Food & Drink in Clifton

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Since 1848, Applegate Farm has existed under many guises, but its purpose has always remained the same: to provide fresh dairy products for local families. Originally home to the Sitger family and their golden guernsey milk, the farm has changed hands several times since the late 1800s and survived through the Civil War, both World Wars, and all six Star Wars. It experimented with its first ice-cream cone in the late 1920s under the guidance of owner Julian Tinkham, who also had the good foresight to preserve the farm's historic structures so that future generations could visit the 19th-century farmhouse that once helped slaves to freedom or count the number of tiles in an authentic 1919 tile silo—one of only three built in the state.

Since then, the farm has expanded and operates under the current leadership of the Street family, who hold themselves to the same dedication to quality that has sustained the dairy for more than 164 years. The range of ice-cream flavors changes seasonally but usually includes at least 63 distinctive varieties ranging from orange pineapple and toasted almond to vanilla peanut butter and Graham Central Station—which won top prize at the New Jersey State Ice Cream Festival. No-sugar-added and dairy-free treats, like apple cider donuts, can also be found in scoopable form, along with ice-cream cakes, ice-cream pies, and ice-cream sandwiches.

1092 Main Ave
Clifton,
NJ
US

Raised by her grandmother in a small mountain village near Genoa, Italy, Maria Leonardi grew up eating and cooking classic North Italian cuisine. After moving to the States, Maria worked in restaurants before opening a small shop to sell house-made pastas, sauces, and soups in 1953. For 35 years, Maria appeared in her neatly pressed apron nearly every day, pausing between batches of fresh dough to share friendly conversation and cooking advice with visitors.

Three generations later, Maria's descendants keep her memory alive by honoring her original recipes in that same shop, now named Nonna Maria's Homemade Pasta. A large interior window looks onto pasta machines as they meld fresh eggs, dough, and cheeses into products such as manicotti, ravioli, and baked ziti. Fresh pasta is cut to order behind the counter, and jars of sauce bottle classic flavors, including that of Nonna Maria's specialty genovese pesto sauce.

1132 US Highway 46
Clifton,
NJ
US

A fresh take on cooked-to-order burgers, Smashburger combines all the comforts of a well-stacked meal with the modest luxuries of expedient service and ample sit-down space. The menu boasts more smashes than two monster trucks playing tennis; Smashburgers (starting at $4.99 for a 1/4 lb.), grilled and crispy Smashchickens (starting at $5.99), Smashsalads ($4.99–6.99), and Smashsides such as the Smashfries fire up the hearts and bellies of all gracious guests. The Smashburger—100% Angus Beef plus quality veggies and cheeses on an artisan bun—takes center stage during most meals, while non-secret specialties, such as the Häagen-Dazs shake, keep mouths grounded, cool, and smiley.

700 State Rt 3
Clifton,
NJ
US

Jamie's Cigar Bar & Restaurant offers a little bit of everything, from grilled chicken sandwiches and beer to prime steaks and full-bodied cigars. These eclectic offerings make it a place to share an intimate date over tortellini in cream sauce or head to the sports bar area for Sunday's game or Wednesday's commercials. Meanwhile, a cigar menu lets smokers take their pick of finely rolled stogies including options from Rocky Patel and Padron.

915 Bloomfield Ave
Clifton,
NJ
US

Bensi co-owner Genci Previzi helms an immense menu of classic Italian cuisine, including hearty homestyle dishes with roots in Calabria, Italy. Entrees, joined by a house salad or cup of comforting housemade soup, range from spaghetti and meatballs to gluten-free grilled chicken in a lemon-garlic marinade served over a veggie medley. The chefs also prepare an array of specials such as pignoli-crusted goat cheese and arugula salad, barolo-braised veal osso buco, pan-seared Chilean sea bass with eggplant caponata, and nutella chocolate pizza with fresh strawberries. The dishes are served in a modern dining atmosphere where minimal table settings and simple dark-wood furniture keep the focus on the vibrant cuisine.

352 State Rt 3
Clifton,
NJ
US

The Carlino family serves authentic, home-style Italian fare as well as gluten-free versions of Italian favorites to satisfy pasta-craving customers. Diners commence with a small plate of stuffed artichoke or white anchovies with green olives and capers. Postantipasti, forks delve into plates of pasta with broccoli and baby shrimp or backflip into a ball pit of tender veal meatballs with house-made tomato sauce. Hearty entrees furnish equal parts meat and Old-World nostalgia, with seafood risotto and chicken cacciatore served with mushrooms, pancetta, and herbs splashed with a white-wine sauce to conjure memories of Nona's kitchen. A gluten-free menu accommodates the wheat-weary by carefully editing Italian staples, swapping regular pasta for gluten-free penne, topping eggplant parmigiana with gluten-free breadcrumbs, and outfitting the restaurant's resident angels with synthetic wigs instead of their traditional edible strands.

421 Piaget Ave
Clifton,
NJ
US

Clifton Scene