Jersey City made Food & Wine’s short list of the nation’s Next Great Food Cities, which will be featured in the magazine’s travel issue on stands April 22.
The city was one of seven dubbed the “most exciting up-and-coming cities for food lovers” and is the only honoree in the Northeast. One other city in the region, Biddeford, Maine, made the accompanying list of four small cities with impressive food scenes.
“Packed with vibrant food businesses, Jersey City isn’t just a spot to drink in the breathtaking view of the skyline across the river—though it certainly is that, too—it’s a food city where culture and community keep diners coming back,” Food & Wine’s Lauren Musni wrote. “Jersey City’s huge Asian and Indian population makes up a quarter of its residents (one of the highest percentages in the country), and the food scene showcases a medley of delicious cuisines.”
The piece singles out several eateries, like Red Ribbon Bakeshop for Filipino baked goods and Rasoi for its Punjabi fare.
“Also on [Newark Avenue] is the Freetown Road Project, a restaurant from hometown hero chef Claude Lewis. The Chopped champion ties his Antiguan and West Indian roots to his hometown through dishes that range from curry chicken, a luscious stew served with hot, fresh, flaky roti, to dense slabs of mango bread drizzled with mango jam that comes with whipped cayenne cream cheese for spreading,” Musni wrote.
Mentioned in Food & Wine’s piece are pizza restaurant Razza, by James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef semifinalist Dan Richer; Pasta dal Cuore, where chef Elena Cartagena makes fresh pasta every morning; Bang Cookies, which can fulfill any cookie craving; among others.
Over the past eight years, Jersey City Major Steven Fulop said he’s seen countless new restaurants open in the city, including some significant chefs and eateries with notoriety and acclamation.
“It’s nice to finally be recognized as a whole for the work that all of these individual restaurants and chefs are doing all these years. It in many ways is a team effort to be recognized as a city. You can’t get recognized with just one restaurant. Many work together to create the food and culture and nightlife here,” Fulop said.
“What Food & Wine highlights is the wide gamut of the types of cultures and backgrounds that are here. What makes our city special is the authenticity of all these food offerings directly because of the immigrant population,” he added.
“There’s a lot of good options and new ones continue to open,” Fulop said. “Restaurant rows like the Newark Ave plaza create a destination point, and that inspires a lot more restaurants to invest here.”
Editor’s note: This story was updated at 9:25 a.m. April 15 to include a slideshow with photos courtesy of Jennifer Brown, visual journalist for the City of Jersey City