Ugly Donuts & Corn Dogs, East Rutherford
This Korean corn-dog chain has made its way to the American Dream mall, serving up a variety of crunchy corn dogs and “ugnuts” (ugly donuts), which are twisted and made with rice to create a simultaneously crunchy and chewy bite. Filled donuts, Korean BBQ bowls, fruity drinks and bubble tea are also available.
1 American Dream Way
Emma has been moving around North Jersey since 2015, when Emma Restaurant first opened in Englewood. The restaurant then closed and moved to Edgewater in 2020 as Emma Bistro. Now, going simply by Emma, the eatery offers a new dining experience in Hackensack. Argentine American menu items remain; an elaborate bar space makes its debut.
240 Main Street; 201-399-0004
Mt. Ephraim Bar & Grill, Mt. Ephraim
Located in a former Little Caesar’s, Mt. Ephraim Bar & Grill opened right before the new year. The establishment sells classic bar food—appetizers like wings, onion rings and burgers; entrées including steak, seafood and lamb chops. Drafts, wines and cocktails are available from the bar. Happy hour is seven days a week, 5-7 pm.
267 South Black Horse Pike
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Jose Tejas, Mount Laurel
This Tex-Mex chain opened in December 2022 and abruptly closed just a year later on January 2. A brief statement sits on its website next to the Mount Laurel’s location info, stating it was a “difficult decision to close.” There are still two other Jersey locations in Woodbridge and Fairfield, as well as one in Christiana, DE (closest for most South Jerseyans).
StarView Diner, Somerdale
After a 25-year run, the beloved diner closed on January 3. StarView’s management pasted a note—written on the back of a paper placemat—at the diner as the official announcement, stating it was time for the owner’s retirement. Taking the diner’s place will be Amy’s Omelette House, a down-to-earth breakfast and lunch spot with locations in Long Branch, Burlington and Cherry Hill.
Empire Diner, Brooklawn
In a Facebook announcement last Friday afternoon, Empire Diner’s owner Dervis Akturk shared that the diner has been sold to the owners of Swedesboro Diner. As of now, the diner will remain open during its transition, which has already begun. Empire also owns the Empire Sports Bar just down the road, which will remain open under the ownership of Akturk.