and a heap of potato chunks that have been either deep fried or sautéed. Newark dog shops tend not to drain oil from any of the toppings; they are forked directly from the griddle or frying cauldron onto the hot dogs and they in turn are dressed with the diner's choice of ketchup, mustard, marinara sauce, or fire-hot relish.
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Pork roll (aka Taylor Ham) with egg and cheese is the breakfast sandwich of New Jersey, nowhere better than at the White Rose System diner.
Rutt's Hut hot dogs are called rippers because their skin tears and crinkles when they're deep fried. With spicy-sweet relish, a New Jersey best.
Some of the best pizza anywhere is made in New Jersey at De Lorenzo's, where the crust is thin and crisp and the toppings are perfectly balanced.
White Manna's sliders, festooned with onions and cheese if requested, nestled in a tender potato roll, are a New Jersey diner must-eat. American classics!
The foundation of B&W's heavy crumb cake is sweet yeast pastry. Atop that is a thick ribbon of large crumbs, some crunchy, others soft. Coffee, please!
A north New Jersey legend, Santillo's Brick Oven makes awesome Sicilian pizza and good garlic bread.
The Rose's Special at Carmen's Deli is a fine hoagie with both sharp and mild provolone, sopressata, prosciutto, capicola, peppers, onions, tomatoes, and oil.
One of the best Philly cheese steaks anywhere, made with sliced steak on a poppy-seeded roll, puts Donkey's tavern in the top tier of New Jersey sandwich shops.
Chick's of Cherry Hill, New Jersey serves great cheese steaks with long-hot peppers, soft drinks, and Tastykakes, and that's about the extent of it.