Category Archives: Cranford NJ Food

Food, restaurants, bars, coffee shops and more in the Cranford area of New Jersey.

Valentine’s Day Dinner Spots in the Cranford-Westfield Area

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Love is in the air, folks! Have you planned a Valentine gift for your sweetie? Forget flowers or a cheesy card–the best gift is FOOD, baby. Specifically, a delicious dinner out on the town that you can enjoy together. Here’s a list of restaurants in the Cranford-Westfield Area that are offering Valentine’s prix fixe meals and specials that will make for a DELICIOUS and romantic date night. cNote that prices listed do not include taxes and gratuity (be kind to your servers!).

Bar Americana
24 N. Ave E, Cranford, NJ
(908) 276-3664

Three-course dinner of pear salad, filet mignon or snapper, and berry-topped cheesecake (plus a sorbet palate cleanser) includes champagne toast; $45 per person.

Chez Catherine
431 North Ave., Westfield
(908) 654-4011

Three-course dinner features lobster bisque, filet mignon, and chocolate mousse cheesecake, and coffee; $80 per person. Reservations begin at 5pm and are a must.

14 Elm St, Westfield
Three-course dinner with so many choices, including shrimp cocktail, grilled octopus salad, lobster risotto, chilean sea bass, and chocolate-covered strawberries, plus complimentary champagne toast and soft drinks/coffee; $65.95
per person.
Le Petit Temptation
19 Eastman St., Cranford
Five courses include cauliflower velvet, la homard mousse, monkfish or chicken, grapefruit and champagne, and dessert; $75 per person. BYO
Mulberry House
415 Westfield Ave., Westfield
(908) 233-3562

Five-course dinner includes truffled potato soup, root vegetable salad, roasted salmon, seared filet mignon, and a Valentine’s dessert plate; $75 per person. Seatings are available at 7pm or 7:30pm. BYO

Pairings: Palette + Plate
10 Walnut Ave, Cranford
(908) 276-4026
Four-course dinner with such choices as viking village scallops, duck risotto, beef tenderloin, and navel orange mousse; $98 per person. BYO

Tablespoon Cafe
21 N. Union Ave, Cranford
(908) 276-1900
Four-course dinner featuring such choices as lobster bisque, escargots, and braised lamb shank; $65 per person. Reservations begin at 5pm. BYO

235 Elmer St., Westfield
(908) 232-3962

Four-course dinner plus complimentary nonalcoholic mimosas; $40 per person.
No, I didn’t forget A Toute Huere, but they are completely booked! Their sister restaurant 100 Steps has limited seating left, although no Valentine’s specials. For more information visit: Many other restaurants in our area will be offering a la carte specials that night as well, so you almost can’t go wrong wherever you go! If you hear of any great specials, please SHARE!! 

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Le Petit Temptation? More Like GINORMOUS Temptation!! Cranford’s French Pastry Shop is Pure Heaven!

Le Petit Temptation

Over the past several years Downtown Cranford has become one of New Jersey’s premier gastronomical destinations, with its wide array of top-rated eateries. Adding to the mix is the recently opened Le Petit Temptation, a fabulous French pastry shop that is like no other in our area!

Before opening a brick-and-mortar location in Cranford, Le Petit Temptation was primarily a wholesale business with weekend participation in local farmers markets. According to owner and pastry chef extraordinaire Jessie Dardar: “The response from the local farmers markets was overwhelmingly positive, and through engaging with my customers, I realized that there was a demand for my products on a regular basis as the feedback indicated a great desire for something different.”

Le Petit TemptationJessie was originally scoping out Westfield as the location for his shop, but he said, “A friend who knew of my plans and is also a Cranford resident gave me the grand tour of the town and introduced me to several local business owners. I then had the great opportunity to meet the fantastic and supportive team at the Downtown Business & Economic Development Office and I was quickly convinced that Cranford was the place for me.” I truly love hearing how welcoming Cranford is to small-business owners!

