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We’ve been preparing for this moment all year! It’s both a treat and a serious responsibility to go out tasting, shopping and exploring everything SJ towns have to offer. So, once again, we’ve compiled our annual list of ALL THAT’S UNIQUE and wonderful in South Jersey. Read it, tweet it, share it – and definitely see for yourself just how amazing these SJ spots truly are!

  • Best Buns

    Elsie’s nickname, “Home of the Pickle Sandwich,” is so appropriate. The new deli is the ultimate fix for sandwich lovers who simply can’t get enough of the fermented cukes. Elsie’s delivers bigtime by replacing bread with two massive pickles, which are scooped out to make room for all kinds of fillings.

  • BEST TAP-TO-TABLE EXPERIENCE

    Talk about fresh. Iron Hill’s award-winning beer is brewed mere feet away from your table. Meanwhile, your meal  is made to order in the scratch kitchen. It’s a winning combo made all the more enjoyable thanks to Iron Hill’s waitstaffs’ expert beer knowledge. Want to know which brew goes with the cheesesteak eggrolls or grilled salmon salad? They’ll hook you up.

  • BEST BIRTHDAY PARTY IF YOU’RE OVER 21

    Laurel Lanes
    laurellanesnj.com

    Sure, you had a bowling party as a kid, but this is strikingly different. The Splitz Luxury Suite has cherry wood bowling lanes, a full bar, large and comfy cushioned seating, giant projection screens, plus a putting green, and billiard and foosball tables. 

  • BEST TEXAS BBQ ON THE WAY DOWN THE SHORE

    Henri’s Hotts Barbeque
    henrishottsbarbeque.com 

    BBQ lovers will drive miles out of their way in the deep South for the best smoked meats and fried chicken slathered with mouth-watering sauces. You don’t have to go that far off route for SJ’s best Texas barbecue. Just follow the cars and smoke (from the meats of course).

  • BEST SPECIAL-OCCASION RESTAURANT

    The Capital Grille
    thecapitalgrille.com

    You’ll find confetti on your table, a special sweet message on your plated dessert, and your server will even take your photo and put it in a keepsake paper frame, all to make your special day even more special. And of course, the meal, service and atmosphere are of the highest level, so your celebration will be one-of-a-kind.

  • BEST HAPPY HOUR FOOD

    Seasons 52
    seasons52.com

    Whether you’re celebrating Happy Hour with wine, beer, cocktails or water, Seasons 52 has a wide and delicious variety of $5 small-plate menu items from 3- 7 pm to hit the food spot. Try caramelized grilled sea scallops or Kona-crusted lamb. There’s also a wine and flatbread special for $12. Lobster and fresh mozzarella flatbread with pinot grigio? Yes, please! 

  • BEST JUKE BOX

    Silver Diner
    silverdiner.com

    Long before ear buds and Spotify were a thing, coin-operated music boxes – known as juke boxes – were how you heard songs on demand. Fixtures in Jersey diners in those pre-internet days, juke boxes are mostly a thing of the past, which is why they’re so perfectly in place at the 1950s-themed Silver Diner. Listen to The Jackson Five, Elvis, The Beatles and more. That’s lots of nostalgia for a quarter!

  • BEST TASTES OF THE OLD COUNTRY

    Sal & Joe’s Spaghetti and Pizza House
    salandjoespizza.com

     

    Meals at Sal & Joe’s are made with old-world, Mediterranean flare thanks to  recipes brothers Salvatore and Giuseppe brought with them from their nonna’s kitchen in Sicily. No wonder customers are so loyal. This SJ restaurant has been serving up generous-sized, Italian favorites for three decades.

  • BEST PLAYGROUND

    Cooper’s Poynt
    Waterfront Park, Camden

    Do you remember driving over the Ben Franklin Bridge and seeing a large prison right on the riverbank? Look again next time you cross, and now you’ll see an awesome, colorful playground and park with kids and families having fun. That would be progress you’re seeing.

  • BEST COLOR

    Thriv. Salon & Spa
    thrivesalon.com

    The winning ingredient at this popular salon is stylists who listen. So whatever color or highlights you’re going for, they will work with you to make it happen – and to make you happy.

