15 NJ Chain Restaurants You Must Try


Many locals can agree one of the best parts of living in New Jersey is the abundance of great food. Whether your family enjoys your favorite local bagel shop every Sunday morning, or you’ve found yourself in one or two {friendly} arguments over the best pizza shop in town, our state is passionate about what we eat – and especially what our kids eat. In fact, our local restaurants are so good, that many of them continue to open up multiple locations to share the deliciousness with other communities. Lucky for us, we can now find the freshest guac and pico de gallo of Surf Taco, celebrity-status cupcakes of Carlo’s Bakery, and Insta-worthy acai bowls of Playa Bowls in several locations throughout the state. Do your fam’s tastebuds a favor and visit one of these local chain restaurants – all home-grown here in New Jersey.

Sink Your Teeth Into These Local Chain Restaurants in NJ:

Don’t forget to hashtag #NJMOM and tag @njmomhq and your little cuties could be featured in our next photo round-up.

1. Kohr’s Frozen Custard

Since 1919, Kohr’s Frozen Custard has served up creamy goodness to the Jersey Shore and beyond with their original frozen custard. From selling 18,000 cones at a nickel each on their very first weekend open, to serving thousands of customers daily across New Jersey, the Kohrs brothers are the epitome of the American dream. Their famous recipe stands alone from other ice cream and frozen yogurt locations because of how slowly their frozen custard melts in the summer sun. Your family will just have to see for themselves!
Locations in Seaside Heights, Lavallette, and Fairfield.

Related: Top 15 Ice Cream Shops in NJ {voted on by our #NJMOM readers}

2. Surf Taco

A Jersey Shore tradition for many families includes a trip to Surf Taco, this summer, bring your family to join in the tradition! Boasting of having recipes with the “freshest and healthiest” ingredients, Surf Taco introduced a whole new perspective to the classic fish taco. Try their unique Surf specials, smoothies, and “side kicks,” like their seven layer dip! Stop by for some good food, good people, and good vibes!
Locations in Belmar, Jackson, Lacey, Long Branch, Manasquan, Point Pleasant Beach, Red Bank, Seaside Park, Silverton, Shipbottom and Rutgers.

3. Jersey Mike’s

Whether you enjoy a sub in North Jersey or a hoagie in South Jersey, New Jerseyians everywhere can agree that Jersey Mike’s is one of the best sandwich chains in the country. From its original Point Pleasant location in 1956 to becoming one of the largest franchises in the nation, with over 1,200 stores, this is one chain that hasn’t forgotten its Jersey roots. Jersey Mike’s combines the classic elements of a made-to-order sub shop with modern amenities such as online ordering, so sit down for a quick bite or grab your sub on the go. Either way, Jersey Mike’s will always be a win in our books.
Click here to find a Jersey Mike’s location in New Jersey.

4. Tony Boloney’s

At the corner of Mexican and American favorites lies Tony Boloney’s. This Atlantic City-style pizza, subs, & grub spot is unlike any restaurant you’ll find outside of the Garden State. With larger-than-life menu items, such as their famous Taco Pizza. From buffalo wings to vegan pizzas, Tony Boloney’s is sure to satisfy any craving.
Locations in Atlantic City and Hoboken.

5. Playa Bowls 

As one of the trendiest snacks on the market, Playa Bowls comes in sixth on our list. This sweet and savory treat is a mixture of different fruits, nuts, and chocolates, making it a healthy alternative to a heavy dessert. Although Playa Bowls originated at the Jersey Shore, their locations have popped up throughout New Jersey and beyond.
Locations in Bay Head, Belmar, Long Branch, Manasquan, Montclair, New Brunswick, Ocean Grove, Red Bank, and a mobile food truck.

Related: Food in Bowls, the NJ Trend That’s Here to Stay

6. Cups Frozen Yogurt

The frozen yogurt trend was not a fleeting moment, and CUPS has proven that more than anyone. A visit to this locally-owned house of sweets lets visitors serve up their own “frozen yogurt that’s HOT.” Help yourself to a cup and load it up with frozen yogurt or sorbet, and choose from every topping a kid could want – from fruit and nuts to candy and cookie crumbles. With rotating “Flavors of the Month,” like New York Cheesecake, Watermelon, and Mountain Blackberry, your family will have to keep coming back for different tastes of these frozen treats.
Locations in Clifton, Fair Lawn, Parsippany, Rockaway, and Secaucus.