You don’t need to go to Paris to taste authentic French pastries–having lived in and worked as a chef in France for 12 years, Jessie has brought the signature French style of pastry-making right to our little hamlet of Cranford.

Now, we all know there are several bakeries in the Cranford-Westfield area, but I promise you, Le Petit Temptation is delightfully different. According to Jessie: “Our concept is to change the perception in the way dessert should be prepared. There is no valid argument why a dessert has to be large, sugary or even heavy, more often is the case that those are considered three no- no’s in one single serving. Moreover, this combination is not really enjoyable because it leaves us feeling weighed down and then the sugar kicks in.”

Jessie went on, “A dessert is meant to be a special ending of some sort, whether it is the finish to a meal or shared with family or friends. Desserts should awaken our senses and fill us with emotions; they should always be light, fresh and most importantly not overly sugary. That’s what we trying to accomplish with our pastries. We don’t have a set menu. We do things in small batches and when we run out . . . it is out.” 

Jessie is known for his stellar macarons. If you haven’t tried these cookies yet, I demand you give them a try. Made from almond meal and egg whites, macarons are a classic French meringue sandwich cookie with a unique texture and taste, and limitless flavor combinations. I can’t get enough of ’em! Besides the macarons, Jessie said that his desserts featuring coconut have been bestsellers, along with his mango/passion fruit tart.

The cafe will soon be offering much more than desserts. Gourmet coffee will be on the menu, and Jessie said, “We are going to start doing light lunches, vegetarian salads, and quiches. Sometime in August, we are going to start featuring pop-up dinners two or three times a month, which will be a set menu consisting of five to seven dishes, and it will be whatever inspires me. Since our place is rather small with only 10 to 12 chairs, reservations will be a must.”

Le Petit Temptation offers catering services as well, so if you want to knock the socks off your guests at your next fête, give them a call: (201) 377-5919.

You can find Le Petit Temptation in the space formerly occupied by Artemisia, at 19 Eastman Street in Cranford. Hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 9 am to 9 pm, but follow them on Facebook for updates on their hours once the coffee equipment is up and running!

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The Transformation of Cranford’s Rockn’ Joe’s Coffee Shop!

A favorite local coffee shop is getting a makeover from top to bottom, inside and out! The former Rockn’ Joe Cranford is evolving into a coffeehouse with a brand new name, a cool new look, and some awesome new java. 

Rockn' JoeCranford’s Rockn’ Joe was the flagship location of the Rockn’ Joe franchise, founded by Kevin Brennan. Two years ago, Kevin sold the franchise and has slowly phased out of the business in order to become an independent coffee shop. The iconic rock-and-roll music paraphernalia that used to line the walls of Rockn’ Joe is all gone now. Over the next few months, the space will be transformed and won’t look a thing like its predecessor. 

Kevin said, “The renovations hopefully should be complete in July. It’s going to be amazing, very Brooklyn-esque with an industrial vibe. We’re more than tripling the space from 18 seats to 60 seats.” Sounds like a fabulous addition to Downtown Cranford, right?!

Currently the business is operating under the temporary name Coffee Works. But Kevin says that is NOT the final name–stay tuned for the real name once all the legal elements are in place. 

I asked Kevin why he decided to sell Rockn’ Joe and start anew. He replied, “My whole purpose is to be more coffee-focused, to sell an excellent coffee first and foremost.” That’s good news for us coffee lovers! And according to Kevin, the expansion will allow him to offer coffee drinks that Rockn’ Joe was never able to make before in the limited space, like Nitro Cold Brew coffee, an iced coffee that comes out of a beer-like tap, frothy and smooth (yum).  

Rockn' Joe

You’ll still see the same friendly faces from the Rockn’ Joe staff who’ve come to know your name. And “Coffee Works” is open during renovation–they have not missed a beat, no pun intended–so you can keep getting those lovely lattes and sweet treats until Kevin’s dream coffeehouse is complete. 

