—From the restaurant group that brought you the popular George’s Place diner and YB (Younger Brother), both in Cape May, comes Scola, a “contemporary American” BYO that opened in March on Mechanic Street in Cape May Courthouse. The website isn’t fully operational yet, but on the menu are things like duck confit, halibut tacos, chicken on waffle, and something called “meatloaf” with kobe beef and smoked fig ketchup. The restaurant is named after its owner, Ben Scola, with chef Nicholas Persons at the helm. It’ll be interesting to keep an eye on the place as it evolves, especially as summer heightens. Scola, 3 Mechanic Street, Cape May Court House; 609-536-8883
—If drinking options seem a little pleasantly complicated these days, add another option to the menu: sparkling espresso. At least that’s the crux of what’s available at Sober Shot, a small, gently quirky coffee shop on Jersey Avenue in Jersey City that opened late last month. The drinks menu isn’t like your normal coffee shop—they do classics like espresso, latte, cappuccino—but the real draw here is the “Unnormal” section of the menu, which contains the Sobert Shot sparkling espresso drink, a similar drink made with sparkling green or black tea, and a whole slew of other drink options. Maybe more interesting than that, the “Egg Box” food options—little egg shaped cakes that come in a pseudo egg carton with sweet (custard, chocolate) or savor (tuna salad, spicy pork) fillings. Yes it sounds bizarre, but so far folks seem happy. Sober Shot, 514 Jersey Avenue, Jersey City; 201-309-9902
—Terri Sacchetti started her food truck business in Haddon Township in 2018, but this year found her re-launching the concept (repainted truck and all). In a March 18 Facebook post, she debuted the truck’s new look, new name, and new, veganized menu—and kept up with a slew of spring appearances at food truck gatherings, vegan festivals, and farmers markets. The menu has more than a few familiar dishes done entirely plant-based, e.g. King Oyster mushroom as meaty “steak” in her Philly cheesesteak and a “meatball” sub with eggplant-based meatballs. The concept isn’t about meat imitation, however, but (hearty, satisfying) plant celebration. On wheels. The Fabulous Fig, Haddon Township; 267-432-7790
In the Works:
—The no-foodie-frills formula that is Grubbs Take Away in Hoboken (comfort food and/or hangover cure, fast, delivered, appropriately greasy) is getting a second outlet in Jersey City. The ultra-fast-casual spot is taking over the old McDonald’s location on Newark Avenue, bringing a bit more heft to neighborhood burger options. No word yet on exact opening date, but it’s likely only a matter of weeks before you can solve a dinner dilemma with a simple Patty Melt, Reese’s Peanut Butter Milkshake, and side of Chili Cheese Tater Tots. Grubbs Take Away, 564 Newark Avenue, Jersey City; no phone yet.
—With almost two decades under its belt on Main Avenue in Ocean Grove, Nagle’s Apothecary Café is closed for the summer as owner Lenny Steen continues to battle an illness. The café had been closed, though there were hopes it might reopen for the season, especially given its history in Ocean Grove. The original Nagle’s Pharmacy opened in 1901, with Steen and the café taking over in 2000, operating a year-long ice cream window on the corner of the street and serving fast-casual Jersey classics on its menu inside (milkshakes, burgers, egg sandwiches, lots of Taylor ham). Steen has commented that the closure is only temporary, and he plans on reopening as soon as that becomes a possibility. Nagle’s Apothecary Café, 43 Main Avenue, Ocean GroveClick here to leave a comment