Hoboken’s got plenty of great places to grab lunch, whether it’s a slice of pizza or a sandwich or something a bit more civilized and sit-down. But like everything else in this life, lunch costs—and everyone at some point in their lives decides to save a little money by brown-bagging lunch at work or school. Those dollars saved can add up fast, and the cost differential between making a sandwich at home and buying one every day is actually kind of startling.
Brown-bagging lunch takes a bit of discipline, of course. You have to buy the ingredients, then make time to actually assemble those ingredients (meaning that brown-bag lunch requires a bit of sweat equity), then actually remember to bring your lunch. And then it requires an iron will to ignore all your friends and co-workers as they head off to the House of Cue while you deal with a slightly soggy tuna sandwich.
Even if you overcome all of those obstacles, there’s the persistent question of where to eat your brown-bag lunch. Sitting at your desk is not only depressing, it’s unhealthy. Better to stand up and walk somewhere nice where you can enjoy your lunch with a bit of a view—or at least a bit of peace and quiet. Here then are some suggestions for great spots to eat your economically sensible sustenance.
The ideal for a brown-bag lunch, of course, is the free entertainment provided by the outdoors. This is especially true for those of us cooped up in an office all day, blinking under the fluorescent lights and breathing the crank air. Luckily, Hoboken offers plenty of spots where eating carrot sticks and sipping a soda is a very pleasant way to spend half an hour:
The River Walk. The most obvious spot is Pier A and the river walk. Plenty of benches, trees for shade, and a spectacular view of New York City. On sunny days this is hands-down the best place to grab a bite.
Castle Point Lookout. Want a better view? Hike on up Stevens Hill and grab a seat at the best view in town, Castle Point Lookout. Actually, anywhere on the Stevens campus is a nice spot for a quick lunch.
The Monroe Center. The outdoor area between the two buildings of the Monroe Center is a great spot for lunch, complete with ample seating and some attractive landscaping.
Shop RIte. Okay, okay—the little seating area at the end of the Shop Rite parking lot isn’t exactly scenic. But if you work in that area of Hoboken, it’s a quiet spot with tables and chairs, and thus a great place to grab your lunch and get some air.
Sitting out by the river is great during the warmer months, and when it’s not raining cats and dogs. What about when it’s too cold or too wet out to sit al fresco? There are some spots to consider:
Kings. The Kings grocery on Marine View Plaza has a small seating area off to one side. It’s bad form to just waltz in and unpack your brown-bag lunch, of course (though unlikely anyone would bother you), but if you buy your soda and/or chips there, it’s a dry, warm place to have your lunch.
Park Gazebos. If it’s raining but otherwise warm out, a nice spot for a brown-bag lunch are the many covered gazebos in Hoboken’s parks. Pro tip: Columbus Park is quieter than the other parks in town because the playground is off to one side instead of in the middle (seriously, walking through Church Square Park is like fighting your way through a horde of child zombies).
Brown-bagging your lunch may not be the most glamorous way to eat, but it’s usually the most economical. If you do decide to bring your own lunch, it’s up to you to make it as glamorous an experience as possible, which means choosing the right spot to eat.