  • BEST INSTAGRAM-WORTHY WEDDING

    Camden County Boathouse
    camdencountyboathouse.com

    Not many wedding venues have lots of picture-perfect spots that will make your Insta followers say, “Wow! Where is that?” but Camden County Boathouse has an old-school dock, a majestic river, a sprawling balcony, great French doors, lush landscaping, the brick boathouse itself (!), and the gorgeous Philly skyline in the distance. I mean, the list goes on and on and on. Get those hashtags ready because this wedding venue is #alwaysgorg.

  • BEST BUILD YOUR OWN THANG

    The Pop Shop
    thepopshopusa.com

    Is it a sandwich? Wrap? A gluten-free … thang? You decide when you build it yourself at The Pop Shop. Start by choosing from half-pound beef or turkey burgers, vegetarian patties, grilled chicken breast, or a footlong dog and “roll” from there. But save room for milkshakes and dessert!

  • BEST SPECIAL-OCCASION DRESSES

    Marlene’s
    marlenesdressshop.com

    In a pretty spot on Collingswood’s main drag, you’ll find this shop brimming with beautiful dresses and tasteful gowns for your upcoming event. With friendly staff that asks just the right questions, you’ll be feeling fab in no time.

  • BEST LUNCH

    There’s so much to love about CK Café: the 4-year-old eatery supports the mission of Cathedral Kitchen, and the nonprofit’s culinary school operates the restaurant, preparing mostly Camden residents for jobs. To top it off, the menu is creative and the food is as tasty as your favorite lunch spot in South Jersey. Try the Federal Street – a grilled chicken sandwich with fire-roasted tomatoes, provolone cheese, spinach and chipotle sauce on a ciabatta roll.

  • BEST SEASONAL SWEETS

    Classic Cake
    classiccake.com

    In the heat of summer, when you crave light, fruit-filled treats, Classic Cake is there for you. Summer specialty items are made from farm-fresh berries and sweet peaches. For fall, look for caramel, pumpkin and cranberry infusions. Winter ’tis the season for hand-baked truffles followed by lemons and limes of spring. You’ll want to keep coming back with each changing season.

  • BEST HIGH-TECH GOLF GAME

    Monster Mini Golf
    monsterminigolf.com

    Imagine playing 18 holes of glow-in-the-dark mini golf surrounded by a virtual landscape to light up your way. You’ll be interacting with animated monsters that talk, wiggle and squawk while you go for your hole-in-one. Newly opened Monster Mini Golf will make you feel like you’re part of an (off-the-couch) video game.

  • BEST “WOW” FLOWERS

    Michael Bruce Florist
    michaelbruceflorist.com

    Everyone knows if you want breathtaking bouquets on your wedding day or the coolest prom corsages, you go to the uber-talented Michael Bruce. But you can also call to send flowers for a birthday, Mother’s Day or even a funeral. No matter the occasion, your arrangement will get an immediate “wow” from that special person lucky enough to receive it.

  • BEST PASTA DISH

    Tre Famiglia
    trefamiglia.com

     

    You can’t go wrong with the Linguine Aurora at Tre Famiglia – jumbo shrimp, scallops and jumbo lump crabmeat in a light tomato-cream sauce. It’s just the right amount of perfectly cooked pasta and sumptuous fresh fish, plus a delicious sauce that isn’t too heavy. Trust us and try it.

  • BEST WAY TO GO GLUTEN-FREE

    Grubr Eats
    grubreats.com

     

    If you’re gluten-free, you should be calling Grubr Eats. Order online and this creative kitchen delivers gluten-free meals to your home (you can also take out at their Medford location). They deliver two days a week, and versatile menu items include hummus, chicken parmesan, energy bites and brownies – all guaranteed gluten-free.

  • BEST TACO TUESDAY

    Tortilla Press
    thetortillapress.com

    Make Taco Tuesdays an adventure in eating at the Tortilla Press. Sure, you can order the tried-and-true beef or pork varieties (and you won’t be disappointed). But why not try buffalo cauliflower (a vegan favorite) or feast on grilled Mahi-mahi. The Collingswood cantina is BYOB, so bring your favorite spirits to complement your meal.

  • BEST LOBSTER ROLL

    Chickie’s and Pete’s
    chickiesandpetes.com

    Overstuffed with fresh lobster chunks, Chickie’s and Pete’s lobster rolls are, as they say in New England, wicked good. The Maine treats are dressed with a tangy sauce, diced celery, grilled onions and, naturally, come on a New England style bun.

