The 10 Best Brunch Spots In Newark's Central Ward, New Jersey

Amanda Chain

Originally colonized by Connecticut Puritans, Central Ward of Newark, New Jersey is now renowned for being one of the most eclectic neighborhoods on the East Coast of the USA. Home to African-American, Jewish and Spanish influences, Central Ward boasts a rich culinary legacy which blends fresh ingredients with home-style dining. Here’s our list of the 10 best brunch spots in Central Ward New Jersey, including everything from hearty Southern soul food to light breakfast bites.

Multi-grain Silver Dollar Pancakes with Berries, Vonda’s Kitchen I Courtesy of Vonda’s Restaurant

1. Vonda's Kitchen

Restaurant, American, Fast Food, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-free

Vonda’s Kitchen will not leave the hungry diner disappointed. We came here seeking traditional African-American soul food, and found a diverse combination of tasty Southern style cooking mixed with healthier options too, meaning even those looking for a lighter bite are catered for here. Run by one of the best known chef’s in the tri-state area, Vonda McPherson, the quality of food here is exceptional. A particularly popular dish is the Multi Grain Silver Dollar Pancakes with fresh berries. The pan seared salmon cakes, made to order and accompanied by cheddar cheese grits, are also divine.

2. Duke's Southern Table

Duke’s Southern Table

Also owned by Vonda McPherson, Duke’s Southern Table blends traditional Southern cuisine with great live jazz, creating the perfect soulful setting in which to relax and dine. Located in Newark’s Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District, an area listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, McPherson’s culinary mastery ensures the venue is always full. We came for Sunday Brunch and fell in love with the Ginger Grits, Maryland Crab Cakes and Fried Okra. If there is any way you still have some room for dessert, we recommend the Pumpkin Tart and the Chocolate Mousse Cake.

Duke’s Southern Table, 11 Clinton Street, Newark, NJ USA, +1 862-763-5757

Crab cakes I © Sheri Wetherell/FlickrCrab cakes I © Sheri Wetherell/Flickr

3. Central Restaurant

Restaurant, American, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-free

Pancake brunch
© Japanexperterna/flikr
If looking for a quintessential highway diner experience among the bustle of the city, then Central Restaurant should be your first choice, offering efficient service, friendly staff and fair prices. Within walking distance of the business district, Rutgers Newark Campus and the New Jersey Institute of Technology, this is an ideal spot for quick breakfasts or lazy brunches between meetings or lectures. Mains are served in decently sized portions, perfect with your diner staple, the bottomless cup of coffee.

4. Jimmy’s Golden Crest Luncheonette

Diner, American, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-free

A modest spot offering friendly service and great food with a low price tag, Jimmy’s Golden Crest Luncheonette is a low-key family-run diner offering a homely and warm atmosphere in which to enjoy brunch. We had two fried eggs with cheese, grits, soft bacon and toast, and we will definitely be back for more.

5. Hell's Kitchen

Bar, Beer, Wine, Cocktails, Pub Grub, American

Hell’s Kitchen makes brunch an event, a momentous occasion that won’t soon be forgotten. Located on the edge of Central Ward and Eastern Ward, the meals here are huge, and will leave even the hungriest diner full to the brim. Start off with a Mimosa or Bloody Mary before tucking into the El Bruncho Burrito, bursting with delicious cheese, beef and refried beans. Excellent vegetarian options are offered here, particularly the tasty Tortilla Española. If you’re more into the lunch side of brunch, go for the Brick City Burger, which includes a quarter-pounder burger, chorizo, cheese, onion rings and a tangy barbecue sauce. The restaurant hosts a number of themed events, the most interesting of which being Brick City Burlesque Thursdays.

6. Alva New American Tavern

Restaurant, American, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-free

Waffle brunch
© Kelly Garbato/Flikr
Alva New American Tavern is a fantastic brunch spot inside the Hotel Indigo in central downtown Newark. Exquisitely prepared food is served here, in an atmosphere which radiates with the warmth and openness of a classic American tavern. The ricotta pancakes topped with lemon curd and fresh berries are particularly delicious here. The restaurant is only a short walk from the Military Park which houses the stunning Wars of America Memorial, a must see for any visit to Newark.

7. Tops Diner

Diner, American, Vegetarian, Vegan

Located on the edge of Central Ward, Tops Diner has been proudly serving brunch in the same spot since 1972. Voted the Best Diner in 2013 by Inside NJ, it’s well worth a visit on any trip to the area. Something of an institution, George Golemis founded this family-run diner as the culinary answer to the American dream. Aiming to bring New York City flare to the shores of New Jersey, Tops has become renowned for inventive signature dishes and an excellent dining atmosphere. The restaurant abides by a motto of ‘simple and fresh’, and with a menu the size of a novel, it’s easy to find a mouth watering meal without breaking the bank here. We were blown away with the Giant Belgian Waffle stuffed with strawberries, bananas and blueberries topped with a dusting of powdered sugar. Also highly recommended is the original batter, filled with chocolate chips, bananas, and fresh whipped cream.

8. Annabella's Kitchen

Restaurant, American, Fast Food, Vegetarian

If seeking authentic local treats at a reasonable price, look no further than Annabella’s Kitchen. This Washington Street staple offers a mouthwatering stack of chocolate chip pancakes made with a secret recipe. The corned beef hash is very tasty too. Perfect for hungry early risers on a tight schedule, the restaurant is conveniently located near the University campus and business district.

9. The Harvest Table

The Harvest Table

This downtown eatery offers a wealth of creative, healthy and delicious seasonal brunch options. Opened in 2007 on Halsey Street, The Harvest Table has been featured in a number of “Best Eats”, and has even been awarded culinary accolades by Oprah. The ‘invent your own combination’ salads are great here for a personal meal. We adored the Peach Sunrise smoothie made from peaches, strawberry, honey and soy milk with our Bacon, Egg and Cheese sandwich on a multi-grain roll. We also recommend trying one of the seasonal breads; our favorite was the banana walnut option, a flavor so tasty, we couldn’t resist buying a few more to take home.

The Harvest Table, 127 Halsey Street, Newark, NJ USA +1 973 494 8183

Brunch I © Joe Hsu/FlickrBrunch I © Joe Hsu/Flickr

Broad Street Café

For early risers, this hidden gem, Broad Street Café, boasts a number of excellent breakfast specials, with food served between six and eleven in the morning. Try an egg platter or breakfast quesadilla, as well as a stack of pancakes with butter and syrup. There’s no need to worry if you’re up a little later; there is a full menu available all day packed with delicious treats, our favorite being the feta and spinach omelet with bacon.

Broad Street Café, 562 Broad Street, Newark, NJ USA +1 973 624 2200

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