Dr. Lou’s Place offers hungry diners a menu full of reliably delicious, hearty American fare. Today’s deal lets a three-legged race team prep for a competition with a pair of cheesesteak sandwiches served with fries—an edible manifestation of brotherly love. Twelve wings can be evenly divided among eaters or saved for Thanksgiving in case a Mayan-predicted turkey shortage occurs. In addition to live entertainment and a dedicated staff, Dr. Lou’s also features an ice-cream window and an open stage policy that lets local guitar handlers try their hand at axe shredding with a chicken wing instead of a guitar pick.
At Dean Casmirri's Colonial Inn, the downstairs patio and overhanging four seasons deck both overlook a creek with a little waterfall. Guests can take in the scenic views while dining on the restaurant's American bar and grill food, which includes 15 different burgers, pastas such as housemade lasagna, and comfort foods such as roast turkey with stuffing.
Equally abundant is entertainment. Karaoke, trivia, and bingo nights fill the already crowded event calendar (which features live music three nights a week), and bar games such as darts, horseshoes, and billiards allow patrons to take out their competitiveness on something other than the food.
Trenton Social's convivial environment sprawls from its indoor lounge to its cozy outdoor patio, where dining and drinking often melds with special events. Its menu fuels guests with eats ranging from seafood and pastas to hot sandwiches and parmesan fries. Between drinks on Sundays, guests can learn to shimmy as salsa dancers teach free lessons, and monthly bike trips explore historic Trenton as tour guides expound upon relevant historical morsels, such as stories of the brutal penny-farthing gangs of old.
At Sportsmens Pub, a stout brick façade bottles up the raucous laughter and warm camaraderie of the pub’s friendly crowd of neighborhood regulars. Sporting events flicker on television screens as bartenders pour frothy brews into pints and pitchers, and servers deliver trays of appetizers to tables. Half-pound burgers and giant calzones stuffed with spinach, meatballs, and peppers apply a full-court press on larger appetites. On Friday nights, the pub hosts free Texas Hold ‘em tournaments for poker enthusiasts or those looking for an excuse to wear sunglasses indoors. Sportsmens Pub’s menu of tasty pub fare takes its act on the road with a catering service that insulates bellies celebrating birthdays or a dog’s reelection to the town council.
A white-clapboard Victorian house perched atop a grassy knoll and surrounded by a sprawling lawn and stately oaks, Paulie's Anna Rose Restaurant might be overlooked as the home of a well-to-do family. Yet, beneath the prim, painstakingly maintained exterior, a surprisingly lush history stretches back. More than 150 years old, the house served time as a stagecoach-frequented inn before transforming into a bustling, inconspicuous, Prohibition-era speakeasy. Today, owner Paulie Villareal and his wife, Colleen, take responsibility for its latest incarnation, which they named for Paulie, his mother, and Colleen’s mother, according to a glowing profile in the Times of Trenton.
As a young man, Paulie worked for his father at their family-owned diner, then followed his fascination with the gourmet arts to culinary school. Upon graduation, he fluttered through Atlantic City kitchens, honing his skills before landing in West Trenton at Paulie’s Anna Rose Restaurant. Now, this Italian giant has become a place of pilgrimage for his loyal Atlantic City diners.
Inside this culinary destination, a pair of cozy dining rooms houses a fireplace, gleaming woodwork, and framed paintings that help guests feel at home, but not so at home that they arrive to the table in their pajamas. Tucked up next to a white tablecloth, they dive into authentic dishes of chicken and veal blanketed in garlic white-wine sauces and cognac demi glazes. Their forks also sink into herb-encrusted salmon and angeloni fish or reel in tangles of pasta with classic, pink-vodka blush and marinara sauces. On summer days, diners lounge on a patio as they complete these feasts with one of Colleen’s desserts, such as her jaw-dropping banana cream pie, and on chillier evenings, they can warm their insides with wine and other libations at the full bar, instead of eating a log and then swallowing a match.
Paulie's Restaurant & Saloon has taken many forms throughout its more than 150 years. The two-story wooden house began as a frequented speakeasy during Prohibition, then became a manor. In 2002, it was reincarnated into the cozy restaurant it is today. Within its historic walls, area residents and families dine on elegant, home-cooked Italian and American cuisine, including roast-pork sandwiches, penne alla vodka, and herb-encrusted salmon.