African restaurant in nj

African restaurant in nj DEFAULT

When it comes to food, those who aren't lucky enough to call New Jersey home think the Garden State is only good for a few things.

Pizza, bagels, and that beloved salty breakfast meat are our calling cards (and we would add top-notch Italian and fresher-than-fresh seafood, too). But beyond the Parmigiana and pork roll is a world of cuisines some might not expect.

Ethiopian, Ghanaian, Nigerian, Moroccan, Caribbean, Southern and soul food: These are the cuisines of the African diaspora. From the exotic – curried goat and spiced jollof rice – to the familiar – black-eyed peas and cornbread, the flavors and techniques were born an ocean away, committed to memory and kept safe until souls needed soothing in a harsh new place.

Four centuries after the first ship of enslaved Africans arrived in America, their native dishes have melted into this country's culinary identity. And here in New Jersey, these are the people and restaurants making it happen. 

A&H African & Jamaican Restaurant, Lindenwold

West Africa (Ghana); Jamaica

As its name tell us, this 11-year-old restaurant does both African dishes and Jamaican food.

The menu mentions meat pies, fried plantains, dumplings, curry shrimp, beef short ribs and much more. When asked about her African dishes – of which there are nearly 50  –owner Heritta Okora mentioned fufu, banku, acheke, wakye, and okra soup, which can be eaten with grilled fish, pepper and onion. 

An African dish featuring jollof rice, greens and cabbage at A&H African & Jamaican Restaurant in Lindenwold.

Fufu, which is made from plantains, yams or cassava and is comparable to pancakes or bread, is considered a side dish and normally served with soup, okra, vegetables, and goat, chicken, beef, shrimp or fish.

Acheke is made from shredded cassava and normally served with gravy, grilled fish or fish stew. Banku is fermented corn and cassava dough worked into a smooth paste and served with okra stew, soup or a pepper sauce. Wakye is rice and beans.

Jollof rice, an African dish that varies by country, is cooked in tomatoes, tomato paste with onions, spices, salt and chili peppers. Beans, carrots, fish, meats or cassava can be added.

Ada's Gojjo, Asbury Park

East Africa (Ethiopia)

Adanech Asghedom's restaurant is tethered to her native Ethiopia in every way, from the recipes she cooks to the spices in her kitchen, which come directly from Africa. "There are 16 kinds of Ethiopian spices, but the main (ones) are called berbere and Shiro," she said.

Shiro is made from dried and ground peas, lentils and chickpeas; berbere is a blend of chiles, garlic, fenugreek, allspice and cinnamon.

Injera, a spongy flatbread, is used as both a bread and a utensil in Ethiopia. Find it at Ada's Gojjo in Asbury Park.

But the dish that most connects to the heart of Ethiopian cuisine is injera, a spongy flatbread that serves as both a bread and a utensil for scooping ye siga tibs, or sauteed beef; doro wot, or chicken legs and thighs stewed in red pepper sauce; and kik alitcha, which are turmeric-spiced split yellow peas.

Injera is "the main thing, then each (item) on the plate has its own flavors," Asghedom said. At her restaurant, "everything is from scratch, Everything is fresh – fresh meat and the most natural, organic herbs from back home. They just grow in the backyard, nothing touches them."

  • Go: 1301 Memorial Drive, Asbury Park; 732-222-5005,
Aunt Berta’s Kitchen, Oaklyn

Southern food

Alberta Ferebee, or “Aunt Berta,” started off cooking for her church, then doing catering on the side. But she wanted her own restaurant where she could serve her delicious meals.

She was in a store and a man heard her say she wanted to open her own restaurant. He had extra space on the other side of his seafood restaurant in Oaklyn, and asked if she was interested. Aunt Berta’s Kitchen was born.

Aunt Berta's in Haddon Township

Joe Lamberti, Cherry Hill Courier-Post

“We’ve been there 22½ years,” said her daughter Estella Gale, a co-owner. “Two years after we shared space, we were able to buy him out, and Aunt Berta purchased the property and has been a staple of the community for over 22 years.”

