Growing Up Jersey: Eat & Drink

Alice Waters and Anthony Bourdain share stories about eating around New Jersey in the days of their youth.

Alice Waters

Restaurateur, chef, author
Born: Chatham (1944)

Photo courtesy of Stephanie Rausser/Corbis

“My father called me a picky eater, and he was right; I wouldn’t eat just any old thing. I wanted green beans, and I loved grill-cooked steak. Every birthday I’d do the same thing: go to Manhattan and eat at the Horn & Hardart Automat. It was exciting to drop coins into the slot and take your lemon meringue pie out the glass door….We did go to one Jersey restaurant, the William Pitt in Chatham, for special occasions. The meal always began with canned fruit cocktail. We also went to a Gruning’s that was 20 minutes away. I couldn’t believe there were so many flavors of ice cream. My favorites were the mint chocolate chip and the vanilla with caramel.”—NJM, August 2007, as told to Karen Tina Harrison

Anthony Bourdain

Chef, author, TV personality
Born: New York City (1956)
Raised: Leonia

Illustration by Raul Arias

“My parents loved restaurants and often took me and my brother into Manhattan. We were eating Japanese, Indian—all kinds of food—back in the 1960s. We also ate out a lot in Jersey, mostly in Bergen County. At that time, there was a lot of mediocre red-sauce Italian and gluey Cantonese. When you’re a kid, though, it tastes good. I have fond memories of eating hot dogs at Hiram’s in Fort Lee. We went to the Sol ’n’ Sol Deli in Englewood, where I liked the chopped liver. Then there was Baumgart’s soda fountain in Englewood, which I loved.”—NJM, August 2007, as told to Karen Tina Harrison

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