7. Tito’s Burritos

Enjoy a Caribbean vacation right here in New Jersey! Tito’s Burritos welcomes its patrons with sticker-covered tables, vibrant colors, and string lights. The calypso vibe is matched with Mexican-American cuisine, sure to satisfy any tastebuds. We recommend The Spicoli: Tender shredded chicken breast in a smoky red sauce with black beans, Mexi-rice, shredded lettuce, Tito’s cheeses, sour cream & pico de gallo salsa.
Locations in Boonton, Morristown, Summit, South Orange, and Ridgewood.

8. Mr. Cupcakes 

Let Mr. Cupcakes satisfy your sweet tooth. Founded in 2007, Mr. Cupcakes’ aims to create innovative, fresh, and delicious cupcake creations. With classic flavors, like red velvet and carrot cake, and flavors for adventurous eaters, like peanut butter & jelly and french toast, there is something at Mr. Cupcakes for everyone!
Locations in Clifton, Hackensack, Hawthorne, and Oradell.

9. Bagels 4 U

There is nothing more “Jersey” than a Taylor Ham (or Pork Roll,) egg, and cheese on a bagel. Next time you’re craving breakfast food, come to Bagels 4 U, where they put a new twist on lifelong favorite meals. Their Pizza bagel sandwich, Trail Mix bagel, or their raspberry cream cheese each put Bagels 4 U on the map, but the bagel that draws children to this local chain is their rainbow bagel. Taste the rainbow in a whole new way this morning.
Locations in Bernardsville, East Hanover, Hillsborough, Kenilworth, Livingston, Metuchen, North Branch, Raritan, Short Hills, Springfield, and Warren.

10. Carlo’s Bakery

Coming in tenth on our list is the Hoboken-bred and now world-famous Carlo’s Bakery. Popularized by the TLC television reality series, Cake Boss, Carlo’s Bakery bakes a variety of treats fresh daily, including chocolate dipped cannolis, cookies and cream lobster tails, and caramel cakes. No matter where you are in New Jersey, it is worth making the trip to one of Carlo’s locations for a Grab & Go piece of cake, Red Velvet Cupcake, or chocolate eclair.
Locations in Hoboken, Marlton, Morristown, Red Bank, Ridgewood, and Westfield.

11. Jim Dandy’s 

Howdy, folks! If your family loves barbecues, ribs, and everything in between, Jim Dandy’s has the comfort food to make your taste buds sing. Enjoy succulent ribs, Wild Buffalo Chicken Wrap, Trailblazin’ burgers, and top it off with Rried Oreos for dessert in a family-friendly atmosphere that just might awaken your inner cowboy.
Locations in Nutley and Rutherford.


Bite into authentic Neopolitan pizza at this Jersey chain restaurant. Warm string lights dropped across the ceiling and the smell of fresh tomato sauce invite you to enter and enjoy Porta with friends and family. Born from their love for family meals, Porta specializes in shareable dishes and pizza traditions. Bring the family in for a pie of margarita pizza or stop by their rooftop bar on their Jersey City location for a night out with the girls.
Locations in Asbury Park and Jersey City.

13. Seed to Sprout

Take a walk on the healthy side at Seed to Spout, a local restaurant specializing in all things vegan and organic. Take advantage of their cooking classes that encourage a health and balanced lifestyle and explore their scrumptious bakery options, like cookies, cakes, and assorted pastries.
Locations in Avon-by-the-Sea, Wanamassa and Fair Haven.

14. Efes Mediterranean Grill

If your family wants to try something different, try the “simple and satisfying” Mediterranean food at Efes Mediterranean Grill, with traditional Turkish and Greek cuisine and the history of its origin to match. (Try the baklava! It’s amazing!)
Locations in New Brunswick and Princeton. 

15. Halo Pub 

If you want fresh, locally churned ice cream straight from the farms of New Jersey, stop by Halo Pub, (or Halo Farms) in Central Jersey. These dairy professionals use no preservatives or thickeners, no artificial ingredients, flavors, or colors, and they add their own twist to classic chocolaty favorites and sweet, fruity snacks. Some #NJMOM faves are the Strawberry Heath Bar pint and the soft serve Raspberry Sorbet.
Locations in Princeton, Lawrenceville and Hamilton Township.

What is your favorite New Jersey chain restaurant? Comment below to let us know. {We’re always on the hunt for new treats!}

About Author