They’ve done an award-winning mac and cheese, including one with a bacon and Cheez-It topping, award-winning bread pudding, and peach cobbler as well. Their No. 1 seller is their Jenna Cajun turkey wings, an original sauced baked wing named after Aunt Berta’s oldest grandchild.

Six years ago, they opened a second location in the Berlin Farmer’s Market. Earlier this year, they moved from there to a full-service restaurant in Lindenwold, the former location of another soul food spot, Sugarpuddins’.

Next, Aunt Berta's has plans to open a soul food drive-through restaurant in Delaware, Gale said. 

  • Go: 639 White Horse Pike, Oaklyn; 856-858-7009; 311 White Horse Pike, Lindenwold, 856-809-2880;
Casablanca, East Brunswick

North Africa (Morocco) 

The state doesn't have many Moroccan restaurants, but after a meal at Casablanca, you won't need to visit any others to get a taste of true Moroccan cuisine and culture. Owners Moussa Aitmoussa, a Moroccan native, and his wife, Catherine Aitmoussa, sought to create an authentic menu that reflects what visitors would find in the North African country. 

Chicken tajine at Casablanca in East Brunswick.

Surrounded by bold red, black and gold tones on stools, counters, arches and lights imported from Morocco, customers choose from a menu developed from family recipes and by Moroccan chefs. This includes tajine, a meat and vegetable stew that is cooked over hot coals in Moroccan clay vessels and includes flavors of lemon, olives and raisins among ginger, saffron, turmeric and cinnamon. 

READ: Moroccan cuisine arrives in Central Jersey with Casablanca in East Brunswick

The dish most reflective of Moroccan cuisine, Moussa Aitmoussa describes tajine as a full-flavored dish made with chicken, beef or lamb. However, don't mistake full flavor for spice that will have you headed for the water fountain. "There is this myth that Moroccan food is spicy, but it's actually more of a sweeter taste," Aitmoussa said. 

Chez Elody, Hillsborough


Caribbean natives Diane Henry and Jacques Ramone wanted to open a Haitian restaurant because they knew they weren't the only ones tired of traveling more than 30 minutes for island cuisine. In mid-July, they opened Chez Elody, named after the youngest of their three children.

A new Haitian restaurant Chez Elody has opened at 378 South Branch Road in Hillsborough. Co-owner Diane Henry is pictured with te Haitian flag.

Raised within the restaurant industry in her native Jamaica, Henry said their restaurant's signature dish is griot. She serves the secretly spiced fried pork with fried plantains. Another popular item is red snapper, which is also served with plantains, as well as friti, a fried yam dumpling spiced with scallions, onions and pepper. Ramone’s mother, who is Haitian, taught Henry how to transition to the other island spices.

READ: New Haitian restaurant in Hillsborough brings Caribbean food closer to home

“This always has been one of my dreams to open a restaurant,” she said. “My mom had one when I was younger. I watched how she used to work, and I used to help here. At one point, I thought of turning back, but seeing all the customers come – and the feedback they give – has been worthwhile. They tell me how good the food is all the time.”

Corinne’s Place, Camden

Southern food

Corinne Bradley-Powers has been in Camden all her life, and she likes itthat way.

She’s had her famous eatery at the same Haddon Avenue location for 31 years, and it’s not just the locals who know about it.

“Most of the people that come here are from out of town,” she said. “I had three girls come in from New York and I asked, 'What did y'all come here for?' They said 'We came here to eat, that’s what we came here for.' We’ve been truly blessed.

Corinne's Place in Camden

Joe Lamberti, Cherry Hill Courier-Post

“I was born right down the street in Cooper Hospital, went college in Camden, have a restaurant in Camden. People say why Camden. I say why not?”

Cooking was always a hobby for her; she got it from her mother, who she said was an excellent cook. Bradley-Powers went to school for social work but said had she known then that cooking would be her true calling, she would have studied culinary arts instead.

"But I think it’s a gift God has given me,” she said. 

Her Cajun turkey wings, fried chicken, vegetable medley, and greens are some of her most popular dishes, she said.

Bradley-Powers’ daughter, niece and grandchildren all work at the restaurant, and she has more than a dozen employees who turned into family.

“People come in, they like the warmness of the place,” she said. “I remember your name, basically remember what you eat.”

