Harvest Specialty Catering, a one-time market and barbecue joint, is celebrating two decades in the food business by opening a restaurant in the New Brunswick Elks Lodge. The chefs here still cater parties and private events, but now they also whip up deli-style sandwiches, salads, and burgers for those who come to the lodge for lunch. Pulled-pork sandwiches pay tribute to those early days at the original East Brunswick location, while hot reubens on rye showcase tangy sauerkraut, an elk's favorite food.
Weary tourists and busy locals alike can unwind inside The Spa at the Heldrich, an urban oasis populated with Asian-inspired statues and gongs. A brigade of treatment rooms offers privacy during facials, massages, body wraps, and mani-pedis. The spa also features its own sauna for guests to sweat out the day’s stressors.
Last Legg Chicken & Waffles offers up a rich, flavorful menu of Southern-style cuisine to pique the appetites of hungry visitors. Start off with an order of jerk chicken wings ($7.50) and give the rude fowl a mouthful of manners before tasking teeth with the two-bite plate, a foursome of hot bite-size buttermilk waffles accompanied by four chicken wings ($8.50). Diners can dive into unchartered territories with soul shrimp and a waffle ($10.50), or stick to satisfying land-meat cravings with the killer bacon-and-cheese burger ($8.50), which flavorfies the palate with onions and a special sauce in a sesame-seed bun.
Its location across the street from the Middlesex County Courthouse flavors the atmosphere at Mike's Courtside Sports Bar & Grill, which blends judicial trappings such as wall-mounted gavels with sports memorabilia autographed by local athletes including Derek Jeter. The servers' T-shirts proclaim, "You've been served" as waiters and waitresses sling plates of rib-eye burgers, 12-inch personal pizzas, and other satisfying comfort grub. Two bars—one on each floor—serve up six rotating draft beers and more than 30 bottled brews as sports fans watch games on 1 of 13 MLB-package-equipped HDTVs. Mike's Courtside Sports Bar & Grill also features year-round outdoor seating and hosts Friday and Saturday night performances by live DJs and holograms of dead DJs.
At Soul by the Pound, chefs work tirelessly to prepare—from scratch—a daily offering of traditional and authentic soul food. Their own sauces and seasonings coat entrees such as roasted or fried chicken, blackened catfish, and smothered turkey wings, paired alongside candied sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese, stewed okra, and sweet tea.
Cooks at Hansel n’ Griddle grill half-pound Angus burgers with swiss cheese and mushrooms and stir pots of housemade soups each day. To accompany American entrees, the cooks also blend fresh-fruit smoothies made with whey protein and real fat-free yogurt.
Muscle Maker Grill grew out of a small smoothie shop, where owner Rod Silva prepared health-conscious alternatives to fast food. The restaurant has since expanded with a menu tailored to accommodate diners with vegetarian, carb-free, and gluten-free diets. The crew prides themselves in creating healthy versions of popular foods, and continues to serve the shop’s original protein shakes with favorites such as chocolate peanut butter and strawberry banana. Additionally, Muscle Maker Grill displays the calorie count for each dish on the menu.