  • BEST PLACE TO LEARN HOW TO HELP GET THE ERA PASSED

    Paulsdale
    alicepaul.org

    The Alice Paul Institute hosts a speakers’ series and other special events aimed at teaching about the importance (and status) of the Equal Rights Amendment. Young women can also join its leadership council or attend summer camp. Check out the ERA toolkit on the website for downloadable fact sheets, social media posts, stickers and buttons.

  • BEST TWO-BITE CUPCAKE

    Indulgence Cupcakery
    indulgencecupcakery.com 

    The two-bite cupcakes at Indulgence Cupcakery are small by design (so you can try more than one!) but big in taste. With bakers choosing 20-25 flavors daily from a huge list of yummy options, so many varieties may be calling your name. Best come early before they’re sold out.

  • BEST FRIES CHOCKFUL OF CRAB MEAT

    Blue Claw Crab & Seafood Eatery
    crabeatery.com

     

    We can’t say it enough: there’s only one placein SJ where you’ll find seafood served like this. Blue Claw’s seafood feasts are absolutely loaded with the freshest blue, king, snow and Dungeness crabs. And the same can be said about their signature stoner fries, which are seasoned and topped with chunks of lump crabcake drizzled with special sauce. Yep, it’s mouthwatering alright.

  • BEST APPLE CIDER DOUGHNUT

    Johnson’s Farm
    johnsonsfarmproduce.com

    Before you hop on the hayride to go strawberry picking (or blueberry, pumpkin or raspberry), stop in the market for a fresh, cinnamon-y cider doughnut. It’s a yummy way to start your family fun.

  • BEST GRANDMA PIZZA

    Pizza Amore
    pizzaamoredelran.com

    There are a million-and-one styles of pizzas these days. But there’s only one pizza so good that it deserves to be called grandma pizza. Pizza Amore’s grandma pizza is a crowd favorite for good reason. It’s a rustic, thick square pie covered with mozzarella sauce and garlic. Grandma would love it!

  • BEST DINNER WITH A VIEW

    Carlucci’s Waterfront
    carlucciswaterfront.com

    You can be hip and cool on the white couches in the lounge area and then head over to have dinner – all outside, under the stars, along the Rancocas River. Plenty of restaurants have outdoor seating, but few have waterfront dining. Don’t miss it.

  • BEST STOP ON YOUR WAY HOME FROM WORK WHEN YOU DON’T WANT TO COOK

    You don’t feel like cooking, but you do feel like eating something delicious. That’s easy. Stop at Bobby Chez and take your pick of their famous crab cakes, tasty shrimp puffs or fab rotisserie chicken. And don’t forget the mac & cheese balls!

  • BEST CAKE YOU WON’T WANT TO EAT

    DiBartolo Bakery
    dibartolobakery.com

    Honestly, the specialty cakes at this Collingswood bakery are too incredible, too artistic, too absolutely beautiful to cut into, but you have to. How else will you get to eat this sweet and delicious creation?

  • BEST CHEF’S TABLE

    Nunzio’s
    nunzios.net

     

    Be a guest of Chef Nunzio Patruno in his private dining room inside the restaurant’s kitchen, and 6 to 12 guests will receive a specially prepared five-course meal. It doesn’t get much more special (or delicious) than this.

  • BEST WINGS

    Pic-a-lilli Inn
    piccalilli.com

    We’ve said it before (and so have lots of other people), but Pic-a-lilli really does have the best wings. If you’re really hungry, go on a Wednesday for all-you-can-eat wings for $11.95. You’ll end up really happy.

  • BEST EGGS BENEDICT

    The Farmacy NJ
    thefarmacyrx.com

    You build your own eggs benedict at this very hip eatery in Palmyra, where everything is sourced locally. Choose the bottom (biscuit? waffle?). Then select a protein, sauce and add-ons, like cilantro or sofrito. Your options are endless – and delicious.

  • BEST BLOW OUT

    Rizzieri Salon and Spa
    rizzieri.com

     

    Rizzieri’s Moorestown and Washington Twp. locations are open seven days a week. So if you have somewhere special to go, there’s no reason not to schedule a blow out. A simple stop with one of their talented stylists will leave you feeling – and looking – like a million bucks.

