MacKenzie’s Grille & Ale House
84 East Main Street, Mendham
Hours: Tues-Sat, 11:30 am–10 pm; Sun, 1-9 pm
Style: Come-as-you-are eatery with jewel-toned interior, dark wood and gas-lit sconces. Locals flock here for the comfort food and convivial atmosphere.
Don’t Miss: Lunch, added this spring, might start with lump-crab dip with béchamel base topped with Gruyère baked and served with Old Bay-spiced pita chips ($10); or barbecue short-rib potato bites, small Yukon baked potatoes hollowed out and filled with short-rib meat, then finished with cheddar, sour cream and scallions ($8). The midday menu includes soups, salads, sandwiches, fish and chips ($12) and burgers (beef or bison), served with fries ($10-$14). The signature raw ahi tuna tacos ($12) or seared ahi salad with arugula, almonds, oranges, asparagus and white balsamic dressing ($13) are good choices. Interesting entrées include short-rib mac and cheese ($10) and the griddle sandwich: ham and Swiss, baked, then layered between two slices of pretzel bread and grilled to a golden brown before adding raspberry mustard and a side of fries ($8). On the dinner menu, executive chef Ryan Caswell recently added pan-roasted Atlantic salmon with rice and sautéed garlic spinach ($19); the house meatloaf with roasted carrots, whipped potatoes and mushroom gravy ($14); and two prime cuts of beef, a strip steak ($26) and a filet ($28), both served with salad, potato and vegetable. Direct from Brooklyn comes a towering slice of Junior’s cheesecake. Or dare your sweet tooth to survive an order of Reese’s peanut butter pie. If dessert isn’t your thing, treat yourself to a frothy Irish whiskey.
Heads Up: MacKenzie’s, in the Kings shopping plaza on Mendham’s main drag, boasts plenty of free parking. Insiders are hip to the Guinness martini, made with the classic Irish stout, Tia Maria, Kahlúa and Stoli Vanilla. (Ask for it; it’s not on the menu.)
The Scoop: Snuggle with the kids in a booth, enjoy a grown-up meal with wine at a table, or cozy up to the friendly bar. MacKenzie’s sister restaurants, operated by the 40North Restaurant Group of Morristown-based Villa Enterprises, include the Black Horse Tavern & Pub in Mendham; George & Martha’s in Morristown; and the Office Beer Bar & Grill at seven locations throughout the state.