—Olive Press Eatery opened in Metuchen on February 23. Both a restaurant and an event space—the main dining room is lined with neat bookshelves—their grand opening featured author Randa Jarrar and, later, music by Alaa Jitan. The Palestinian-Arabic menu goes both playful and sophisticated with “Shareables” like Dad’s Falafel, Za’atar Fries, and Aubergine Tarts, and entrees like Palestinian Shakshouka, Freekeh & Greens Shoubara, and a Kefta Lamb Burger. They also do vegan options, including an Impossible Burger, Arabic coffee, and a “fruit-infused house beverage” (non-alcoholic). It’s early days but they seem happily up-and-running judging by Facebook. Olive Press Eatery, 21 Pearl Street, Metuchen; 732-662-5777
—After longtime owner-operator Joseph Barone retired, he sold the iconic two-story Journal Square Pub to Jersey City natives Frank and Sebastian Cupo, who area ready to open up the revamped space just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. Re-christened the JSQ Lounge, the space has a vintage Jersey City/old school pub aesthetic with enough modern takes to feel fresh. The bar will eventually feature a kitchen, but for now it’s drinks only, including craft cocktails, 12 beer taps, and wine and soft drinks. JSQ Lounge, 50 Journal Square, Jersey City; no phone yet.
In the Works:
—When it (finally) opens in April, Source Brewing in Colts Neck won’t be able to serve food (it’s not part of their license). But the self-styled farmhouse brewery from “Shark Tank” alum and Fizzics creator Philip Petracca is looking to entice your palate with some of its outside-the-box brews. As they finish their build-out, Source is also sharing pics of its beers, like the supposedly Champagne-proximate 8.1% ABV Double Brut IPA and a cold brew-spiked Mocha Stout. The brewery has been in the works since 2017, so expect team, taps, and infrastructure (complete with Bavarian-style biergarten) ready to go when they open. Source Brewing, 300 Route 34, Colts Neck; 732-778-5184
—With kitsch, cold beer, and easy, cheap eating, Weber’s Drive In kept the nostalgia fires burning on White Horse Pike in Stratford since 1959. It closed a few years ago, with more than a little public grief, but now, thanks to the efforts of businessman Darren DeSumma, the roadside burger stand is set to open again. The parking lot and drive-in façade will likely get a touch up, but the mainstays that made Weber’s a local favorite for decades will still anchor the menu—think burgers, pizza, cheese steaks, onion rings, and of course their touted root beer. Rumor has it the drive-in starts up again late April. Whether servers strap on roller skates is unsure. Weber’s Drive In, 105 S. White Horse Pike, Stratford; 856-783-9404
—Pickett’s Village Bar in Maplewood describes itself as “New Comfort American Cuisine,” “similar to a gastropub.” The pub part is supplied by 24 beer taps—“mostly craft beer and many local”—and the kitchen promises to do local-when-possible cooking. The restaurant is slated to open in April. Pickett’s Village Bar, 2208 Millburn Avenue, Maplewood; no phone yet.
—Something called the Little Local coffee shop, presumably based out of Hoboken, has an Instagram account and/or may morph into a coffee shop at 519 Adams Street, Hoboken; no phone yet.Click here to leave a comment