Dining in the Garden State has benefited tremendously from the slow-food movement, but perhaps nowhere more than in South Jersey, where the farm-to-fork movement has given local chefs an expanded palate of locally sourced ingredients with which to demonstrate their mastery of a range of flavors.
In addition to showcasing the freshness of traditional staple ingredients like corn, tomatoes, and berries, South Jersey’s farmers markets have given diners a taste for fresh ingredients, to which chefs have responded. Menus have become more sophisticated overall, with kitchens catering to individual dietary needs.
Cultural authenticity is present in each of their menus, which reflect the variety of casual and fine dining options in the area—Mexican, Italian, Japanese, Indian, South American, Greek. Yet there is as much competition to be known for the best hoagie, cheesesteak, and tomato pie in the region, and locals have enough options to make it an argument.
Many of New Jersey’s best meals are served in intimate, neighborhood BYOB’s, where diners pair them with a favorite beverage. New laws allowing restaurants to partner with South Jersey wineries have expanded choices as well, bringing vineyard-fresh wines to their tables.