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Trenton Eats

Herewith a short list of some of the other Trenton dining

destinations, beyond the ‘Burg:

Archives at the Lafayette Yard Marriott, 1 West

Lafayette Street, Trenton. 609-421-4000. Fax: 609-656-4797. American

cuisine. Open daily for breakfast, lunch, dinner. Liquor license.

Archives, the restaurant at the new Marriott hotel, sports curved

banquettes, delicate cobalt-blue light fixtures, and an "exhibition"

kitchen in full view of the patrons.

Entrees range from vegetarian penne pasta and chicken pot pie at $12.50

and $15 respectively, to the $20 Old Mill Lobster Pot. From the grill,

choose from swordfish (10 ounces, $19) or a whopping 20 ounce porterhouse

at $28.

The 175-seat restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily,

with a $19 jazz brunch on Sunday. A buffet lunch on weekdays is drawing

raves for its broad range of imaginative choices and exceptional desserts.

Blue Danube Inn (Hunedoara Inn), 538 Adeline Street

at Elm off Broad, Trenton. 609-393-6133. Fax: 609-393-8913. Eastern

European and continental cuisine. Open for lunch Tuesday to Friday

and dinner Tuesday to Sunday. Liquor license.

Run by Petru and Margaret Pulhac, this Romanian and Hungarian restaurant

drew raves from everyone asked about favorite Trenton restaurants.

Susan Nelson, a nurse at St. Francis Medical Center, says "it’s

around the corner from Artifacts, to combine shopping and eating pleasures!

All sour cream, all the time, Eastern European (and some Western)

treats. Plenty to eat and more points than a Weight Watcher could


Bill Kerney, marketing guru at Oxford Communications, is another fan.

"I love that place," he says. Among his favorite dishes are

the chicken paprikash, pierogies, and schnitzel dishes.

The menu features pierogies, mamaliga, which is a Romanian dish of

slowly stirred cornmeal topped with feta, mozzarella, and sausage,

veal and chicken paprikash, stuffed cabbage, wiener schnitzel, and

a dessert called savarina, a rum-soaked cake. On Monday nights, all

specials are $9.95. Tuesday is "Hungarian-Romanian Night,"

Wednesday is seafood night, and Thursday is "German-Polish"


Blue Mountain Cafe, 13 North Willow Street, Trenton.

609-695-4844. Fax: 609-695-7640. Open Monday to Wednesday for lunch,

Thursday and Friday for lunch, happy hour, and dinner. Liquor license.

Open just since mid-April, this Caribbean/African American restaurant

aims to do more than serve good food. "We want to create community,"

says Cynt A. Lewis, the operations manager, who owns Blue Mountain

with two partners, Evan A. Samuels and Jene Samuels. Toward this end,

the new restaurant has a resident artist, Brenda Pinkston, whose work

hangs on its walls. There are also periodic shows of other artists’


Poetry spoken word nights continue every other Friday until December

20, when the winner will be awarded a $250 prize. "In the new

year, we’re switching to comedy nights," says Lewis.

The restaurant, which is near the state capitol, also hosts occasional

jazz performances, and is putting together a house band.

Lewis says Blue Mountain is the only restaurant in the area that serves

authentic Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee. Other specialties are oxtail

and "escoveitshed" fish, which she describes as fish that

is lightly fried and then sauteed in spices, including onions and

Jamaican peppers.

In addition to Jamaican specialties such as jerk chicken, Blue Mountain

serves a vegan meal, and a full range of lunch staples. Collards,

yams, spinach, rice and peas, and corn on the cob are among the side

dishes served with lunch.

Prices are low and portions are ample.

Cafe Ole, 126 South Warren Street, Trenton. 609-396-2233.

Fax: 609-396-7220. Open for breakfast lunch

and tea on weekdays, and for Trenton’s First Fridays.

A 50-seat coffeehouse for Trenton that also has teas, plus salads,

soups, sandwiches, vegetarian chili, and of course biscotti. It’s

open for the Statehouse crowd on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. On

the first Friday of every month, there are live readings and music.

Jamie Griswold (he’s at Tramp Steamer Media) opened the cafe in 1997

and his partners are his wife, Karen, and Gigi Dallaire.

Centre House Pub, 499 Centre Street at Cass Street,

Trenton. 609-599-4088. Lunch on weekdays, daily for dinner. Liquor


While it doesn’t look like much from the outside, Centre House Pub

is a delightful restaurant in an old building full of comfortable

nooks and crannies. Its attractive bar, near the entrance, is a fine

place for a convivial meal. More formal dining rooms offer an intimate

space for quiet dining.

There is jazz on Fridays and Saturdays and an excellent buffet brunch

from 11 to 3 p.m. on Sundays — perfect for before the ball game.

On Fridays at lunch all drinks are $1.

Checkers, 14 South Warren Street, Trenton. 609-394-3895.

Bar food. Open for lunch on weekdays, and dinner on First Fridays.

Liquor license.

