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New Jersey Heroes: Restaurants Giving Back

Heroes come in all shapes in sizes, a fact the COVID-19 pandemic is bringing to light like never before. As New Jersey families shelter in place, frontline and essential workers risk their health for friends and neighbors. In order to celebrate the members of our community stepping up during this tough time, we’re starting a new series. We call it, simply, New Jersey Heroes.

In this first entry, we’re shining a light on the local restaurants giving back to their towns and local communities. These eateries are all going above and beyond during their own time of need in a number of ways; from donating and delivering meals to frontline workers, to facilitating donations from customers who also wish to give back. Keep reading to learn how you can nominate a hero for this series.

Quick Click Guide: Select an NJ Region below to find the restaurants giving back near you.
| North Jersey | Central Jersey | Jersey Shore | South Jersey |

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New Jersey Heroes: Restaurants Giving Back Edition

To get the ball rolling, I’ve put together a list of restaurants giving back of my own choosing. But moving forward, our readers will have the chance to see their heroes appear in this series. (Including updates to this ongoing article.) In fact, we need your help to find the stories no one else is sharing! Here’s how you can nominate your hero:

Post a message on your social media of choice. (if you would like to send it to us directly, you may comment on these Facebook | Instagram | Twitter posts). Start by picking a nurse, first responder, chef, entrepreneur, or just someone bringing joy into your life; then share a short story about your hero with us on social media (using the hashtag #MyHeroNJ) and we will select a number of them to appear in future New Jersey Heroes stories. If you would rather nominate a hero privately, please click here to email us and use the Subject Line: My New Jersey Hero.


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North Jersey Heroes: Restaurants Giving Back


Ani Ramen House

Where: Jersey City | Maplewood | Montclair
How They’re Helping: The Jersey City, Montclair, and Maplewood locations are hosting restaurants part of The Montclair Hospitality Group. This “Be Awesome Feed Somebody” initiative lets patrons add a little extra to their tab to cover a meal donation. (On the restaurant’s end, they currently price their takeout/delivery menus lower than normal). Participating restaurants giving back include Rock City Pizza Co; who are serving Detroit-style pizzas for $11-$13. (A $6 donation buys a free pizza pie for someone in need.) Meanwhile, Bang Bang Chicken offers rotisserie chicken for $15-$19 (for $8 more, you can buy someone a free meal).
More info: Visit their website.


Cassie’s Restaurant

Where: 18 South Dean St, Englewood
How They’re Helping: From Mon-Thurs each week, Cassie’s is donating 20% of their Curbside Pick Up sales. In particular, this will fund a weekly delivery to Englewood frontline workers. You can visit their Facebook page to keep track of all the smiles you help make by ordering from them.
More info: Visit their Facebook Page.


Frank Anthony’s

Where: 667 Bloomfield Ave, Verona
How They’re Helping: This gourmet Italian eatery is donating meals to nurses and ICU workers, among others. (For example, the brought bagged lunches to Overlook Medical Center and Saint Barnabas Medical Center.) This is possible thanks in large part to donations from customers through their “Feeding the Frontline” fundraiser.
More info: Visit their website.

Luna Wood Fire Tavern

Where: 223 Franklin Ave, Nutley
How They’re Helping: Luna Wood Fire Tavern donates meals to nurses and frontline workers. Case in point, they delivered 100 sandwiches to Clara Maass Medical Center. In addition, they offer an ongoing 50% off their regular menu to all first responders, doctors, and nurses. For everyone else, they have family specials at discount prices ($5 kids meals, 25% off catering menu) available online.
More info: Visit their website.


Mike’s Pasta & Sandwich Shoppe

Where: 95 Harrison St, Nutley
How They’re Helping: The team at Mike’s Pasta & Sandwich Shoppe wanted to make a gesture to give back. Their idea was to donate some sandwiches to first responders in Nutley and then to hospital workers at Clara Maass. But that idea is now a large scale donation program offering meals to a number of essential businesses; including family service bureaus, hospitals, local fire, police, and EMS responders, the Salvation Army, & more. Known as “Heros for Heroes,” the Shoppe is matching all donations made from donors during the COVID-19 crisis.
More info: Visit their website.


Victor Delapa of MoonShine Modern Supper Club (Nominated Anonymously!)

Where: 55 Main St, Millburn
How They’re Helping: When COVID-19 forced dine-in only restaurants to shut down, many were in a tough spot. Some, like MoonShine Modern Supper Club, now offer takeout/delivery options instead. But despite the dire straits this placed on owner Victor Delapa, he’s working harder than ever to support his community. With help from monetary donations and support from the FLAG of Millburn/Short Hills, he’s donating meals to frontline workers. Together with his chef, MoonShine has been delivering meals to hospitals as well as the Millburn fire/police departments. Recent deliveries include Overlook Hospital (Summit), Summit Medical Group Cancer Center (Florham Park), and the VA Hospital (East Orange).
More info: Visit their website.


Pizza Palace (Nominated by Readers!)