Stay tuned for photos of the completed interior and the unveiling of their new menu! 

“Coffee Works” is located at 5 Eastman Street in Cranford. Remember to utilize the free 10-minute parking selection at the parking meters when you get your coffee!

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Dinner In A Pinch In Cranford NJ Offers A New Twist On Takeout!

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“We are changing the way folks do takeout.” Can you guess which local eatery abides by that slogan? It’s Cranford’s Dinner in a Pinch, which cooks up hearty, homestyle meals like chicken pot pie and their bestselling meatloaf that are ready in about 30 minutes! And Dinner in a Pinch has now joined with the highly reputable Cake Artist Cafe, so you can get your savories and sweets from the same location!
Ligia DeJesus used to teach cake decorating classes at Sweet ’n Fancy Emporium in Cranford before opening Cake Artist Cafe next door in 2011. She can create a cake in virtually any theme you can dream up! I’ve seen (and tasted) one of her cakes that looked like a paint can pouring out rainbow paint. I can vouch that unlike some other highly decorated cakes out there, Ligia’s cakes always taste GREAT.


In 2014, the owners of Dinner in a Pinch (which is also right next door to Cake Artist Cafe) decided to sell their business. Ligia’s sister Maria jumped at the opportunity to cook traditional cuisine, and she took over Dinner in a Pinch. Lilia says, “This business is Maria’s baby! She has kept a lot of the same recipes that the previous owners used, but we are focused on fresher ingredients now.” Besides the comforting favorites that Dinner in a Pinch always had on the menu, Maria offers healthier choices such as fish and shrimp dishes. Every meal order comes with your choice of 2 sides, and they have a great kids’ menu as well.
And by the way, it ain’t just dinner! They have terrific LUNCH specials as well, such as butternut squash soup and empanadas. If you’re hosting a party during the holidays, don’t forget about the famous appetizer sampler from Dinner in a Pinch: 24 pieces of their most popular finger foods plus dipping sauces, which can be ready with as little as 2 hours’ notice.
Join the Dinner in a Pinch VIP Club and receive a FREE dessert or $5 off your next purchase of $30 or more—text PINCH to #51660 (see their Facebook page for more details:
cDinner in a Pinch offers convenient curbside pickup on South Union Ave. (please note this is a one-way street), and yes, they also DELIVER! To hear the latest specials or place an order with Dinner in a Pinch, call 908-272-5136.
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Cranford Business “” is More Than Just NUTS!!

nutsAre you nuts for nuts? Cashews, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, macadamias, pecans … everyone’s got a favorite. sells bulk varieties of nuts and so much more, and their business is based right out of our beloved Cranford!

Well before the age of the Internet, back in 1929, a determined 22-year-old named Sol Braverman–known to his family as Poppy Sol–started a business called The Newark Nut Company selling his fresh-roasted nuts and dried fruits on Mulberry Street in Newark. Sol built a reputation for the utmost quality of nuts, and his business survived near-bankruptcies, fires, and changing locations. Owing to the foresight of a third-generation Braverman, Jeffrey, the company launched a web presence back in 1999 and has grown into a world-renowned website and multi-million-dollar business since then.

If you drive by the factory on Moen Street in Cranford, you can smell the heavenly aroma of nuts roasting and corn popping. According to Jeffrey, they purchase nuts directly from growers and roast them the very same day they ship them to you, so the freshness is unbelievable and like nothing you could buy in the supermarket.

Jeffrey has been working with the business since he was just 7 years old and would help his grandfather run the cash register at their old Newark shop. After college and a brief stint on Wall Street, he was drawn back to the very business that his grandfather had started and his father Kenny had taken over. Thanks to Jeffrey and his team, is now one of the leading online suppliers of nuts in the world.

But is more than just nuts (in fact, that’s their slogan!). They sell 2,000 different products–can you believe it? Today’s health-conscious consumer will appreciate so many of their offerings, such as chia seeds, unsweetened coconut chips, nut butters, and gluten-free oats and flours, to name a few. You’ll also find coffees, teas, baking ingredients, jams, salts, beans, mushrooms. Many of their products are organic.