  • BEST PLACE TO BOOST YOUR FARMHOUSE DECOR

    The Rustic Door
    Mount Laurel

    If you love one-of-a-kind pieces that hold a history from another place, don’t miss this quaint shop. You’ll find salvaged treasures like distressed architectural pieces (think cool wooden arches, the kind they don’t make anymore), aged farmhouse windows and shutters, and all kinds of boxes, shelves, drawers and barrels. You never know what you’ll find each time you visit.

  • BEST POWER LUNCH

    Caffe Aldo Lamberti
    caffelamberti.com

    If you want to be seen with South Jersey’s movers and shakers, make a reservation at Lamberti’s and get ready to bump into people in-the-know. While you’re there, try the Mediterranean Salad – a classic Caesar topped with jumbo lump crabmeat, snow crab and shrimp.

  • BEST COOKIES

    Mama’s Homemade Cookies
    Palmyra

     

    The label on the cookies says, “Main Ingredient: Love.” That must be why these cookies taste so good. Try to pick your favorite from flavors like Macadamia nut or honey nut peanut butter or oatmeal cran raisin. Whatever tempting flavor you settle on, you’ll love these delightful cookies.

  • BEST LIVE MUSIC WHILE YOU DINE

    Café Madison
    cafemadison.com

    When you have a dinner reservation for Café Madison on a Friday or Saturday, go about a half hour early to have a drink at the Martini bar, where you’ll get to hear live music – either a piano player, guitarist, sometimes even a violinist. There’s also live music in the cool courtyard, so whatever you’re in the mood for, you’ll be musically happy.

  • BEST LAKE

    JCC Camps at Medford
    katzjcc.org

    DCIM101MEDIADJI_0020.JPG

    Five-acre Medford Lake has always been the pride of the JCC Camps at Medford. And now the campsite and swim club offer yet another fun, wet attraction. The lake’s new Wibit Aqua Park is a giant obstacle course featuring twists, turns, monkey bars and more. And campers aren’t the only ones in on the fun. Day passes are available.

  • BEST RESTAURANT YOU CAN’T GET A RESERVATION FOR

    Hearthside
    hearthsidebyob.com

     

    If you really want to try the restaurant everyone is talking about, here’s what you do: Keep the reservation site open on your phone, and set your alarm for 1 am. You can make a reservation 60 days in advance, so when you wake up in the middle of the night, you’ll only be able to reserve a table for the day that is two months out. But come on, who needs to sleep when you could be reserving a table at the newest hot spot in South Jersey?

  • BEST FRENCH TOAST

    The Cubby Hole
    Moorestown

    If you go on the weekend, you’ll have to stand outside and wait, but there’s a reason for that. Locals know this cozy nook has delicious food, especially the Caramel Apple French Toast. Doused in caramel syrup with a side of fresh whipped cream, the dish is sweet and oh, so, good. (If you’re worried about the carbs, order a half portion with your omelet.)

  • BEST DONUT

    DeLuxe Italian Bakery
    deluxebakery.com

    Get one with a crème filling. You can’t go wrong. The dough is extra fluffy and the crème is light, smooth and especially sweet.

  • BEST PLACE TO BUY A GIFT FOR YOUR FRIEND WHO’S LETTING YOU STAY AT HER SHORE HOUSE

    The Painted Turtle
    Medford Lakes

     

    You want something not-too-big but not-too-small when you’re staying with friends down the Shore. Stop here and find just the right gift – like their beautiful soy candles that smell like the beach and ocean, or raw honey from the Pine Barrens.

  • BEST WORKSHOPS – NO MATTER YOUR AGE

    Sugar Plum Studio
    sugarplumstudio.com

    Even preschoolers have a special workshop at this sweet shop in Cherry Hill that teaches cake and cupcake decorating to all ages. All classes are hands-on, so you’ll be learning how to perfect those confectionary flowers and candy accents, and of course, you get to take home your beautiful creation. Don’t miss the 90-minute Mermaid Cake Decorating class on July 18.

  • BEST SPOT BEFORE A DINNER PARTY WHEN YOU TOTALLY FORGOT TO GET SOMETHING TO BRING

    Wegmans
    wegmans.com

    Wegmans has you covered for those oh-no moments when you forgot to grab a bottle of wine for the host or wrap your cute gift or even to grab some flowers for the guest of honor. In fact, you can get all those things at this one-stop store that just seems to fill your every need.

July 2019
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