After planting roots in Latin America 40 years ago, Pollo Campero branched out across borders, planting more than 50 locations in the U.S and across the world. Today, at its Trenton location, chefs marinate and season chicken by hand, using a special blend of herbs and spices. After grilling or frying, the flavorful morsels are tucked into tortillas to make burritos, slide between slices of sandwich bread, or nestle into family meals alongside up to 19 other pieces. Patrons can cart their meals home for consumption or stick around to impress passerby by juggling their chicken wings in front of the eatery's broad windows.
When the wind is howling and the roads are icy, the cozy couches and comfy seats beyond Take 5 Gourmet's foggy windows look particularly inviting. Once they enter the artwork-speckled space, guests can shrug off their coats and order a hot cocoa or frothy latte before curling up on one the arabesque armchairs. Cheerful servers man the counter, plating freshly baked pastries and showering crepes in caramel, cinnamon, and toasted walnuts. Some evenings, performers take the stage to show off their guitar skills, singing talents, or ability to hold their breath for almost a whole minute.
When the sun is bright and the air is warm, however, it’s the sidewalk patio that holds the most appeal. Here, guests can lounge on deck chairs as they snack on wholesome tarragon chicken salad wraps and sip on ice-cold smoothies. No matter the season, though, cafe-goers can always grab a box of creamy Astor's chocolates or a gourmet gift basket to take home with them.
Though it's not literally constructed out of kebabs, Trenton Kebab House boasts a variety of the classic meat skewers inside its modest confines. Diners can belly up to lamb, chicken, and shrimp kebabs simmered in paprika and hot peppers, or taste-test gyros, falafel sandwiches, hummus, and stuffed grape leaves. These Mediterranean dishes share menu space with Indian cuisine in the form of samosas, vegetable curry, and tandoori chicken, alongside lunch and dinner specials that can take up to four diners and transform them into one clean-plate club.
The lively sounds of keyboards, guitars, and soulful voices waft through the air most nights at The Big Easy, where the kitchen combines diverse live entertainment with food that draws from American culinary traditions such as Cajun and soul cooking. Local chef Olugbala Sabubu, who was profiled by the Trentonian, helms the kitchen, where he whips up soul food and Cajun dishes such as fried-chicken dinners, spicy sautéed shrimp, and lemon-pepper tilapia. Sandwiches include the Kenya burger, crowned with grilled peppers. Certified organic and fair-trade coffee from around the world fills mugs as patrons watch live entertainment from gospel singers, singer-songwriters, and the occasional unnecessarily gagged mime.
Ben's Morrisville Deli's cooks bake fresh breads and desserts, whip up Italian-style entrees and hot sandwiches, and assemble salads, keeping their recipes alive since 1958. Their specials change daily and necessitate repeat visits for diners who wish to try both the pierogis and the Salisbury steak. For large-group dining, they cater occasions with hot and cold eats en masse, fueling board meetings or jury duty reunions with long trays of sandwiches or an à la carte selection of hot entrees.
Heralded by the New York Times for its "big flavors," El Sham Restaurant transports taste buds to Middle Eastern meze tables with an authentic menu of halal sandwiches and platters. Served with olive oil, labneh and hummus plates deftly prime palates for near-east feasts, as does the baba gannouj, an earthy medley of mashed eggplant. El Sham's handheld eats stuffed with falafel, kafta kebab, or lamb shawarma entice appetites with enough boldness to make the Earl of Sandwich's ascot flutter. Alternatively, diners can opt for one of the eatery's piping-hot platters, such as succulent chicken chops or moussaka, which pairs meat and fresh eggplant with rice and a zesty tomato sauce. Although not included with today's Groupon, diners can cap off taste-treks with crispy mamouls, which emerge from kitchens flanked by a ragtag retinue of dates or walnuts plucked from one of Mr. Peanut's cocktail parties ($2.95 each). Dulcet Mediterranean melodies tickle ears as guests relax amid the eatery's spare wood furnishings, bubbling fish tank, and Middle Eastern décor.