With a busy bar in front and a bustling dining room toward the rear

of its narrow space, Checkers is a busy place at lunch. The soup is

homemade, as are the desserts. Prices for lunch favorites — burgers,

sandwiches and salads — are more than reasonable.

On First Fridays Checkers stays open late, puts tables in the parking

lot next door, strings lights, and becomes a magnet for casual diners

looking for a good time.

Covello’s Pizza and Italian Restaurant, 308 South

Broad Street, Trenton. 609-393-9358. Fax: 609-393-1331. Italian cuisine.

Open daily except Sunday for lunch and dinner, weeknights to midnight;

weekends to 2 a.m. BYOB.

Emily McCardell, a medical editor and mother of three, says "I

like Covello’s for pizza and cheese steaks — the best pizza of

all time!"

Frankye’s, 125 Perry Street, Trenton. 609-777-5337.

Fax: 609-777-5319. Guatemalan and Spanish cuisine. Open Thursday to

Tuesday for lunch, dinner. BYOB.

Marty Johnson recommends Frankye’s for Guatemalan food. Appetizers

include Garnachas, fried corn omelette with cheese, onion, and tomato

sauce ($5.50), Tostones, fried plantains ($2.00); and several varieties

of enciladas ($3). Most entrees are centered on beef, served with

shrimp, guacamole, red sauce or onions and tomatoes ($8 to $12).

There is live music on Saturdays and Sundays.

Delight of India, 29 South Warren Street, Trenton.

609-393-9000. Fax: 609-393-5225. Indian cuisine. Open Monday to Saturday

for lunch and dinner. BYOB.

Now under new management, this Indian restaurant is just steps from

the new Marriott. Audrey McDonald, a social policy researcher for

Mathematica, who has traveled all over the world says "I love

the food at Delight of India. I think I know when Indian food is good

and not good."

Ruth Schmid, an administrator with the state, is also enthusiastic,

and, having visited India a number of times, she too is a person who

knows Indian food.

Seating in the restaurant is mostly in high-backed booths. Bright

tapestries cover the walls, and enormous windows provide copious light.

Specialties include naans, which are breads, some mixed with spices

or meat ($1.25 to $2.99), tandoor dishes, including Chicken Mint Tikka

($8.99) and Fish Tikka, which is boneless salmon cubes of spring chicken

marinated in ginger, other spices, and yogurt, and char-broiled in

a clay oven ($11.99), vegetarian dishes, including Shahi Paneer, cubes

of homemade cheese cooked in fresh tomatoes and butter sauce ($8.99),

and seafood specialities ($12.99-$13.99).

II Domenic’s Pizza and Family Restaurant, 1855

South Broad Street, Trenton. 609-989-8044. Open daily for lunch and

dinner. BYOB.

Several members of the Island All-Girls Book Club in Trenton declare

this to be the finest pizzeria in the area.

But Dominic’s menu goes way beyond pizza. Co-owner Dominic Recine,

who runs the restaurant with his family, says all of his pasta is

home-made, as is the soup he serves. There are at least three soup

choices a day, along with a full range of pasta specialties, including

homemade lasagna ($8.50).

Entrees are priced at $9.25 to $12.25, and include eggplant rotini,

chicken cutlet Milanese, and mussels marinara.

On a recent Friday night, Dominic’s was packed. Waitresses hugged

babies and chatted with the regulars as Dominic hustled orders out

of the kitchen. The lasagna was mild, with lots of melted ricotta

and not too much meat. The garlic bread was outstanding.

Joe’s Mill Hill Saloon, 300 South Broad Street,

Trenton. 609-394-7222. International/Cajun cuisine. Open for lunch

weekdays, dinner Monday to Saturday. Liquor.

Originally a drug store, the Mill Hill sits diagonally across from

the Mercer County court house and is a popular Delaware Valley jazz

spot on Saturday nights. The bar was salvaged from the original Hotel

Claridge in Atlantic City. Some say this is the best place for a solo

diner to enjoy a meal at a bar.

KatManDu, 50 Riverview Executive Plaza, Trenton

Waterfront Park, Trenton. 609-393-7300. Fax: 609-695-5816. Caribbean

and eclectic cuisine. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Liquor license.

Sprinkling a dash of the tropics next to the Delaware River, in Trenton’s

old Cooper Iron Works on Route 29 at Trenton Waterfront Park, KatManDu’s

specialties include jambalaya shrimp, grilled Jamaican chops, crab

cakes, cajun flounder — and live music inside and on its deck.

Malaga Spanish Restaurant, 511 Lalor Street off

Route 29 South, Trenton. 609-396-8878. Fax: 609-396-5514. www.malagarestaurant.

Spanish cuisine. Open for lunch on weekends and dinner daily. Liquor


Gigantic piles of authentic Spanish and Portuguese food are the hallmark

of this family-owned eatery.

Paella and mariscadas top the menu, both Spanish stews of a sort,

and only for the heartiest appetites. Mariscada Malaga, for instance,

includes lobster, clams, mussels, scallops, and shrimp in a brandy-tomato

sauce, and is truly huge ($16.95). There are also steak, veal, and

chicken dishes that are less formidable but still filling. And don’t

miss the homemade sangrias — both red and white — and the

pungent garlic soup, house specialties. Smoking in the bar area. Non

smoking elsewhere. Open for lunch on weekdays and dinner daily. A

private room for 20 to 30 people is available.

