Hidden Jersey: Food & Drink

From a diner at a rural airport to a French chocolatorium, these lesser-known dining establishments are sure to delight.

Small planes and gliders zip past the windows at Donna's Runway Cafe.
Small planes and gliders zip past the windows at Donna's Runway Cafe.
Photo by John Bessler

Donna’s Runway  Café
36 Lambert Road, Blairstown (Warren County)
This 42-seat retro diner sits alongside the runway at tiny Blairstown Airport. If the winds are right, you can fork into a fresh piece of pie while watching gliders swoop silently along the Blue Mountain Ridge. It’s a convenient stop for bicyclists on the Paulinskill Valley Rail Trail.  908-362-1600.—KS

Dutch Wagon Amish Market
109 Route 70, Medford (Burlington County)
Every Friday and Saturday, this little market brings a bit of Lancaster County to South Jersey. Vendors sell everything from fresh meats and poultry to baked goods, homemade candy and twisted-on-the-spot soft pretzels. Visitors can also browse the Country Collections Gift Shop for handmade furniture and décor, peruse handmade sheds and swing sets, and enjoy lunch or breakfast at the Simply Tasteful Café. Open Friday from 9 am to 8 pm; Saturday, 8 am to 4 pm. 609-953-7633.—ND

A traditional Greek treat from Layton County Store Cafe in Layton.

A traditional Greek treat from Layton County Store Cafe in Layton. Photo by Laura Baer

Layton Country Store Café
130 Route 560, Layton (Sussex County)
The last thing you might expect from this country-style market in the state’s northwest corner is exceptional Greek food—but that’s exactly what this family delivers. Second generation Angelina Zois runs the cafe with husband Georges Hrissohoisis. The menu features Greek specialties—souvlaki, moussaka and spanakopita platters—plus traditional American fare hot off the grill. Classic desserts like baklava—here topped with vanilla ice cream and honey—are homemade by Zois’s mom, Evangelina. Breakfast, lunch and dinner served daily. BYO. 973-948-8088.—LB

Michel Cluizel Chocolatrium
118 Cooper Road, West Berlin (Camden County)
Visit the New Jersey headquarters of this French manufacturer of fine chocolates and take a guided tour of the kitchen, with a stop in the tasting room. If you like, buy the luscious chocolate bars, bonbons, cakes and macarons to enjoy at home. Cluizel sources its cocoa beans from equatorial plantations, dries them in the sun, roasts them like coffee beans, and grinds the resulting nibs into fine granules. The cocoa butter pressed from the beans is then added back in generous amounts to create an extra-creamy texture. The retail shop is open Monday to Friday; tours by appointment only. 856-719-0800.—JPC

Penza’s Pies at the Red Barn Café
51 S. Myrtle Street, Hammonton (Atlantic County)
Rising like a beacon above the surrounding farmland, the Red Barn Café beckons South Jersey travelers with overstuffed pies (some weighing close to 10 pounds). Using only New Jersey produce, the Penza family has been baking their signature pies for several generations inside the 120-year-old barn. Selections include apple cranberry, coconut custard and strawberry ricotta. Breakfast and lunch served daily. 609-567-3412. —ND

Pub 199 in Mount Arlington.

Pub 199 in Mount Arlington. Photo by Rob Yaskovic.

Pub 199
199 Howard Boulevard, Mount Arlington (Morris County)
This casual seafood spot is known for offering two dozen clams, a steamed lobster and baked potato for just $21.95. Vegans beware: The massive, mess hall-style restaurant is decked out in stuffed trophy animals. The restaurant is cash only, and a beverage order is required. Go for the pitchers; even water is $2 a bottle. 973-398-7454.—JB

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