Jameson's Southern Cooking, Neptune

Southern food 

For nearly 30 years, Robert Jameson has been serving "a little bit of the South, up north" at his restaurants. First came Country Kitchen in Long Branch, then Jameson's Southern Cooking in Neptune.

A meal of fried chicken, ribs, macaroni and cheese, hush puppies, collard greens and a corn muffin at Jameson's Southern Cooking in Neptune.

He cooks collard greens, a dish that pays homage to enslaved Africans' practice of slow-cooking greens – often the leftovers from slaveholders' kitchens – and sipping the gravy. He makes hush puppies, deep-fried cornbread made popular in the South by Romeo Govan, who was born into slavery in the mid-1800s but became a respected cook known for his fish frys. And he cooks black-eyed peas, which are native to Africa and are said to have been fed to the enslaved during their journey across the Atlantic Ocean. 

But when asked for the dish that most represents his style of cooking, Jameson names "barbecue ribs, macaroni and cheese, and fried chicken with cornbread." This, he said, is "food that comes from the heart."

Kelsey’s, Atlantic City

Southern food

This popular supper club, which opened in 2012, is the third restaurant owned by Kelsey and Kim Jackson in South Jersey.

They're known forquality live entertainment, but the food is another big draws.

Their catfish nuggets, macaroni and cheese, and cornbread – which tastes like dessert – are among diners' favorite items, and the black-eyed peas, fried turkey chops, pork chops, chicken and waffles, fried chicken, whiting, catfish, shrimp and grits, and pan- seared jumbo lump crab cakes keep customers coming back.

The pan-seared lump crab cakes draw people in at Kelsey's in Atlantic City.  Shown here with cabbage and macaroni and cheese, two other show stoppers. The supper club brings in national and local music acts as well.

The pair's other restaurants are Kelsey & Kim’s Soul Food in Pleasantville and Kelsey & Kim’s Southern Café in Atlantic City

Pleasantville native Kelsey Jackson is the chef, and he started his career as a dishwasher and busboy at various restaurants before becoming an apprentice cook. He attended Atlantic Cape Community College’s culinary program.

There’s a down-home feeling to the restaurant, even though it’s in the heart of Atlantic City with towering casinos within view, and live musical guests range from celebrity artists to local talent who focus on jazz, blues and R&B.

  • GO: 1545 Pacific Ave., Atlantic City; 609-344-2200,
Michelle's Kitchen and Catering Service, Vineland


Michelle McDonald came to the United States from Jamaica in 1990. She opened her Vineland restaurant about six years ago and has done well.

“Most of my dishes are popular,” she said. “The oxtail, goat, jerk chicken; we have the curry goat, the curry shrimp, Cajun shrimp, fish. I mean, everything is popular because I basically sold out every day. We’re open until 5 now because of this pandemic. Before 5, we’re mostly out of everything.”

Oxtails, plantains, rice and beans, and cabbage are shown at Michelle's Kitchen and Catering Service in Vineland.

She doesn’t serve too much spicy food because she knows not everyone can handle it.

“I don’t do too much of a spice unless they ask me for it,” she said. “I have the spice if its not spicy enough. I have spice that I make in the back."

She learned to cook from her grandmother and mom growing up in Kingston and later attended school for nursing, butshe ultimately turned to cooking, which she calls her passion.

“I started from the age of probably 8 when I was in Jamaica,” she said. “My grandmom put me on a stool and told me, 'you’ve got to start learning to cook.' From there, I started learning how to cook.”

Ms. SweeTea’s Comfort Food Café and Southern Bakery, Pine Hill

Southern food

Chef and owner Telisha Rhem seemingly does it all in the kitchen.

Her chicken and red velvet waffles, slamming seafood rolls, and bourbon-glazed salmon have people coming back for more. The sweet potato cheesecake and bread pudding are favorites on her dessert menu, and there's also molten lava chocolate cake, called Stairway to Heaven.

Ms. Sweetea's Comfort Food Cafe and Bakery in Pine Hill is known for its chicken and red velvet waffles, among other foods.

“I am a native of New York,” said Rhem, who has been in business about five years. “My father was from Shallotte, North Carolina, and my mother is from Harlem, New York. My dishes are a fusion of both their influences.”

She plans on adding an outdoor dining area at SweeTea’s, and since the start of the pandemic, she turned a food trailer into a juice truck called Josiah’s Joyful Juice, named after her 9-year-old son. From there, she sells juice, fresh fruit smoothies, salads and housemade sugar-free desserts.

Olaide's Kitchen, Parlin

West Africa

Abigail Tella, general manager of Olaide's Kitchen, was born and raised in Nigeria until she moved to the United States with her family — including Olaide Tella, her mother and owner and executive chef of Olaide's Kitchen — more than 20 years ago. 

Jollof rice from Olaide's Kitchen, Parlin.

But she still remembers that when you see a big pot of jollof rice, you know there's going to be a party. At two-and-a-half-year-old Olaide's Kitchen, you can get jollof rice either Nigerian-style, in which long-grain rice is cooked in a zesty tomato sauce with spices and herbs, or Ghanaian-style, which uses jasmine rice.

"It has that smoky taste that everyone just loves. You question the authenticity if it doesn't have that," laughed Tella. "It has a mild flavor, depending on the spice. Everyone makes it differently, but for me it always triggers that nostalgia of growing up in Nigeria."

Rochester’s Barbecue & Grill, Lawnside

Southern food

Siblings Vincent, Vernon and Valarie Rochester are Lawnside natives and run the restaurant. Their father, Vincent A. Rochester Sr., is the owner. He and their mother, Ernestine, who died four years ago, opened the restaurant in 2013.

Fried fish, shrimp, crab cakes, greens and more are shown at Rochester's Barbecue & Grill in Lawnside.

Vincent II is the executive chef and says their food speaks for itself.

“Our pork and beef ribs are out of this world,” he says. “We sell more whiting as a general platter than pork ribs and beef ribs. We sell a ton of fish, catfish. Our crab cakes will stand up to anyone’s. We’re that spot that when you eat our food, you think you’re at somebody’s grandmom’s house. We make the potato salad that everybody will eat at the barbecue.”

He said they feature Aunt Ismay’s coleslaw, named after an aunt who was also a great cook.

And in a break from tradition, vegetables and greens aren't cooked with meat.

“There’s no meat, there’s no smoked turkey, no pork,” he said. “Our collard greens, cabbage and string beans are vegan. We wanted even vegetarians to know that we were trying to cater to their palate. …Food is love.”

Simply Jerk, South Brunswick


With mom Eleith White cooking up Jamaican eats, dad Newell White grilling and preparing vegetarian dishes, and son Rahsheid White managing marketing and business development, Simply Jerk in South Brunswick is a true family operation. And an authentic Jamaican one at that — Newelland Eleith moved from Jamaica about 40 years ago. 

Jerk chicken at Simply Jerk in South Brunswick.

Their dish most reflective of Jamaican cuisine, Rahsheid said, is "undeniably" their jerk chicken, seasoned and marinated in garlic, pimentos and thyme before being grilled slowly over a low flame until golden brown. 

READ: Simply Jerk is returning to South Brunswick with juice bar, vegan options

"It's rich, smooth and flavorful with a hint of Scotch bonnet pepper," Rahsheid said. "We've continued to provide the most authentic Jamaican cuisine for the past three decades by maintaining the tradition with the method and spices we've been using for generations." 

Simply Southern, Belmar

Southern food

Five years ago, a former NFL player and his mom opened a restaurant, serving the food they grew up on: slow-cooked oxtails, smothered chicken in onion gravy, golden sweet potato hush puppies.

The dishes at Rasheed and Rita Simmons' Belmar restaurant, Simply Southern, are anchored in the food of the South – specifically Georgia, the Carolinas and Florida – and Rita cooks the way her grandmother taught her when she was a girl.

"As much as it's tough, there's nothing else I'd rather be doing," Simmons said shortly after opening Simply Southern in 2015. "I've played sports. I've worked for corporate America. I've traveled around the world. And there's no other place I'd rather be (than) right here in New Jersey, with my mother, doing this restaurant."

Rita favors the oxtails, which are cooked for six hours in a rich gravy, and makes sweet tea with cane syrup (try her peach mango flavor). For dessert, there's banana pudding and apple cobbler.