On first and third Wednesday evenings, see flamenco dancing, performed

by Flamenco Ole from Philadelphia.

Maxine’s Restaurant, 120 South Warren Street, Trenton.

609-392-0022. Fax: 609-392-1818. www.maxinesrestaurant. Eclectic

cuisine. Open for lunch and dinner daily. Liquor license.

Maxine’s, serving an adventuresome, eclectic menu, is right across

the street from the new Marriott. Its dramatic dining room, all black

and silver, holds 300 with plenty of room for dancing. A more intimate

bar sits just to the left.

On Friday nights, starting at 8 p.m. or so, there is live jazz. On

Saturday, there is either live music or a DJ.

Carmen Marranco, vocalist with the Tone Rangers, a band that makes

frequent appearances at Lawrenceville’s Fedora cafe, is a big fan.

"Maxine’s makes a delicious crab cake dinner," he says, "and

also a sumptuous coconut shrimp meal."

Among interesting appetizers are seared yellow-fin tuna wontons, fried

shrimp phyllo, and seared Thai beef strips, which the chef warns are

"Hot!" Recently two soups choices at dinner were New Jersey

Crab Chowder ($8) and Moroccan Chickpea and Vegetable with Chicken

($6). The latter is described as "an East African delight; stewed

chicken with chickpeas, fresh tomato, eggplant, and zucchini.

Dinner entrees include Cornflake Crusted Crab Cakes, served with creamy

lime dressing ($24), Chicken Roulade, a chicken breast stuffed with

spinach, roasted peppers, calamata olives, and feta cheese ($19),

and Roasted Rack of Lamb En Croute ($23).

Pete Lorenzo’s, 66 South Clinton Avenue, Trenton.

609-695-6868. Fax: 609-695-0304. Italian American steakhouse. Open

weekdays for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday. Liquor license.

Real meat for real men, with a porterhouse for two pegged at $58,

and of course, a raw bar. Lamb, lobster, and whopping pork chops complement

the beef-centered menu.

This is a major hangout for state politicos of all stripes, most of

whom must be doing quite well financially, it would seem; after all,

dinner for two at Pete Lorenzo’s will approach $70 quite easily, without

drinks. And in this smoke-filled room geared to the tastes of our

elected representatives, nobody fails to order drinks.

In former days you had to pay cash here but they take credit cards

now. It’s across from the Amtrak station but valet parking is available.

Sweeney’s Saloon, 668 South Broad Street, Trenton.

609-393-6669. Fax: 609-393-2178. Open for lunch Monday to Saturday,

for dinner, Tuesday to Saturday. Liquor license.

Irish pub with hearty food in a century-old building. Dishes include

buffalo wings, broiled filet mignon, corned beef and cabbage, and

roast pork with sour cream gravy. Entrees from $8 to $18.

The Coconut Restaurant, 706 Brunswick Avenue, Trenton.

609-394-1705. Fax: 609-394-1709. Jamaican cuisine. Lunch and dinner

daily. BYOB.

Jamaican specialties such as curried goat with gravy ($8.50), Black

River jumbo shrimp, prepared curried or jerked ($9.50), and jerk barbecued

meats with collard greens, served spicy or mild, all $7.50 and up.

The "Port Royal" offers a sampler of three choices from curried

goat or chicken and Jerk chicken or oxtail, $12.50. Specials include

steamed red snapper and a vegetarian dish with "callaloo"

in it.

The Tremont Lounge, 332 East State Street, Trenton.

609-392-9600. Fax: 609-396-6844. Open weekdays for lunch. Liquor license.

The Tremont, located around the corner from the Mill Hill Playhouse,

is a lunch place, but owner Said Crusade has been known to open it

at evenings for regular customers who call in advance. Dinner on average

costs about $22. The choices? Crusade asks you what you would like

when he takes the reservation. "Steaks are popular items, lots

of sauteed chicken and veal, and the catch of the day, which could

be tuna, mako shark, or red snapper."

Crusade has been at this location for 22 years and, he says, "we’ve

been doing it this way almost that long." The bar stays open until

7 p.m. on weekdays.

Urban Word Cafe, 449 South Broad Street, Trenton.

609-989-7777. Fax: 609-989-7737. www.urbanword. Open weekdays

for lunch, dinner, and late-night, and for dinner on Saturday. Closed

Sunday. Liquor license.

At a recent civic association meeting, Urban Word got some of the

most enthusiastic comments. Its Cuban pork sandwich ($7.50) was called

"one of the few authentic Cuban sandwiches around" by a chemist

with Bristol-Myers Squibb.

The Urban Word frequently has live music, and hosts poetry slams,

community events, and even a book club. Specialties include fried

calamari with sweet pepper and pesto ($7.50), Cajun chicken fajita

($7), and crab cakes with potato and avocado salad ($15).

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