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Where should a food writer and a chef meet in NJ for dinner

Okay, so the title sounds like a joke (as in a food writer and a chef walk into a bar...)

I am meeting up with a friend for dinner with our S.O.s next month. She lives in NYC, and I am visiting family in the Delaware Water Gap area. One of us in our group is a food writer and another is a chef. Where should the four of us meet for dinner? Preferably close to a half way point?

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  1. Culinaire: Montclair (BYO)

    1. I don't know the restaurants in the area too well, but Montclair is probably a good bet for a halfway point. Train-able to NYC and about an hour from the Water Gap. I've been wanting to try Mesob for ethiopian in Montclair, hearing many good things.

      Mesob Restaurant
      515 Bloomfield Ave Ste 1, Montclair, NJ 07042

      1. It might be easier if your honed in on a desired location/region first, maybe a county?

        1 Reply
        1. re: StantonChef

          I don't know the area at all. I go to my family's place in Water Gap and drive to NYC. I once at at the panera in ledgewood - that's all I got for points of reference!!! : )

        2. You can't miss with Lorena's in Maplewood.

          1 Reply
          1. re: maryanne06

            Great choice! Chef Umberto is very talented, and it's a great BYO!

            1. Not really halfway, but Amanda's in Hoboken will not disappoint.

              1. In a word:
                Nicholas in Red Bank

                1 Reply
                1. re: Tay

                  It really depends what type of restaurant you are looking for. I agree with the above posters who recommended both Lorena and Nicholas (althought I think Nicholas is a little out of the area for both drivers). Both restaurants offer the finest dining expereience in NJ. If you are looking for something a little less fancy/upscale, the recommendation for Blu is spot on. Good Luck.

                2. If geographical location, i.e. half way, is really important then you might want to consider Alice's Restaurant in Lake Hopatcong. If you don't mind driving significantly farther than your friends then I agree that Lorena's or Blue would be excellent choices.


                  1. A food writer walks into a bar and says, "I'll have two shots of tequila. One for me, and a double for my ego."

                    You don't say if the NYC friend needs the destination to be near a train station, and you don't mention a price point or cuisine. It seems most responders infer that a food writer would want haute cuisine, but most chefs I know would want simple food. How about Casa Filippo in Caldwell?

                    (I shifted the halfway point further east to adjust for the greater difficulty of getting in and out of the city. Plus the selection of better fare increases with the shift in population density.)

                    Casa Filippo
                    373 Bloomfield Ave, Caldwell, NJ 07006

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: GraydonCarter

                      Love the joke. We (well at least me) wants good food, but also a place nice for a couples night out with out being too expensive. One thing that all four of us share is that we are willing to eat any type of food. NYC friend has a car - trains not necessary.

                      1. re: GraydonCarter

                        It seems most responders infer that a food writer would want haute cuisine, but most chefs I know would want simple food.

                        I haven't been to the new place....but the old place (Atillio's Kitchen) was pretty solid to fit this bill. They have a very loyal following as a result for Rustic Italian.


                      2. If you really want CREATIVE food, there's only one answer: Blu in Montclair.


                        1. Cafe Matisse - great creative tasting menu - and BYOB.

                          1. Verona Diner is just a great little casual place to meet ,and chat. No pressure on food form Foodies. :) Get the Baked Meatloaf.

                            Verona Diner
                            676 Bloomfield Ave, Verona, NJ 07044

                            1. If you're not looking to spend a fortune on places like Nicholas I would suggest something in Edison. It's the perfect half way point for both of you and IMO it's the Ethnic Food Mecca of NJ. Indian, Korean, Chinese, Viet, Thai....you can find pretty much whatever you want in that area.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: joonjoon

                                i'm with joonjoon on this one- forget fancy, and eat for real....Edison/Iselin NJ has some of the best -and most diverse-Indian food than you'll find anyplace outside India..

                              2. Some suggestions:
                                Blu - Montclair (not really half way tho)
                                Tabor Road Tavern - Morris Plains (closer to half way, but not quite)
                                Montville Inn - Montville (again not quite half way)
                                Black Forest Inn - Stanhope (right about halfway)

                                Montville Inn
                                167 Main Rd, Montville, NJ 07045

                                Black Forest Inn
                                249 US Highway 206 Apt B, Stanhope, NJ 07874