Ah, Hoboken. If you were in the area 20-30 years ago, you know just how far our little town has come; there was a time when no one actually wanted to come to Hoboken, much less live here. Now, of course, Hoboken is usually the most expensive place to live around these parts (not counting New York City, of course). It’s a thriving city filled with people, restaurants, bars, and other attractions and we’re all lucky to live here.
Still, as Jersey City rises up to compete, increasingly folks are dissatisfied with the restaurant scene in Hoboken. We have plenty of sports bars, pizza joints, and Italian bistros, but there are definitely some blank spots—and yet whenever a new restaurant is opened, it’s invariably, you guessed it, a sports bar, an Italian-adjacent place, or something else we already have too many examples of. Part of that is just the market, of course—people are going to invest in whatever they think will be profitable. Part of it is The Dream, too; restaurants often require a great deal of passion, and if you’re going to work 18-hour days to make your dream come true you’re going to make the food you love.
Still, we can all agree there are some gaps in our food offerings in town, as well as a few cuisines that already exist, but might need an upgrade. Here are a few suggestions of what we here at HoLi would like to see pop up in town.
Cajun/Creole. There isn’t a single place left in town for decent Cajun cooking. We once had Oddfellows Rest, but it’s long gone and nothing has risen from those ashes aside from the occasional half-hearted menu special here and there. A true Cajun-style eatery would be a fantastic option.
Spanish. We have Lola’s uptown; while the reviews tend to be mixed we’ve always had a great time there. Still, Lola’s is tapas, and with the demise of Puerto Spain (and hey we love Urban Coal House but we didn’t need a new pizza spot) there’s definitely room for a more old-school Spanish restaurant in town.
Kosher Deli. The fact that Hoboken is so close to New York and doesn’t sport a single true Jewish deli is kind of a crime.
Portuguese. Piri Piri will always be remembered for being one of the places that stepped up in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, offering free food to residents in the dark week after the storm, but it couldn’t make it. Which is a shame, as a Portuguese dinner spot would really fill a void here.
Mongolian BBQ. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but a Mongolian BBQ-style restaurant would seem to be a perfect addition to Hoboken’s culinary scene.
Competition is always a good thing, so we would welcome additional southern barbecue, French, or German spots even though we have great restaurants in those categories already. If the town can support an infinite number of sports bars and burger spots, why not a second German restaurant? But first things first. Let’s fill the blanks before we worry about broadening horizons.