Where: 1169 Sussex Turnpike, Randolph
How They’re Helping: Pizza Palace is a staple of the Randolph community, open for nearly 50 years. As a pillar of the town, it’s no surprise they go above and beyond to serve those in need. As early as March 23, their team began offering ways for patrons to donate meals to frontline workers. Since then, Pizza Palace has donated to over 25 local hospitals, as well as fire/police departments & rehab centers. (Not to mention grocery stores and nursing homes.) They continue to team with local support groups to deliver meals to essential workers and those in need; in addition to offering a special menu for families looking for affordable dinner options during the COVID-19 crisis.
More info: Visit their Facebook Page.


Central Jersey Heroes: Restaurants Giving Back


Boxwood Coffee

Where: 17 Beechwood Rd, Summit
How They’re Helping: Donating coffee and pastries to frontline workers with help from customer donations and support from FLAG. (A local charity organization). For instance, they are already bringing drinks and treats to the Overlook Emergency Department.
More info: Visit their website.


Arielle Cassidy / The Juice House (Nominated by Readers!)

Where: 510 North Ave, Garwood
How They’re Helping: Arielle Cassidy is the founder and CEO of The Juice House. She helps organize the Garwood FLAG to coordinate food pantry deliveries. She is a frequent recipient of local awards, such as the Union County 2017 Women of Excellence; in addition to being honored by the Union County Daughters of Ireland for her community service. Arielle is currently donating acai bowls — a staple of The Juice House — as well as raising money for local businesses. This money is helping keep nearby restaurants afloat and their employees on staff, and also directly supports frontline workers.
More info: Visit their website.


Barry O’Donovan / The Kilkenny House (Nominated by Readers!)

Where: 112 South Avenue, Cranford
How They’re Helping: Barry O’Donovan is the owner of The Kilkenny House, but to his community, he’s so much more. Through his restaurant, Barry contributes to the Crandford FLAG group, but he’s also on the board of Cranford Family Care. (The former offers support to frontline workers, while the latter provides temporary emergency assistance to Cranford residents in need.) When he’s not fundraising through t-shirt sales to raise money for Cranford Family Care, he’s making birthday wishes come true. (See photo gallery.) From donating meals to spreading smiles, Barry and The Kilkenny House go above and beyond.
More info: Visit their website.

La Mezzaluna

Where: 25 Witherspoon St, Princeton
How They’re Helping: Restaurant owner Michael Moriello is originally from Italy, but lives in New Jersey. Despite the toll COVID-19 has taken on his business, his first response was to close the restaurant; not to cease operations, mind you, but instead to focus solely on cooking and providing meals to those in need. He and his staff are busy in the La Mezzaluna kitchen making meals for medical staff as well as families. But what’s even more amazing is these are full portion meals, as if for paying customers.
More info: Visit their website.


The Salad House

Where: Millburn | Morristown | Somerville | Westfield
How They’re Helping: So far they’ve delivered over 3,000 meals to frontline workers with help from customers. You can donate a meal from their website when you order online. They also coordinate meal deliveries with FLAG.
More info: Visit their website.


Unionville Vineyards

Where: 9 Rocktown Rd, Ringoes
How They’re Helping: Unionville Vineyards is donating all profits from sales of Dry Riesling during April and May. More specifically, the winery is buying lunches, care packages, PPE, and other items (by request) for the nurses and doctors tending to COVID-19 cases across the region. They sent their first care package to Robert Wood Johnson-Somerset by paying for takeout from Antimo’s Catering.
More info: Visit their website.


Jersey Shore Heroes: Restaurants Giving Back


The Bagel Nook

Where: 51 Village Center Drive, Freehold Township
How They’re Helping: The Bagel Nook is donating meals to nearby hospitals. For example, they send platters of food to both Bayshore Medical Center and Hackensack Meridian Jersey Shore University Medical Center. These platters include bagels (of course), Boars Head Cold Cuts, and fresh baked muffins; as well as boxes of their crazy donuts and crazy coffee flavors. Click here to learn more about The Bagel Nook.
More info: Visit their website.


The Clambake Wines

Where: Mantoloking
How They’re Helping: Mary McAuley owns a small company, Ripe Life Wines. Since most of her business comes from supplying restaurants with wines, the coronavirus pandemic hit her hard. But instead of letting the crisis get her down, she found a silver lining. Now, she offers free direct-to-consumer shipping of her wine label, The Clambake. For every case of wine purchased (12 bottles), she sends two complimentary bottles of wine to the customer’s health care worker of choice. In addition, you can send a 3-pack, 6-pack, or 12-pack to an active hospital employee; if you do, Ripe Life Wines will double the order. Click here for details.
More info: Visit the website.


Five Sisters Food Co (Nominated by Readers!)

