Although it’s mainly known as home to Princeton University, downtown Princeton, NJ offers a variety of restaurants to discover and boasts a couple of personal go-to spots essential to visit. As a college student who goes to school far far away from my hometown of Princeton, I definitely miss out on some good eats.
1. Halo Pub
Halo Pub, located in the heart of downtown Princeton, makes ice cream right from their local farm. This provides both an inexpensive and deliciously fresh ice cream experience. They also treat their customers generously as they double up on scoops whenever you order. I personally recommend their cookies and cream ice cream.
2. Say Cheez
A restaurant that specializes in homemade grilled cheese? Yes, please. The menu offers a variety of different grilled cheeses, from mouth watering Mac & Cheese grilled cheese to make-you-own combinations.
3. Hoagie Haven
Midnight. Hoagies. Hoagie Haven has been a go-to spot, serving up hoagies since the 1970s. This small shop is uniquely cash only and flashes a lot of character. They serve up binge-worthy hoagies filled with every guilty pleasure you could possibly crave at 3 am. My personal favorite? The Sanchez Hoagie. This sandwich is loaded with fried chicken, fries, mozzarella sticks, cheese and Sanchez sauce. Sanchez sauce is a perfect blend of hot sauce and honey mustard. This stuff is so good, they even sell it by the bottle.
#SpoonTip: If you like it really saucy, order your hoagies “extra dirty.”
This cupcake shop is definitely worth trying, as not only are they the winner of Cupcake Wars on Food Network, but they also offer the cutest and most delicious cupcakes on the East Coast, including everything from signature classics to extreme over-the-top flavors. I always remember to pick up this treat to satisfy my lingering sweet tooth.
Opened in 2011 in the heart of downtown Princeton, this local establishment strives to use local ingredients to provide Princeton with the freshest crêpes possible. The menu offers a great variety of breakfast, sweet, and savory crepes to satisfy any craving at any time of day.
I can remember coming to PJ’s Pancake House after my Saturday morning practices to carb up on some pancakes. These pancakes are pilled high on a plate served with warm golden syrup and fresh strawberries; the epitome of warm fluffy goodness. This treat is something I can’t help but keep coming back to, even when my arteries try to persuade me otherwise.
For every health nut out there, this is your holy grail. The establishment has been going strong since 1970, offering a variety of prepared foods that are vegan and vegetarian friendly. They strive to create a store that provides the community with environmentally-friendly food. Whole Earth has plenty of fresh farm produce as well as packaged organic goods. In addition to their hot prepared food, they have a pastry that can do wonders, like making an all vegan carrot cake made with tofu icing! It’s equally pleasing to eat as it is to look at it.
Although a chain restaurant, it’s only located in New Jersey and just recently opened a location in Princeton in 2014. Turning Point offers every breakfast, brunch or lunch item anyone would dream of and they offer seasonal dishes like the Sriracha BBQ breakfast bowl. The food is reasonably priced with big portions so you won’t be leaving hungry. Ranging from hearty oatmeal and savory omelets to fluffy, buttery french toast, Turning Point can easily please everyone’s desires without a cinch.
This ice cream shop is perfect for when I want something interesting, instead of the usual cookies and cream ice cream. The Bent Spoon provides both gelatos and ice cream made from local organic ingredients. These extravagant and unique flavors include Lavender Marscapone, Avocado, and Ricotta. I promise they taste amazing. The ice cream is delicate and refreshing, perfect for any summer day.
#SpoonTip: The Bent Spoon is cash only.
I always make it a priority to make it to my favorite food destinations whenever I’m back home. Whether you’re a townie or a tourist here in Princeton, these popular and delectable restaurants offer culinary excursions worth trying. These tasty treats never disappoint me and always reminds me of home.