Not sure where to head for grad dinner on your special day? Let us match you up with an on-point local eatery that suits your family.


grad dinner

Photo courtesy of Cassandra Perjesy

Is your family adventurous? Would your family be excited to see kangaroo on the menu? That’s right, kangaroo. If you answered yes, we may have found just the place for your fam grad dinner.

Clydz has an array of eccentric foods that you likely won’t find in other restaurants in New Brunswick. Clydz’s is also well-known for its happy hour and extensive selection of martinis and cocktails.

In addition to the good eats and thirst-quenching drinks, it has a warm atmosphere that will make any family feel right at home. The exposed brick and simple seating arrangement is just as inviting as the menu items that they serve.

grad dinner

Photo courtesy of Cassandra Perjesy

What you are getting: If you are going to Clydz, don’t get the chicken. This restaurant has such an eclectic menu that you would regret not stepping out of your comfort zone.

Some intriguing dishes to try include: kangaroo loin, grilled octopus, and alligator in a blanket (Clydz’s unique spin on pigs in a blanket). If you’re in the mood for something sweet after dinner, try the panna cotta trio, which features dark chocolate malt, salted caramel, candied pecan, strawberry, and fried banana. What’s not to love, right?

If you want something sweet with a kick, try one of the many dessert wines and cordials, like the Girl Scout Cookie.

Perfect For: Adventurous eaters, foodies, diners who appreciate a great drink menu

Old Man Rafferty’s

grad dinner

Photo courtesy of Old Man Rafferty’s

If you’re still want to impress your family with a refined eatery but would rather save a few bucks, this restaurant is your best option. Old Man Rafferty’s on George Street offers a classy dining experience at a reasonable price.

If you’re family’s on the large end, be sure to make a reservation—weekends at Old Man Rafferty’s during graduation season get super busy.

grad dinner

Photo by Mitch Marcus

What You’re Getting: Don’t get overwhelmed by their extensive display of dessert; get excited. Shelves upon shelves of sugary delight will keep you and your family smiling through the end of the evening, especially when those remaining lesser-known relatives are itching to get home.

We recommend the Vesuvius (shown above) for a perfect meal closer. Basically, you’re stuck with that regrettable diet-denting decision. But you’re still loving every second of it.

Perfect For: Big groups, affordable 4-course meal

The Frog and the Peach

grad dinner

Photo courtesy of The Frog and the Peach

Are your family members a bit more difficult to please? It’d definitely be worth your while to make reservations at The Frog and the Peach. The high-end atmosphere can make you forget that you’re in dingy New Brunswick by overlaying it with a trendy Manhattan vibe.

This upscale eatery offers a fair variety of dishes for all kinds of eaters, whether it be your pickiest little cousin or your haughtiest great aunt. Cuisine ranging from Italian, Portuguese, Hawaiian, and onward can be found across their diverse menu.

grad dinner

Photo courtesy of The Frog and the Peach

What You’re Getting: For those with daring palettes, take a stab at the roasted bone marrow. We were surprised at how much we enjoyed this option, which consists of chimichurri, pickled tongue, parsley salad, and smoked sea salt.

For those who like to play it safe, definitely go for the Griggstown chicken breast. Though it may seem like an easy dish to prepare, Frog and the Peach makes it perfectly to our liking. Accompanied by artichoke potato galette, ragout of artichokes, saffron, chorizo, garlic and Pequillo peppers, you won’t totally miss out on the zeal of trying something that’s a bit new.

Perfect For: Bang for your big buck, diners who enjoy a bustling atmosphere

Stage Left

grad dinner

Photo courtesy of Boomerang Dining

Step away from the hectic hoopla of graduation and settle into the upscale atmosphere of one of New Jersey’s best restaurants since its opening in 1992. The staff at Stage Left will ensure you and your family are treated like true Scarlet Knights.

While the rich mahogany decor and steep prices may seem intimidating, don’t go running to Stuff Yer Face for that trusty ol’ fish bowl just yet.

This swanky restaurant will cause your pinky finger to extend higher with every sip from its nationally recognized wine list, not to mention the extraordinary food.

Each server will provide you with the roadmap on how to approach your meal as soon as he sets it down. Take our advice, and listen closely. Great dining is all about proper pairings and educated taste buds, so be open to the staff’s recommendations and we guarantee they’ll help you make every penny worth it.

grad dinner

Photo courtesy of Restaurant Passion

What You’re Getting: It is obvious what the first stop should be as you celebrate the end of your drinking golden years. The bar at Stage Left guarantees retro-inspired concoctions featuring fresh squeezed juices and slow-melting ice spheres that ensure the long-lasting intensity of your drink.

For your meal, go with the succulent waygu flat iron steak served on a sizzling Himalayan salt block (shown above) for a taste you can see.

If the folks aren’t treating, we recommend the Stage Left burger as a more economically friendly choice that doesn’t sacrifice flavor by any means. In fact, the burger is made from steak scraps and has been voted Best Burger in New Jersey by over nine prestigious food organizations.

Then, what celebration ends without cake? Try the molten valrona chocolate cake that will conclude the meal with one last ooze and ahhs.

Perfect For: Fat wallets, noise sensitive diners, outdoor seating

Stuff Yer Face

grad dinner

Photo courtesy of Tasty Eating

As a student at Rutgers, you’ve at least heard of Stuff Yer Face, more commonly referred to as “Stuffs,” through the course of your time here. This is a classic spot for a variety of experiences, whether it’s a happy hour, drunk late night bite or a sit-down lunch with family or friends.

Its amiable staff and hearty ambiance will keep you feeling warm and welcome as you retell some of your best Rutger memories with the fam.

Famous for its classic array of stromboli, better known here as “boli’s,” your relatives will be able to choose from an endless variety of tastes, appeasing those who’ll have a hard time settling on one category of eats.

grad dinner

Photo courtesy of Human_ortolan

What You’re Getting: For a boli that’ll give you the nostalgia of being at Taco Bell while maintaining the integrity of a Stuffs boli, check out the Arango boli. It’s stuffed with taco seasoned chicken, sauteed onions, mozzarella cheese and spicy bleu cheese sauce. Eat your heart out.

In the Chipotle pork boli, there’s no give or take with the pulled pork—it reels you right in. A mix of classic barbecue infused with cheddar, caramelized onions, and ancho chipotle sauce, you’ll have your relatives wondering why they’ve never tried a boli sooner.

Perfect For: Indecisive relatives, relaxed dining with great comfort food, nostalgic storytelling

Check out these articles to help on your way to graduation: