After 88 historic, illustrious, luncheon-filled years serving the people of Hoboken and greater Hudson County, Schnackenberg’s Luncheonette on Washington Street is closing its doors, or more accurately making way for the next generation. (Alas, yes, a place famous for its house-made doughnuts and classic Egg Cream-hawking diner vibe is being replaced by a salad spot.)
Schnackenberg’s opened in 1931 and remained in the same location for 88 years of Hoboken evolution. Longtime Hoboken restaurateurs Joyce and Eugene Flinn were Schnackenberg’s most recent owners, even seeing it through some extremely disruptive construction on Washington Street before finally announcing its closure via a February 1 Instagram post. Based on the comments, the closure came as a surprise.
The incoming salad spot, Alfalfa, had been hosting a pop-up in the Schnackenberg’s space and looks to be taking over soon, announcing it’ll spend the next two weeks “making 1110 Washington Street our full time home.” (They’re quick to thank Schnackenberg’s, and reassure everyone, “yes, there will be doughnuts!”)
—From RB Hospitality, the restaurant group that brought the Michelin-starred Indian restaurant Junoon in New York City, comes the newly opened Jersey Social in Jersey City. Rajesh Bhardwaj of RB Hospitality Group and owner Arun Nanda put the concept together as a draw in the increasingly up-and-coming section of downtown Jersey City. The menu from executive chef Adin Langille, formerly of Junoon, veers glossily eclectic/modern American, e.g. small bites like Chorizo Corndog Lollipops and Candied Bacon, and larger plates like Grilled Skirt Steak Arepas. The food is matched by an equally sleek cocktail menu from former Junoon mixologist Hemant Pathak, anchored by serious classics (Sazerac, Negroni, Barrel-aged Boulevardier) and rotating new selections (the El Mentor with Patron Silver tequila with jalapeno-infused maple syrup, lime, turmeric tincture and curry leaf). Add the hefty spirits, beer, and (some) wine, and “night out” possibilities abound. Jersey Social, 837 Jersey Avenue, Jersey City; 201-222-7447
—The equally ambitious/optimistic Whitechapel Projects in Long Branch took about eight years of planning and painstaking renovation of a century-old warehouse, but the art space/restaurant/nanobrewery has been running (happily) for about two months now. The brainchild of Preston Casertano, it’s named after London’s Whitechapel District, where Casertano experienced the kind of art-permeating-life creative fusion he’s trying to recreate in Long Branch, combining an art space with a restaurant and nanobrewery (hence the “S” in “Projects”). The restaurant menu from executive chef James Mignola mingles classic French, twangy southern, and funky/eclectic flavors, with head brewer Mike Dolan in charge of the modest, but meticulously-crafted brewery output. Expect interplay between food and beer, not to mention interplay between food and beer and art. Whitechapel Projects, 15 Second Avenue, Long Branch; 732-963-9218
—Koi Asian Fusion Lounge in Brick just opened its second location in Toms River, complete with a “Cultural Showroom” and “Asian artifacts,” including Chinese terracotta warriors. The menu has standard hibachi-sushi options, with some oddball special rolls and at least once concession to the poke craze. Koi Hibachi & Kitchen, 1256 Indian Head Road, Toms River; 732-240-8888Click here to leave a comment