And let’s not forget folks with a sweet tooth– has a huge array of bulk chocolate and candy (you can even shop for candy by color, which is perfect if you’re coordinating favors, a candy buffet, etc.).

Make sure to check out their blog when you peruse the website; they post so many interesting and healthful recipes (vegan mint chocolate ice pops–hello!) and will turn you on to products and ingredients that you never knew you wanted (spirulina, anyone?).

Although there’s no shop in the Cranford warehouse, customers are welcome to pick up their orders on-site. Shipping is fast, too, and arrives in environmentally friendly packaging. So the next time you consider ordering a pound of more of nuts–or just about anything delicious!–make sure to visit First-time customers get to choose FOUR free gifts with any $25 order. (Yes, please!)

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Cranford NJ Community Farmer’s Market

What’s better than a lazy summer Sunday morning?  Adding a stroll through the Cranford Community Farmer’s Market!

11330005_870259049719511_4359428748600291009_nEvery Sunday from now through October, locals can take a walk through the parking lot of the train station on the South Avenue side, from 9:00 AM – 1:30 PM.  There is so much to see and enjoy!  The market is sponsored by the Cranford Community Connection organization, which also organized the hugely successful Winter Artisan Market held at the Community Center.

There is a huge variety of items from local farmers and vendors.  Of COURSE there’s farm fresh produce, but it certainly doesn’t end there! You can also find fresh eggs, cheeses, local honey, a wide assortment of nuts and dried fruits, locally made fresh pressed juices and organic specialties, pickles, olives and hummus, breads, fine oils and balsamics, fresh pastas and Italian specialties, Polish delicacies, and fresh baked pies.  Food vendors will also include El Lechon de Negron food truck, specializing in Puerto Rican pig roasts and cuisine,  Mozzerapas, offering their famous and delicious melted mozzarella on corn bread, and Lizzmonade, serving a variety of uniquely flavored soft drinks.

And each week you can find something new!  It’s one of the great joys of summer – fresh food items from the farm to you!  Stop by and stock up while summer is still in full swing!

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Favorite Ice Cream Shops in the Cranford Westfield Area of NJ

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! Here are some favorite local haunts for the cold, sweet treats that everyone craves on hot days. Whether you prefer old-fashioned churned ice cream, a blended creation, or frozen yogurt with extreme toppings, there’s surely a place in our area that will satisfy your cravings. What’s YOUR favorite spot to grab a frosty treat?

Frosty Freeze

1 North Ave, Garwood

Old-fashioned ice cream stand reminiscent of the kind you see at the Shore. Hard and soft ice cream, novelty ice cream bars, cakes, shakes, and more.

Couple of outdoor benches for seating; free parking.

Vanilla Bean Creamery

22 North Ave West, Cranford


Homemade artisan hard and soft ice creams (they vary by season–I adore the pumpkin-inspired flavors in the fall), frozen yogurt, blended creations, frozen drinks, custom cakes, and more. Newest flavors: coffee chip fro yo, red raspberry sorbet, and strawberry soft serve.

Plenty of indoor seating and some outdoor tables; metered parking.

Dairy Queen

337 North Ave East, Cranford


Home of the original Blizzard (“brownie batter” flavor is back!), soft serve, sundaes, shakes and a full menu of lunch and dinner fast food. No indoor seating, couple of benches outside and free parking.

Sweetie Frozen Yogurt

109 N. Union Ave, Cranford


Self-serve frozen yogurt in 12 flavors with 35 toppings to choose from, smoothies, shakes, and more.

Indoor seating, metered parking.


1463 Raritan Road, Clark


Home of the beloved Reese’s Pieces Sundae and other irresistible trademarked sundaes, plus Fribble shakes, hard and soft ice creams, and a full menu of breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Fusion Yogurt Lounge

1085 Raritan Rd, Clark


Self-serve frozen yogurt with tons of toppings, smoothies, gourmet coffee.