Where: The Jackson area, Ocean County
How They’re Helping: Libby Miller and her five daughters operate one of The Best Food Trucks in New Jersey. With the COVID-19 crisis putting a stop to food truck festivals, the ladies have instead been helping their community. For example, the Five Sisters Food Truck brought free meals to Pinelands Regional High School during a community relief effort; this led to nearly 18,000 meals going to those in need within a week. In addition, Libby and her family are feeding frontline workers, from local fire and police departments to someone very special; the family’s local mechanic. Libby also helps raise funds for the Holbrook Little League in Jackson each week at the Holbrook Little League fields.
More info: Visit the website.

New Corner Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria (Nominated by Readers!)

Where: 22 East Front Street, Red Bank
How They’re Helping: The staff at New Corner recently put together a major meal donation for Riverview Medical Center. In total, they made, packaged, and delivered 700 meals — 500 lunches, 200 dinners — to nurses. (As a show of support during National Nurses Week.)
More info: Visit their website.


Roberto’s Dolce Vita

Where: 12907 Long Beach Blvd, Beach Haven
How They’re Helping: When it comes to restaurants giving back, Roberto’s Dolce Vita is keeping it simple (but effective). They are donating 10% of profits on Sundays for the month of May to LBI first responders.
More info: Visit their website.


Tuzzio’s Italian Cuisine (Nominated by Readers!)

Where: 224 Westwood Ave, Long Branch
How They’re Helping: Tuzzio’s is doubling down to show their support for both frontline workers and their local patrons. Since the shelter-in-place order began, they’ve been donating 60 meals per day between Monmouth Medical Center and Jersey Shore University Medical Center. Meanwhile, for patrons, they have a very generous Family Style special that feeds 4-6 people for $55. Though, if social media posts from fans are any indication, the portions are large enough to feed a small army.
More info: Visit their website.


South Jersey Heroes: Restaurants Giving Back


Fat Jack’s BBQ

Where: 1155 South Black Horse Pike, Williamstown
How They’re Helping: When the COVID-19 crisis began, Fat Jack’s BBQ did more than just keep their employees on staff; they also hired 3 additional, previously unemployed workers. During the lockdown, Fat Jack’s is donating meals to frontline and essential workers; of course this includes hospitals, but also some forgotten spots like hospital labs and essential retails shops. In addition, they have donated meals to the Monroe Township EMS team and police department. With meat costs rising, they are honest and transparent about the need to raise menu prices. Despite this, they still donate meals to families in need.
More info: Visit their website.

Lamp Post Diner (Nominated by Readers!)

Where: 1378 Little Gloucester Rd, Clementon
How They’re Helping: The Lamp Post Diner is known for being a community hub during normal times. Despite the COVID-19 outbreak, the sense of community is stronger than ever at this “hometown diner”. The Lamp Post is currently making and delivering meals to Camden County seniors in need. In addition to that, they are providing meals to local hospitals and testing sites; such as the Jefferson Stratford Hospital and the Camden County College testing center. For patrons, they also offer family specials for takeout or delivery, serving great portions at great prices.
More info: Visit their website.

The Monarch Diner (Nominated by Readers!)

Where: 500 Delsea Dr, Glassboro
How They’re Helping: When the COVID crisis began, the Monarch Diner made the tough call to shut down; at which point, they donated all of their perishable goods to local food pantries as well as other locals services. During this time, they continued selling gift cards to patrons, which could be used upon reopening at a later date. Monarch pledged to give 20% of the card amounts to current employees unable to work during the shutdown. Even after reopening on May 8, the diner still keeps this gift card practice in place to benefit employees. Currently, the Monarch continues to donate meals to frontline workers (such as the Glassboro PD) and families in need.
More info: Visit their website.


RiverPark Pub (Nominated by Readers!)

Where: 200 Jersey Ave, Gloucester City
How They’re Helping: It all started with a simple Facebook post on March 17; one encouraging senior citizens who are in need to give RiverPark Pub a call to deliver a free meal. Now, owner Michael Soll (with help from volunteers) continues to deliver free meals to seniors. At this point, they are serving over 50 free meals daily. RiverPark Pub also offers family specials and accepts donations to help offset the cost of their senior meal program. (Which they will continue to do until the crisis is over regardless of cost.) Both takeout and free delivery is available to the Gloucester City area.
More info: See the menu online.


Top (Hero) Photo: kuarmungadd / Adobe Stock
Other Photos (in Order) Courtesy:
Be Awesome Feed Somebody / Facebook
Cassie’s Restaurant (used with permission)
Frank Anthony’s / Instagram
Luna Wood Fire Tavern / Facebook
Mike’s Pasta & Sandwich Shoppe / Website
MoonShine Modern Supper Club / Instagram
Pizza Palace / Facebook
Boxwood Coffee / Facebook
The Juice House / Facebook
Mary Novick / Crandford NJ Area – Families Facebook Group (used with permission)
La Mezzaluna / Instagram
The Salad House / Instagram
Unionville Vineyards / Facebook
The Bagel Nook / Instagram
New Corner / Facebook
Monroe Township Emergency Medical Services BLS 29-9 / Facebook
Monarch Diner / Facebook
RiverPark Pub / Facebook

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