The first time I tried to get into the Stirling Tavern in Morristown for dinner, it was too packed to get a seat—and it wasn’t even the weekend yet. Even the bar was too full to stand around. My companion and I left feeling deflated, and wandered down South Street to another restaurant instead.
Located among Morristown’s bustling downtown restaurant row, the Stirling Tavern has become a crowd favorite since it opened in late 2016. From the owners of the landmark Stirling Hotel, the gastropub offers upscale tavern fare in a modern space, with options like grilled Iberico pork with celeriac puree, and pan-seared scallops over Thai coconut black rice on the menu.
Don’t worry—there are also four types of burgers and various fried snacks for those who crave more traditional pub dishes. The bar also boasts an interesting draft list, usually featuring a few local breweries; and a creative yet affordable cocktail menu (Stirling Tavern bartenders came in third in the 2017 Ironshaker Competition).
I tried a different tactic on my return visit, and decided to ditch the dinner rush crowd and grab lunch with friends at the Stirling Tavern instead. We grabbed a corner at the large bar, which occupies the right side of the restaurant. The dining area, filled with a variety of different sized tables, is to your left when you enter.
We started with the Mexican Street Corn Flatbread ($12), with Chihuahua and Cotija cheese, grilled corn, avocado, chipotle aioli and cilantro. I would have preferred the corn to be more charred—and for there to be more of it—but the starter was devoured within minutes.
The entrees we ordered were from the lunch menu, which includes some items that aren’t available for dinner. I got the Popcorn Shrimp Tacos ($14). The shrimp was crispy and well spiced, and topped with a fresh green papaya slaw. My friends opted for the Voodoo Salmon Wrap ($16), with blackened salmon, romaine, bacon and avocado; and the buttermilk fried chicken sandwich ($14), topped with cheddar cheese, buttermilk ranch and shredded lettuce. Each came with crispy steak fries—some of the best I’ve tried in Morristown.
The Stirling Tavern might not be the best option for an intimate, quiet meal or romantic date. But you can always count on getting great food in a vibrant, energetic space.
Just be sure to make a reservation in advance.
Stirling Tavern, 150 South Street, Morristown; 973-993-8066. Open for lunch and dinner, daily; brunch, Sunday.