Ah, New Jersey.
Those two little words create such a wide variety of responses when you ask people what the state means to them. Some people will think fondly of the beach, some people will think of gambling/AC, and others might just grunt and call it a dump. But regardless of how it is viewed by “outsiders”, New Jersey is a popular vacation destination and is going to stay that way.
I have visited New Jersey about a dozen times the past few years, trying out countless gluten-free restaurants. While I am sure I have not tried each and every worthy candidate, I do feel like I have tried enough to start my own Top 5 list. Now, this is just my personal opinion, and would love to hear about your favorite gluten-free restaurants in NJ in the comments section.
Without further adieu…
5. Rutherford Pancake House – Rutherford, NJ – It is very rare in this day and age to find a breakfast place that has a wide variety of gluten-free (and vegan) options, but Rutherford Pancake House fills the void. I ate here on a cold November morning last year and was absolutely floored by the food. I got gluten-free blueberry pancakes and the Popeye tofu scramble (tofu, spinach, avocado, and mushrooms) and they were fantastic. There is really something for everyone on the menu at Rutherford Pancake House. If I hadn’t been traveling back to Illinois a couple hours after the meal, I probably would have eaten here every day for the rest of my trip. I highly recommend this place not only to gluten-free eaters, but to anyone who is sick of the usual unhealthy diners and wants to try something a little different.
4. Via Roma – Toms River, NJ – This little Italian restaurant located in a strip mall in Toms River is a very unexpected place to find gluten-free and vegan pizza. When I first arrived in the area, I had looked up gluten-free options and Via Roma popped up, so I went to find it. Pulling up to the restaurant, it looked like every other Italian pizza place I had seen in NJ. I was skeptical this unassuming place would even have gluten-free pizza. Sure enough, it had one of the most extensive gluten-free menus I had ever seen at an Italian restaurant. Click here to check it out. They seriously have everything. The first time I ate at Via Roma, I got the Broccoli and Garlic gluten-free pizza, and it was fabulous! It was 12 inches of pure joy in my mouth. The second time I decided to mix it up and get some gluten-free penne and a vegetable medley as a side. This meal was very good and satisfying as well, but the gf pizza is DEFINITELY the highlight at Via Roma!
3. Lucky Bones Backwater Grille – Cape May, NJ – On the very southern tip of the Jersey Shore stands Lucky Bones, a neat little grill with an impressive gluten-free menu. I got the gluten free crab cakes and a Redbridge to wash it everything down. While not the most inexpensive item I’ve ever ordered, these crab cakes were 100% worth every penny! Other highlights of the gluten-free menu at Lucky Bones include Brick oven pizza, sandwiches, burgers, and seafood pasta. Click here to take a look. I think the three cheese Mediterranean seafood pasta sounds delicious – shrimp, scallops, olives, tomatoes – mmmmmmmm! I will definitely be getting that next time I am in the area. I know I only tried one dish at Lucky Bones, but the place was awesome and I would be shocked if you didn’t enjoy yourself here.
2. Jason’s Organic Pizza Cafe – Point Pleasant Beach, NJ – I don’t know what it is about places named Jason’s, but they seem to always know just how to cater to gluten-free folk! We have a Jason’s Deli here in Chicago (and many other locations across America) that has really tasty and filling gluten-free subs. Hey, maybe the same Jason started this pizza cafe in New Jersey! Jason’s Organic Pizza Cafe in Point Pleasant Beach is a health-conscious restaurant offering gluten-free pizza, as well as vegan Daiya cheese for dairy-free people as well. The gluten-free pizza is 11″ in size. I created my own gluten-free pizza, complete with mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini, and olives. I have to say, this was easily in my top 3 gluten-free pizzas I have EVER had. It was the perfect size – I eat a lot, so 11″ is big enough to leave my feeling satisfied, but not overly full. The vegetables tasted very fresh. The amount of mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce they put on was just the perfect amount. To summarize what I am saying – go eat at Jason’s if you are in the Point Pleasant Beach area, even if you aren’t gluten-free!
1. Via 45 – Red Bank, NJ – Via 45 is a self-described “rustic Italian eatery” in Red Bank just a couple blocks from the water. I just realized that three of my top 5 gluten-free restaurants in New Jersey are Italian; this should come as no surprise, as there are a TON of Italian restaurants in the state. It is a little difficult to describe this place, since the menu changes on a daily basis. The daily menu emphasizes what is fresh and in-season. I let them know I was gluten-free, and they said they could make EVERYTHING on their menu gluten-free for me. This alone blew me away, since most of the stuff on their menu wasn’t naturally gluten-free. I decided to go with a pasta dish with tomato sauce and sausage in it, and it was amazing. The portion size was big, the dish was flavorful, and I left feeling tremendously satisfied. I was just a big fan of everything at Via 45: the service, the ambiance, the food, and the crowd just all really added up to my favorite gluten-free restaurant in New Jersey. I cannot say enough good things about this place. Just go and find out for yourself!
What are some of your favorite gluten-free restaurants in New Jersey?