There’s something undeniably straightforward and comforting about the classic childhood combos from our past – think: mac n’ cheese, peanut butter and jelly, grilled cheese and tomato. Some things just fare better in pairs. And while there’s nothing wrong with a classic, we’ve decided to round up our favorite childhood combos at local NJ restaurants that perfectly merge nostalgia with modern foodie flair.
Where to Get Your Fave Childhood Food Pairings in NJ
Peanut Butter & Jelly
The Cape May Peanut Butter Co.
It’s peanut butter jelly time! Head to The Cape May Peanut Butter Co. for every peanut butter sandwich combo your heart desires. Indulge in makeshift s’mores with the Fireside Delight, which consists of chocolate, peanut butter, and fluff. Or take your pick from the bunch with a Monkey’s Uncle – a classic PB and banana sammy.
516 Carpenter Lane, Cape May, NJ 08204
Missy’s Main Street Cafe
The beloved New Jersey cafe is all about American staples. This dish fuses two of our childhood faves together: a PB&J made with thick Texas toast gets cooked in French toast batter, so that the peanut butter and your choice of jelly (raspberry, strawberry or grape) get extra nice and gooey in the process. Did we mention the powdered sugar bath at the end?
181 E Main St, Rockaway, NJ 07866
You’re not gonna be mad when you order Callahan’s PB&J Sweet Bites – crushed, batter-dipped Reese’s peanut butter cups deep fried and drizzled with Reese’s peanut butter and homemade grape jelly. What the what?! Or if you’re feeling like something a little more simple, try “The Honky Tonk” – PB&J sweet potato fries with powdered sugar n’ banana chips.
10 Broad St, Norwood, NJ 07648
Mac & Cheese
Alchemist & Barrister
Head to Princeton for one of the best restaurants in New Jersey for ordering cheesy carbs. For those who can handle both dairy and gluten, go forth! It’s made with a creamy three cheese sauce, crispy toasted herb crumbs, and your choice of pork belly, buffalo chicken, or plain if you’re not feeling extra today.
28 Witherspoon St, Princeton, NJ 08542
Rocky Hill Inn
Since its reopening as Rocky Hill Inn in 2008, Rocky Hill Inn has maintained its status as a premier Central Jersey gastropub with a menu that does its standard of excellence justice. The no-frills four-cheese baked mac is not to be ignored – it’s oozy-melty goodness commingling cheddar, gruyere, fontina, and monterey jack. Be sure to save room.
137 Washington St, Rocky Hill, NJ 08553
Montclair’s family-friendly neighborhood go-to, The Spot is all about healthy-yet-indulgent comfort food, new twists on old favorites, and locally-sourced all-around goodness. White cheddar and parmesan over pasta together serve as a creamy bed for Atlantic lobster, so needless to say, it’s not for the faint of heart. And neither is the Carbonara Mac N’ Cheese (loaded with mozzarella, parmesan, bacon, green peas).
104 Walnut St., Montclair NJ 07042
Chicken & Waffles
Bruno’s Chicken & Waffles brings the southern staple to NJ. Their breakfast menu has everything from eggs to grits, home fries to hash browns, waffles to pancakes, and of course, chicken on chicken. With specific kids options and reasonable price points, Bruno’s is a can’t-miss, classic family destination!
907 South Orange Ave, East Orange, NJ 07018
Chicken wrapped in a perfect, deep-fried, golden brown waffle. On a stick. A killer combination worthy of its noble honor reinventing the usual chicken and waffles.Served with gravy mayo and maple syrup.
306 Sinatra Drive, Hoboken NJ 07030
One of the signature dishes at Sam A.M. is their chicken and waffles, which is pulled roast chicken, handmade chicken gravy with sage, and chicken drippings served over a classic American Belgian waffle with house-made cranberry syrup. It’s sort of a balance of breakfast and lunch – why settle when you can both?
112 Morris St., Jersey City, NJ 07302
The Turning Point
Among the best-kept secret in Lawrenceville is The Turning Point which blends into its surroundings in a busy strip mall plaza. But our mouths are watering just thinking about the Southern Chicken & Waffles – wedges topped with fried chicken tenders, chopped smoked bacon, sweet dried cranberries and homemade sausage gravy. It’s really that good.
3371 US Highway 1, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
Grilled Cheese & Tomato
The Pop Shop
For a delightful twist (literally) on the classic grilled cheese, try The Pop Shop’s American cheese grilled in between a split Philadelphia soft pretzel. Add a cup of warm tomato soup and you have an elevated childhood comfort. Speaking of perfect pairings, the decadent lobster grilled cheese at The Pop Shop teams up with melty brie cheese and garlic aioli on sourdough bread for a taste of the seaside.
729 Haddon Ave, Collingswood, NJ 08108
Nearly 25 kinds of grilled cheese sandwiches are on this menu, from the Jersey Special (Taylor ham and cheese) and BCT (bacon, cheddar, tomatoes) to the Cheesy Mac and Rib, made with pulled pork and mac and cheese. Or you can take a Cheat Day and make your own by throwing two, three, or all eight available cheeses into one sandwich. Tasty tomato soup, too.
28 Morris St, Morristown, NJ 07960
Head to Meemoms for home cooking like the kind your mom used to make. We love the Country Lunch (traditional grilled cheese served on thick cut challah bread with choice of soup) and the A.B.C. Grilled Cheese (avocado spread, thick cut bacon, marinated tomatoes and cheddar jack served on sourdough).
Middletown: 1383 NJ-35, Middletown, NJ 07748
Wall: 1825 NJ-35, Wall Township, NJ 07719
Milk & Cookies
Milk & Cookies
Wouldn’t milk and cookies taste good right now? Not only can you drop by Princeton’s newest cookie shop for fresh baked warm cookies and cold milk, you can click cookies right to your front door with their convenient online delivery service – yes, even when you want a midnight snack. Choose from several types of chocolate cookies (Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chocolate Chip, Heavenly Chocolate, Chocolate Chocolate Cherry) and creative flavors like London Foggy (a chai tea cookie) and Toffee, as well as gluten-free and vegan options. The brick and mortar shop is intimate and impeccably designed to fulfill all your pastel-colored dreams – perfect for an afterschool snack with the kids.
14 Chambers Street, Princeton, NJ 08542
Hansel N Griddle
Inspired by traditional cookies and milk, you’ll want to try the Cookie Monster Smoothie featuring blended chocolate chip cookies, Oreos, fat-free vanilla yogurt, milk, and vanilla whey protein – a killer combination worthy of its noble honor.
New Brunswick: 130 Easton Ave., New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Somerville: 2 W. Main St., Somerville, NJ 08876
Red Bank: 38 W. Front St., Red Bank, NJ 07701
Denville: 3000 Rt. 10, Morris Plains, NJ 07950
Squirrel and the Bee
Raise your hand if you’re looking for a gluten and grain-free (non-GMO) bakery to give your kids a healthy alternative to traditional cookies and milk? Squirrel and The Bee might be the answer to your grainless prayers. All their baked goods are free of grains, gluten, GMOs, soy preservatives, and refined sugars (except the chocolate chip cookie, which uses Enjoy Life chocolate chips that contain sugar, but still, we’re not mad about it). You’ll also enjoy the Choconut Cookies, which are made with cage-free eggs, cocoa powder, shredded coconut, and honey. Pair with a glass of almond or coconut milk or a Bee Nuts smoothie (PB or Almond Butter, Banana, Almond Milk, Dates).
515 Millburn Ave, Short Hills, NJ 07078