Big Joe shares his favorite NJ restaurants for a great breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. In my case, each meal is the most important meal of the day.

Being on the radio for 25 years, playing and working on the weekends, I never had the opportunity to go to brunch. That’s okay because I’ve found some outstanding breakfast restaurants here in New Jersey that I enjoy during the week.

I have practically the same schedule as my musician friends and restaurateurs and bartenders who work late at night. A good, relaxing breakfast is therefore a great way to start the day.

Now realize I’m just one person, one big person, but I can’t get to all the special places in New Jersey. Here are my favorite places I’ve been that I think you’ll enjoy. Please comment and let me know your favorite place, I’d love to check it out.

Here are 7 of my favorite New Jersey breakfast restaurants in no particular order. Enjoy.

Via Google Street View

Via Google Street View

The Hudson Cafe, First Ave., Atlantic Highlands, NJ

I’m a big fan of Hudson Cafe. Chef Ryan has a knack for creating comfort food that is out of this world. Her homemade pancakes and French toast are just about perfect. Excellent omelets and add the fact that Chef Ryan’s wife Michelle is a world class baker who had her own bakery and creates muffins and pastries that are out of this world. They open for breakfast then lunch and I encourage you to enjoy this cozy and delicious restaurant. This is exceptional.

Via Google Street View

Via Google Street View

Crazy Dough, Cape May, NJ

The Mad Batter has been around for over 40 years. The Victorian setup stays true to the seaside town restaurant theme. You feel at home at The Mad Batter.

Before going to The Mad Batter for the first time many years ago, everyone said you had to try the ground beef. What I knew about ground beef was that it was served to our wartime soldiers to stretch what little beef they had and it was not a fan favorite. The soldiers had a name for it which was an expletive on a shingle.

So I broke down and ordered the ground beef but also ordered the oatmeal pancakes which is one of my favorites. I ordered the pancakes just in case the ground beef was what I thought it would be. Well, I was wrong, it was really good. I tried to decipher all the ingredients and the waitress didn’t let go of the secret but it was good.

They have a great breakfast menu filled with many choices. Service was good even though they are packed every day in the summer months. I suggest going right after Labor Day. You will appreciate the atmosphere, the menu and especially the food. It’s my choice every day I’m in Cape May. It’s so good that I look at the menu for my choices because the next day I’m there. Enjoy.

Via Google Street View

Via Google Street View

The Summit Diner, Union Pl., Summit, NJ

The Summit Diner is an institution. It opened in 1928 and began serving a railroad car in 1938. It is the epitome of a Jersey Diner. I love the history of the restaurant and how they keep the food and atmosphere true to form.
The Summit Diner is famous for their corned beef hash which I love and highly recommend, I get it with a few eggs on top. It is very good. The other famous menu item is their Taylor Ham egg and cheese sandwich. Don’t call this roll pork like I made it once and only at Summit Diner. Holy hell broke out as a result of my mistake. At the Summit Diner, they call him Taylor Ham. I don’t care what you call it, the sandwich is outstanding. Their home fries are excellent and the omelettes are good. They have a great dinner. Make the trip to Summit and enjoy the experience, but don’t ask for a pork sandwich.

The In-Between Cafe, English Plaza, Red Bank, NJ

This hidden cafe is a great stop. The food looks and tastes like it doesn’t belong in the cafe with the decor being a combination of cafe and restaurant, simple and very cozy. The food belongs to a world class hotel. It’s good.

Few people here in New Jersey make or eat good oatmeal. At Inbetween, the made-to-order oatmeal rivals what I’ve had at some outstanding restaurants down south. The corned beef hash is outstanding and they do an andouille omelet with onions, jalapenos and pepper jack cheese which I’ve had several times, it’s very good.

They also serve lunch at the Inbetween and I was lucky enough to have some great soups and sandwiches.

Check out the Inbetween, you’ll enjoy the food and comfort of a great place.

Via Google Street View

Via Google Street View

The Butter Cookie, Main Street, Bradley Beach, NJ

The butter cookie is a must on your breakfast list. They proudly serve fresh homemade produce which is delicious. Go hungry and start your breakfast with a hot toasted crumb cake. Oh my! It is a must on every visit. They make great cookies, muffins and scones, but I never try them because I’m face down in my crumb cake.

I’m a fan of their Eggs Benedict and they have a version with smoked salmon, cream cheese and spinach with two eggs which is really good. I also had the omelettes and their cornmeal pancakes are very, very good.
The restaurant seats 38 people and it gets crowded during the summer. If possible, try to go during the week, it’s worth it.

Via Google Street View

Via Google Street View

Alice’s Kitchen, Ocean Ave. Sea Bright, NJ

I really like Alice’s. Alice has been in the restaurant and bar business for years and serves excellent Irish dishes from her home country. Its welcoming personality matches the warmth of its restaurant and is one of my favorite destinations for a great breakfast.

I really enjoy the corned beef hash and I have the Benedict corned beef hash which is terrific, the homemade Irish soda bread and the Irish breakfast plate are my favorites. You can’t go wrong with Alice’s omelettes and pancakes, try them all. Enjoy Alice and her food and you will love the comfort of her restaurant. Make it a place to go for your breakfast.

Via Google Street View

Via Google Street View

Tops Diner, East Newark, NJ

We are fortunate here in New Jersey to have the highest number of diners per capita in the entire world, ok, maybe just the country. When I first went to Tops Diner, my friend told me I had to have an omelet, so I did. This farm fresh omelet was made with four eggs, the perfect amount of ingredients and it was delicious. I like their corned beef hash and they serve a lot of it as a side to my omelet. The waitress told me to try a slice of Angie’s homemade apple crumb cake, it was amazingly good. I left Tops very full but convinced it would be one of my favorite breakfast places.

Go take advantage of the many places that serve great breakfast. I’m always looking to add to my list, but I’m glad I found what I feel is the best in New Jersey.

The above post reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. All opinions expressed are those of Big Joe.

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