March 26th marks the 6th Anniversary of Joanie’s Cafe, Cranford’s friendliest restaurant! I revisited this gem for a quick lunch and, as usual, ended up staying longer as it turned into the kind of leisurely lunch that you never want to end.
Owner Joanie Reilly has been a Cranford resident since she was sixteen, and her love of this town is evident the second you walk in: Cougar sports memorabilia brighten the walls alongside oodles of Irish knickknacks (a nod to Joanie’s ancestry). And right there on the menu it says anyone wearing Cougar sports apparel gets 10 percent off their bill! Local moms know the secret: Joanie’s is the most kid-friendly eatery around, with baskets of toys, coloring books, and crayons ready and waiting for little hands to enjoy, as well as goodbye lollipops for the sweet-tooths (bribe your kids to behave during the meal!).
As for the grub–it’s always hot off the grill, with hearty breakfasts served all day, sandwiches galore, and Joanie’s soon-to-be famous corned beef front and center. Cranford local Eric Rubinson swears by their breakfast burrito, calling it “the perfect combination of hearty, spicy, and cheesy” and recommends you ask for it “the old way,” with the salsa inside the wrap.
The atmosphere of Joanie’s keeps luring customers back as much as the food does. Joanie regularly whips out a bullhorn to tease the regulars and sing “Happy Birthday” in her signature raspy voice. That same bullhorn announces “Breakfast Bingo” every Sunday at 10 a.m., where patrons can play bingo for a chance to win their breakfast on the house. And speaking of freebies: kids who bring in honor-roll report cards get a FREE meal of their choosing. What a great way to encourage kids to hit the books!
Did you know that you can rent out Joanie’s for private parties? A friend of ours hosted her son’s first birthday party there and loved it! Joanie will let you bring in entertainment and decorations and make it a party no one will forget.
Joanie’s Cafe is located on the corner of North Union Ave. and Alden Street, open Tuesday through Sunday (closed Mondays) from 8 am to 2 pm and accepts CASH only.