New Jersey Monthly’s runner up for Best Coffeehouse, The Fine Grind recharges caffeine-powered batteries with a menu of delicious drinks and treats. Customers can plug their keister into a couch and wait for the friendly cadre of coffee slingers to whip up a cappuccino ($2.95, small) or a yerba maté latte laced with cardamom, vanilla, and cloves ($3.80, medium). The Fine Grind defies the laws of physics with the customer-favorite froho, a frozen hot chocolate blendesso concoction ($4.25).
The menu has a mixture of traditional Italian spiced up with contemporary options as well from the various regions. Everything is made in-house from the rigatoni to the tiramisu. Owner Mondo Zelaya never compromises on the quality and purity of his ingredients. This creates the concentration and intensity of flavors.
Several years ago, 381 Main Bar & Grill had an existential crisis. It was a sleek martini bar with white leather couches, white barstools, and white walls, all accentuated with pink uplighting. It was a place people could go for a stiff drink, but it wanted to be something else—an edgy sports bar that fed people tasty food in addition to good drinks.
So the owner, Steve Baskinger, shuttered 381's doors and set to work on an intensive overhaul. He ripped out the old wood floor and polished the 100-year-old cement floors to a sheen. He created foot rails for the bar with 8,000 pounds of railroad track, and he added industrial-size ceiling fans, 17 LED TVs, and kitchen appliances, including a brick pizza oven.
According to Nightclub & Bar magazine, the new decor includes a 1970s-era Yankees scoreboard and custom-made Yankees and New York Giants surfboards and sharks. It even has a drumhead signed by Ringo Starr.
The bar opened after five months of construction and quickly became a hot spot—locals were drawn to the bar's neighborhood feel, classic American eats, and craft beers. They also enjoyed the freshly baked pizzas crisped in the brick oven, which uses flames made from a fire recipe that's been passed down for generations.
381 is now a sports bar, but if people are busy the night of the game, they can show up for Trivia Tuesdays, Acoustic Wednesdays, and monthly craft beer events. During the summer months, they can sip a chilled beer on the outdoor patio.
At Sofia's Ristorante, golden fried calamari splashed with a balsamic reduction and crabmeat-stuffed portobello mushrooms drizzled with gorgonzola sauce top tables draped in white tablecloths. These appetizers will soon be replaced by housemade pastas, chicken shrouded in prosciutto, shrimp in a sherry-wine sauce, or 1 of more than 10 types of veal dishes. Nearby, a chef stands in front of couple, readying their order—the house specialty linguine parmigiano-reggiano that is prepared tableside in a wheel of cheese.
On music nights, amid the sounds of hearty laughter, live jazz-music notes bounce off the bold red walls and into ears before shooting straight down to the toes. The sounds of clinking glasses filled with BYOB drinks add to the lively atmosphere.
The Fieldhouse Pub beckons to visitors with the inviting smell of American-steakhouse fare mixing with that of Italian, French, and German cuisine. Head Chef Hans Jurgen Stender loads the tables with saucy veal schnitzels, spinach- and ricotta-cheese-stuffed capon, sauce-laden pastas, and juicy blackened steaks. Like 2001: A Beer Odyssey, his pub menu explores beer's longtime on-and-off relationship with burgers, overstuffed wraps, and shareable finger food.
Hanging plants hold court alongside a sun-friendly, greenhouse-style glass wall in the dining area. Upstairs, grainy timber accents define a bar that features a jukebox and stools clad in billiard-table-green leather. DIRECTV sports packages keep guests entertained with the glory of games, and occasional karaoke and all-ages stand-up routines keep them in stitches over the antics of professional comedians or amazed and terrified at human Auto-Tune impersonations.