Indoor seating and free parking (in the Clarkton Shopping Center).

Creme Berree

506 North Ave, Garwood


Frozen yogurt (with unique seasonal flavors such as honeydew, green tea, watermelon, and red velvet); yogurt pops dipped in toppings, and their trademarked “shooties”: 4 mini cups of different-flavored yogurt topped with 4 different toppings and drizzle. Indoor and outdoor seating with free parking in the back.

Uncle Louie G

57 Elm St, Westfield


Signature Italian ices in dozens of flavors (unique ones too: cappuccino breeze, cantaloupe balls, rainbow cookie, root beer mug, etc.), plus soft-serve ice cream, frozen yogurt, shakes, and cakes.

A few indoor seats, metered street parking.

Let’s Yo

121 East Broad St, Westfield

Self-serve frozen yogurt with oodles of toppings, unique sundaes, and smoothies.

Wednesdays are “No-Weigh Wednesdays” where you fill a cup for just 5 bucks!

Lots of indoor seating with iPads for the kids. Metered street parking (and metered lot in back with another entrance into the shop).

Bohemian Raspberry

219 South Ave East, Westfield

Self-serve frozen yogurt with every topping imaginable, plus shakes, juices, and a full gourmet coffee bar with cappuccino and other hot drinks. They even have almond and soy milks for dairy-free folks.

Indoor and outdoor seating, free parking.


116 Elm St., Westfield


Self-serve frozen yogurt and toppings in a bright and cheery atmosphere.

Indoor seating, metered parking.

Chocolate Bar

112 Quimby St, Westfield


Authentic Italian gelato in a wide array of flavors (the stracciatella is amazing), plus gourmet chocolate, full coffee bar, shakes, and more. Good luck not gaining 10 pounds while you’re there!

Indoor seating, metered parking.

Cold Stone Creamery

163 East Broad St, Westfield


Handmade ice cream and frozen yogurt that is mixed with toppings on a chilled marble countertop while you wait. Try their trademarked “Red Velvet Dream”!

Indoor seating, metered parking.

Scoops: The Ice Creamery

2014 Route 22 East, Scotch Plains


Old-fashioned handmade hard ice cream in great flavors that change daily, soft-serve, frozen yogurt, shakes, cakes, and more.

Plenty of indoor and outdoor seating (there’s a porch and a great hidden patio on the side of the shop), free parking.

Double Dipper Cafe

38A South Martine Ave, Fanwood


Hard and soft ice creams in lots of flavors (vanilla cashew caramel chip, anyone?), shakes, custom cakes, and a full menu of lunch and dinner foods and coffees. They even deliver now!

Indoor seating and free street parking.

Ralph’s Famous Italian Ices & Ice Cream

700 Boulevard, Kenilworth


New-York style Italian ice in two different styles: water ice, and creme ice (aka sherbet). Countless flavors, including ones you won’t find elsewhere (black cherry cheesecake, strawberry margarita, etc.); plus incredible signature blended drinks like the Ralphaccino and the Cake Shake; soft and hard ice cream; sundaes; and more.

Free parking.

Boathouse Snack Bar

Echo Lake Park, Mountainside

There’s just a small variety of novelty ice creams (and some snack foods) at this humble snack bar at the paddle boats, but you sure can’t beat the view of gorgeous Echo Lake! Plenty of benches and grass for picnicking.

Free parking.

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Back to Nature offers Health Foods and Natural Products in Cranford NJ

Back To Nature

Back to NatureWe are a few weeks into the New Year….Ready to tackle that new year’s resolution about healthier living?  Then you’d better stock up on some necessary items!  And there’s no better place to do so than right here in town, at the long-standing business of Back To Nature, located at 13 Walnut Avenue.

