The chefs at Muscle Maker Grill put a healthy spin on flavorful dishes inspired by Italian, Asian, American, and southwestern cuisines. The chain was founded in 1995 by Rod Silva, a fitness enthusiast who grew weary of fast-food eateries that bogged customers down with unhealthy morsels and toys sculpted from butter. What began as a smoothie stand has expanded into a successful franchise that slings pastas, burgers, salads, and Tex-Mex wraps and proudly displays the calorie content and relationship status of each dish on the menu.
Walking into Ruppert's, one might expect to see fedora-clad patrons hunkered over their scotches at the rich, dark-wood bar. That’s because the restaurant strives to emulate old New York City bistros and diners from the 1930's and 40's. This nod to the past also surfaces in its name, which comes from Colonel Jacob Ruppert—the owner of the New York Yankees during the Babe Ruth era.
Like the city they take their inspiration from, Ruppert's cooks meld the international with the classically American. These kitchen staffers looked to the north when coming up with the Canadian Mountie burger, and tapped into their inner island dwellers when developing the Jamaican burger, which they top with cold watermelon relish, grilled pineapple, and jack cheese. They also serve up classic, no-frills dishes, such as tuna melts on New York rye and Top Hat Chicken. As diners enjoy theses inventive or traditional spreads, they can tap their two-toned brogues to live entertainment ranging from Elvis impersonators to Lou Pallo, a former member of the Les Paul Trio.
Cousin Pete had a friendly face and knack for remembering names, while cousin Charles had a sharp eye for details and a head for business. But they both had a taste for good Italian food, so it was only natural they would join forces. That’s how Mangia Pizza Restaurant, with its BYOB approach and a menu of Italian favorites, was born—and with a little help from their years of restaurateur and customer-service experience.
Today, it's not uncommon to see cousin Pete meandering his way around the big booths in the brightly lit space, introducing himself to newcomers, swapping jokes with regulars, and discussing local politics with all the babies. As he bustles about the dining room, his chefs are hard at work in the kitchen tossing crispy Neapolitan and Sicilian-style pies with gourmet ingredients such as buffalo chicken and eggplant rollatini. They also layer crunchy paninis with fresh mozzarella, roasted turkey, and grilled chicken, and fold chicken, veal, and seafood into a time-honored dishes that make Mangia a place for not only attentive service, but for good eats.
The crisp cracks of baseball bats ring through the air as crowds cheer on young athletes at Continental Soldiers Park, a haven for those nostalgic for midcentury Americana. Just off to the side of the baseball fields, hiking trails, and bocce courts, Field of Creams Café completes the sensory tableau with creamy scoops of hand-dipped ice cream and the meaty aroma of grilled burgers. Though a throwback to a simpler time, the walk-up eatery opened in 2006 to feed the hungry players of the Mahwah Annual Memorial Day softball tournament. Its popularity has grown over the years, thanks to a counter that stays open seven days a week to feed park-goers, players and spectators between football and lacrosse games.
Despite the eatery’s burgeoning renown, little has changed in the years since it opened. Dr. Praeger’s veggie burgers and 100%-beef burgers still fly from the sizzling grill into the soft embrace of buns, and crinkle-cut fries and onion rings continue to don crispy coats in the fryer. The eatery also blazes new ballpark traditions; among its most popular items are bubble teas laden with chewy tapioca pearls and dessert crepes that can be folded into gloves for catching errant fly balls.
The Irish Cottage Inn is just that--an interior filled with hardwood floors and old-fashioned stonework walls, only a little at odds with the flat screen televisions that dot the space. The highest tabletops sit on altered whiskey barrels, and the dining room features eyefuls of photography from Irish artist Annette Maleney Pelaez. The owners report that it took six months of solid renovations to make the place look exactly right.
The menu, on the other hand, boasts dishes from all over the world. Alongside bangers and mash or shepherd's pie, chefs whip up wasabi-seared tuna, Mexican-style burgers, and shrimp alfredo. Whenever possible, they craft these dishes from fresh, locally farmed ingredients, getting their produce from nearby farmers and sourcing their Irish soda bread rolls from every single Irish citizen.
Manhattan native and restaurant industry veteran Ed Reinle worked in Thai restaurants for much of his career. There, he developed a palate and an appreciation for the balanced flavors, healthy eating, and vibrant colors of that country's cuisine. Each meal is a visually stunning, artfully arranged paean to Thai authenticity, with dishes such as red and green curry, crispy tamarind duck, and veggie-peppered fried rice and noodle dishes. Salads and small plates entice visitors with crispy green papaya, grilled chicken satay, and lightly fried spring rolls, and tom kha and tom yum soups tickly olfactory senses with aromas of galangal and lemongrass.
Reinle works alongside his wife, Toula, cultivating a friendly, laid-back lounge atmosphere. The duo pour Thai-inspired cocktails such as cosmopolitans made with spiced rum and ginger and dessert martinis made with sweet, creamy thai coffee.
The small-plate prodigies at Ole Tapas Bar & Restaurant craft a variety of Spanish-inspired tapas served to eager patrons as they lounge in a dimly lit, comfortable bar atmosphere. Diners can peruse an eclectic menu packed with carne skewers glazed in teriyaki or wasabi ($8) and crab cakes smothered in spicy remoulade sauce ($8). Those with dietary restrictions or those who lost hard-fought spelling bees to wheat can sample a wide range of gluten-free bites, including bacon-wrapped shrimp enhanced by a tomatillo sauce ($8) and the seared thai tuna served rare, topped with thai barbecue sauce, and paired with cucumber salad ($10). Frequent live acts envelop patrons in musical embraces, made even warmer with the addition of a drink from the full bar.