EXPLORING NEW JERSEY: Hopewell

Hopewell finds itself in the midst of beautiful Central New Jersey, among some of the best restaurant towns in the state – Princeton, Lambertville, and Pennington are all a beautiful 15 minute drive in each direction. Yet it winds up standing out thanks to its walkable downtown, friendly locals, unique dining experiences, and varied cultures represented. Ranging from Neapolitan pizzas from Italian-trained chefs to locally-sourced organic burgers and brisket, to family-run businesses with communal Paella nights. With all these options packed into a historic mile-stretch that was home to one of the 55 signers of the Declaration of Independence, John Hart, it’s no wonder why the locals never tire of their choices and why many of their restaurants are worth a trip across county and state-borders.

The first thing anyone should know about Hopewell is that it is a small town, with around 2,000 residents in the Boro. Yet, the small footprint does not translate to limited dining options! For breakfast alone, you can take your pick of the porch of Boro Bean, the historic and recently renovated and reopened Aunt Chubby’s Luncheonette, or the upscale casual Brick Farm Market.

So what’s for breakfast?

Boro Bean is the place to go for a scone and a coffee – a fresh hard scone, as Larry David might say. A personal favorite of mine is the India Spiced Chai Latte, which continues to be my favorite Chai on this or any menu. I’ve searched far and wide for a similar Chai, but nothing quite beats their mix. Last year, around Christmastime, they actually sold the mixture in jars for a limited time. Every day, I regret not buying every jar they had. A bonus is the front porch, which is always busy with families and dogs, and locals playing cards once the weather gets nicer.

Aunt Chubby’s Luncheonette is the newest, oldest hotspot in town. Serving breakfast, baked goods, and delicious old-timey milkshakes, this is the place to go for the friendly service and an atmosphere that makes you feel like you stepped into Hopewell 50 years ago. Bonus points, they have a great Instagram that not only features the food, but also the friendly faces that come through. You can gush over all their dishes even if you can’t be there yourself that day. The exclusivity of their 6:30am – 2pm hours make it all the more enticing. They also serve lunch dishes.

How about lunch?

With a renovated 1930s brick auto repair shop as it’s setting, Brick Farm Market opened in 2013 and brought a much-needed energy to the town with its fresh, locally sourced, farm-to-table market. What you’ll find today is an endless flow of locals and commuters streaming in-and-out, for a coffee (their iced caramel macchiato is my go-to), a made-to-order green juice, a croissant, or a sandwich with locally raised and pastured meats. Be sure to check out their sister sit-down restaurant, Brick Farm Tavern – set in an 1800s Hopewell farm house – for dinner, Sourland Mountain Spirits cocktails, and Troon Brewing beers.

Dinner reservations?

When you’re looking for authentic Neapolitan brick-oven pizza, then you need to stop in to Nomad Pizza. Now expanded to three locations including Princeton and Philly, Nomad got its start in none other than Hopewell, New Jersey. And I’m not exaggerating when I say you might as well be in Roma, which is exactly where the pizza tastes like it’s from, and exactly where Nomad takes their staff to learn and explore each year. I recommend the Margherita di Bufala for the freshest mozzarella you’ll ever taste on a pizza. 

A relatively new option in town is Tomatello’s Latin Cuisine, perfect for fulfilling your $2 Taco Tuesday cravings. The thing that really sets Tello’s – as it’s come to be known by some locals – apart from other places is its family-atmosphere, led by Mr. Tello himself – a 30 year resident of Hopewell Boro – working behind the counter and cooking your chorizo loco (Latin-style hotdog), fajitas, and paella. You can expect an intimate atmosphere where the Tello family ensures that everything is to your liking and look forward to seeing you visit again soon.

So what is there to do in Hopewell?

Restaurant Week – March 16th, 2020

All our local restaurants pull out all the stops as locals and visitors alike flock to the downtown restaurants night-after-night to enjoy special menus, friends, and music. This year, Brick Farm Market is offering a new Smoke & Cider BBQ Dinner, featuring locally raised pork, beef brisket and short ribs, turkey, and chicken, paired with NJ’s own Ironbound Cider.

Cruise Nights

Twice a year in the spring and fall months, Hopewell is host to the hottest of the hot-rods and classic cars right on Broad St., and the local restaurants and food trucks from nearby are out in full-force to feed all the visitors as they take in the cool cars from community members and others.

Food Truck Fridays

Twice a year, local food trucks convene on the historic Hopewell Train Station as local musicians put on performances for a few hours in the summer evenings. 

The Hopewell Theater

The perfect pairing with dinner to complete your night-out in Hopewell, this theater has live music, theater productions, and screenings of films and documentaries you can’t find anywhere else in the world outside Paris – (not kidding!)

What do the locals have to say?

“Quality food made with care” – Carolyn

“Wonderful locally owned place with farm fresh food! We are lucky to live in an area with great farms and wide open spaces, especially in a packed state like New Jersey!” Jen

“Standards and quality uniformly high, and great friendly staff everywhere!” Sourland Cycles

Obviously there’s plenty more to eat and drink. We can’t cover everything here, so check out this handy Google Maps List to see all of your dining and drinking options in Hopewell, NJ. 

Article from:

@hopewelleats

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