Jersey boys (and girls) know that the Garden State has a language all its own when it comes to discussing our home turf. But did you know that some folks from one region of New Jersey might have totally different experiences from other folks in different regions? It’s true! Ask your friends in Northern Jersey what a Sloppy Joe is, and then call someone from South Jersey and ask them how they make a pork roll. The answers will surprise you!

Enter the NJ Vocabulary series. Here at Best of NJ, we’re breaking down the most interesting topics that are exclusive to New Jersey and sharing them with readers far and wide. You don’t have to be from outside of NJ to enjoy the series, either; we’re willing to bet even lifelong natives won’t know about a few of these items. So sit back, relax, and be sure to check back often for new installments of NJ Vocabulary.

Featured NJ Vocabulary


WSOU

In 49 states, WSOU are letters. To New Jersey natives, it’s a culture. Music runs deep in New Jersey and a lot of it starts at WSOU. The radio station is responsible for breaking many now-mainstream hard rock and metal bands, and it’s all because of some undergrads at Seton Hall. The student-run radio station of Seton Hall University — dubbed “Pirate Radio” — dates back to 1948…

Disco Fries

There ain’t no party like the one that takes place in a diner at 2 am. In the mid-1990s, almost every table at a Garden State diner would be taken by partygoers who were fresh out of the club — and ready for some drunk munchies. And what they wanted were Disco Fries. If you want to talk Disco Fries, talk to the folks at the Summit Diner. The Summit is New Jersey’s oldest diner and dates back to 1929…

NJ Ripper

The Ripper

Philadelphia has the cheesesteak, Chicago has deep-dish pizza and Portland has whatever the hell kale is — but when it comes to regional cuisine, nothing is quite as unique and delicious as the Ripper at Rutt’s Hut in Clifton. Rutt’s Hut opened in 1928, and it didn’t take long for the eatery to become the preeminent hot dog joint in North Jersey…

NJ Tomato Pie

The Tomato Pie

It shouldn’t be any different, right? It’s the same three ingredients, simply arranged in a different order. But just as 123 isn’t the same as 312, changing the order changes everything. And there’s something delicious in the special way an authentic Trenton tomato pie is made — which is why it’s this week’s New Jersey vocabulary word…

NJ Pork Roll

The Pork Roll

It’s breakfast. It’s lunch. It’s dinner. It’s brunch. It’s a sandwich, a pizza topping, a side dish or a main course. If you’ve ever been in a New Jersey diner (and if you haven’t, you’re living wrong), you’ve seen pork roll on the menu and smelled the smoky aroma in the air. It can be found in restaurants and grocery stores across the tri-state region…

NJ Sloppy Joe

The Sloppy Joe

While some can argue that a New Jersey tomato pie is similar to a pizza, comparing a New Jersey Sloppy Joe to a Sloppy joe anywhere else is impossible. And there are still some New Jersey residents who aren’t aware of the difference. That’s why Sloppy Joe is our New Jersey Vocabulary word of the week…