New businesses get all the buzz. But what about the ones who have been around on the block? The ones that really stood the test of time. There is a reason they are still here today. And what about the businesses that don't get all the hype because they are located a bit off the beaten path? So we've got the 10 "best kept secrets" in Jersey City that are sure to have you asking "How didn't I know about this place before?"
New Park Tavern
New Park Tavern is an Irish neighborhood bar tucked into West Side Ave. Don't expect any craft beers or fancy cocktails here, but they do have an amazing burger according to every review on Yelp. Expect friendly service in a cozy environment with patio seating for the summer and a fireplace for the winter. This joint is perfect for a low-key night. Take note that it is cash only and parking is limited. 575 West Side Ave.
Don't let the name fool you, this place has been known for their hot dogs for 65+ years. Located directly across from the Journal Square PATH plaza, it seemingly blends in with all the storefronts next to it. This hot dog shack with fast counter service is the perfect quick stop on the way home and definitely worth crossing JFK Blvd. Toppings are highly recommended: the sauerkraut, sweet onions, chili, and cheese are always a good choice. If we're being frank, Boulevard Drinks truly serves the best hot dog in Jersey City. Six decades of business can back that up. 48 Journal Sq.
The Philippine Bread House
Add this Filipino bakery and cafe to your list of "must tries" if you haven't been yet. With over 30+ years in business, The Philippine Bread House has been featured in The New York Times on the Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern and named one of the Top 25 in The Star Ledger's "Taste of New Jersey." While they have a large selection of dishes, cakes, and pastries, the Pan De Sal is the hot ticket item here: a sweet, buttery, and flaky bread. They are available plain or with fillings such as pork or sweet yams. 530 Newark Ave.
You can't talk Jersey City gems without including an authentic Italian deli. They do everything you'd expect from an old school deli and they do it well. Roast Beef, chicken parm, pizza, cold Italian subs, and fresh mozz. Generous portions and at decent prices (credit cards are accepted.) The catch? They are only open Monday through Friday from 7am to 4pm. Pro tip: Order the Chicken Bruschetta sandwhich–it will change your life. 41 Montgomery St.
It's sad to say there are not many actual sit-down restaurants left from the earlier days. With the exception of Laicos of course, which opened its doors in 1972 as a pizzeria and bar. They have since expanded their menu and become a full-blown Italian restaurant, mixing both traditional and modern cooking styles. Using fresh ingredients is a number one priority at this establishment, which has been in the same family for 3 generations. Here's to hoping Laicos gets to see a fourth generation. 67 Terhune Ave.
White Mana pumps out delicious, melt-in-your-mouth cheeseburgers that put White Castle's sliders to shame. The seasoned waffles are also to die for. Super cheap prices. Cash only. Open 24/7 with fast and speedy service. White Mana was originally featured at The 1939 World's Fair and moved across to Jersey City in 1946 where it has been owned and family operated ever since. 470 Tonnelle Ave.
Taqueria Viva Mexico Kitchen Cafe
While we all love Oralé for its unique take on Mexican cuisine and Taqueria Downtown for their consistently amazing tacos and margaritas there IS other great Mexican food in Jersey City. Just far enough from the hubbub of Grove St. is Taqueria Viva Mexico Kitchen Cafe. Authentic, fresh, and flavorful Mexican food in a quaint homey atmosphere. Plus, what's not to love about BYOB? Next time you're on Grove St. and Newark Ave. and you just genuinely want to hear the entire conversation over a great dinner, this should be your go-to spot. It won't disappoint. 133 Morris Ave.
Pizza Masters has been a staple in the Heights community since 1959. This business has gone through many changes over the years, but quality, service, and price continue to reign supreme. This Italian eatery recently renovated and modernized its front house pizzeria. There is ample seating; order at the counter and have the food brought to the table. Pizza Masters is open until 12am making it a great late-night option, which is far and few in the Heights. As for the pizza itself? Yeah, they make a pretty mean slice. After all, they have been at it for a while now. 278 Central Ave.
The Armero family opened their first restaurant in the Paterson/Passaic area in 1997. In 2016, they opened a fourth location on Jersey City's Central Ave. With the boom of downtown this restaurant has flown under the radar. All Jersey City foodies should flock here for some amazing Peruvian cuisine. It's a small restaurant with a sleek and clean design. Grab your favorite bottle of wine and head on over. 291 Central Ave.
Kennedy Fried Chicken
Another Jersey City classic! Located on the corner of Summit and Sip Ave. in the Journal Square area it's hard to miss the flashing storefront sign. All the fried and greasy (but not too greasy) goodness is here. Obviously, the fried chicken is great but people also love the chicken combo plates with rice, beef patties, and the Italian cheeseburger complete with French fries between the bun. Cash only and open until 4am on the weeknights and 5am on the weekends. 50 Sip Ave.
Written by Kaitlyn De Leonardis
Jersey City born, Kait loves how the city has flourished since her childhood, and the fact that she can now enjoy it as an adult. She can often be found running by the waterfront, in the local vintage shops or killing it on the foosball table at South House. Her hobbies include brunch, shopping, and Instagram. What like those aren't hobbies? Follow her outfits and antics @outfittedand_about!