In business since 1979, Back to Nature has been providing customers with a complete range of Health Foods and Natural Products. They carry a full line of natural vitamins, herbs, spices, nuts, dried fruits, organic products, gluten free products, soy milks, teas, pasta and sauces, homeopathic remedies, body building supplements, and protein bars, among other things.  It’s a full grocery store of health items!

And since it does little good to shelf health items without any knowledge to go with them, feel free to ask questions to the helpful staff.  They will be happy to address any questions or concerns you might have, and are incredibly knowledgable about the products they sell.  And if you don’t see what you are looking for, they will be more than happy to order it for you.

Kind of takes away any excuses, doesn’t it?  Good luck with that resolution!

13 Walnut Ave
Cranford, New Jersey
(908) 276-4270
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Juice Cleanse at Fresh Press Juice Company in Downtown Cranford

IMG_4112OK, for all of you who plan to start out the new year and the new you with a bodily cleanse, I’ve got just the thing for you.  And it doesn’t involve anything weird, or hard to obtain,  like the sap extracted from a rare tree found only in BoraBora.  In fact, it’s already made for you, and easy to obtain from a local business.  And, what’s more, it tastes GOOD!

IMG_4113A cleanse can actually be a great way to jump start a diet or new eating plan.  It gives our digestive system a chance to clean out and prepare for the RIGHT foods, after we’ve abused it with all of the wrong things, especially over the holidays.  So the new year is a great time to set forth on your resolution to healthier eating.

Lauren and Deven, owners and proprietors of The Fresh Press Juice Company at 105 South Avenue East in Cranford, are no strangers to the clean eating lifestyle.  Both grew up in the farmlands of NJ, and were raised on a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables.  Since opening the business together last year, they hope to introduce this healthy lifestyle to their customers.

They suggest preparing for the cleanse by eliminating all processed foods from your diet.  ( A good practice, anyway.)  They also point out that you should actually refrain from exercise while doing a cleanse, because it can be tiring to the body.  It is also helpful to embark upon the cleanse with a friend or loved one, to offer each other motivation and support.

There are a few different cleanse options available at Fresh Press.  The “Fresh Start” cleanse is perfect for the beginner who is new to cleansing, and it is accompanied by meals of fresh vegetables and fruits.  If you’re more of a cleanse expert, and are looking for a deeper cleanse, then the “Full Press” option may be more your style.  Whichever you choose, a 72 hour advance notice is required for your cleanse juice to be ready, since everything is made fresh an ready to order.

IIMG_4114f you’re not sure which option is best for you, or if you have questions, or if you want to taste test some juices, simply visit the store, and they will be more than happy to help you out.  You can also visit the website, which is actually chock-full of useful information about juicing, at .

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Emma’s Brick Oven in Cranford NJ…. YUMMY!!

Emma’s Brick Oven Pizza

Emma's Brick OvenIn business in Cranford for just over a decade, Emma’s is one of those places that has gained its clientele via word of mouth.  Customers actually come from out of town to enjoy the authentic brick oven, thin crust pizza that the place has become known for.  More of a rice balls person?  You won’t be disappointed here.  In fact, everything on the menu, from the fried goat cheese salad, to the basil pesto cream squares, to the spinach and sun dried tomato gnocchi, to the maple bourbon glazed salmon, to the eggplant, veal, chicken, or shrimp parmigiana, is fantastic.I am also particularly fond of their rice balls…. they are out of this world!  Although there’s no doubt that the pizza is what gained Emma’s its greatest popularity. Thin crust, sweet sauce, and the freshest of cheeses makes their pizza a standout!

The restaurant does a great take-out business, but if you need a little warmth and coziness this winter season, stay and enjoy an in-house dinner.  The sight and smell of the brick oven will warm your heart, and the delicious food will warm the rest of you.  The BYOB restaurant is conveniently located right in the heart of downtown Cranford, at 101 North Union Avenue, so it’s the perfect place to go before or after a movie at the Cranford Theater.

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