Taste of SOUL, Burlington City

Southern food

Fresh macaroni and cheese is prepared at Taste of SOUL, a restaurant on High Street in Burlington City. Nancy Miller, who owned Ms. Nancy's Place in Merchantville, is the owner and chef.

Nancy Miller, the owner and chef, had Ms. Nancy’s Place in Merchantville for years.

She closed that location due to problems with the building and opened Taste of SOUL on a main strip in Burlington City in January of 2019.

The Philadelphia native and Pennsauken resident’s chicken and sweet potato waffles are a hit, so are her crab cakes, fried shrimp, fried chicken, fish, macaroni and cheese, corn bread, cabbage and more.

The former nutritionist prides herself in producing a more “healthy” soul food.

Miller uses agave nectar for sweetener instead of sugar, while a special spice blend is used for flavoring instead of butter or salt. Grapeseed oil is used in the fryers, and she doesn’t use pork products.

Nancy Miller, chef and owner of Taste of SOUL in Burlington City, N.J., prepares a chicken and sweet potato waffle dish. She's adding the French vanilla cream to the popular dish.

Miller also held many other activities going on prior to the pandemic hitting, including poetry slams, anmusical and comedy events. She is beginning to host those events again, in a scaled-down fashion.

“I was community-based at Ms. Nancy’s and I’m trying to still be very community-based in Burlington, as well,” she said previously.

     • GO: 45 High Street in Burlington City, 609-531-2451;

Published Updated


African Food

For the best traditional African food in Somerset, NJ , come into 5 Loaves African Restaurant today! Our African restaurant specializes in African home cooked meals and we use only the best ingredients and recipes for all of our dishes, serving our customers quality that they can taste in every single bite.

We proudly serve a number of traditional West African foods including pepper soup, fried goat, turkey tails, and more! Our quality is evident in the freshness of our ingredients and the hard-working culinary efforts of our kitchen, which you are sure to notice right when you take the first bite.

5 Loaves African Restaurant offers the option of dining in or eating at home with our African takeout and services, as well as African catering services so that you can amaze your guests at your next event. We would love for the opportunity to show you the love and hard work we put into our African cuisines, so please visit us a 5 Loaves African Restaurant today!

Click Here to View Our Menu

Currently Hiring For All Positions
To Apply Please Email [email protected]

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Enjoy the foods of the African diaspora. Here are some North Jersey restaurants where you can dig into jerk chicken, jollof rice, doro wot, lamb tagine and more eats you'd find in Africa, the Caribbean and the American South.


Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant, Montclair. Get the heady spongy sourdough bread that is not only delicious but your implement for scooping the food at this BYOB. "We have everything," said server Betty Alemseded. Closed Monday. 515 Bloomfield Ave., Montclair; 973-655-9000.

Walia Ethiopian Restaurant, South Orange.  Dig into Ethiopian steak tartar,  split lentil stew seasoned in berbere sauce, shrimp and salmon tibs. 11 Village Plaza, South Orange; 973-762-2186


Marakesh, Parsippany Feel transported to some casba in this "reproduced palace" with authentic carvings, tiles, arts and crafts from the Arab world. As for food, the No. 1 bestseller is of course tagine — lamb, chicken or fish. There's even a vegetarian tagine. BYOB. 321 Route 46 East, Parsippany; 973-808-0062,


Abuja International, Union The restaurant says it serves authentic food from the entire continent. Full bar.

1784 Burnet Ave, Union; 973-821-4212;

Fatu's Kitchen. Liberian eats. 449 William St., East Orange, 973-419-0406

Garden City, Union  Serves West African dishes including goat stew and baked tilapia in charming, down-to-earth surrounds. Open Monday through Saturday. 985B Stuyvesant Ave, Union 908-686-7392. 

Lagos Spot, Newark. Love jollof rice? This 7-year-old Nigerian restaurant serves lots of it. 266 Mulberry St., Newark; 862-902-6992.  

Odabro African Restaurant and Lounge, Orange. Specializes in the foods of Nigeria. Bestselling dish: one-pot jollof rice and fish platter. Full bar. 132 South Essex Ave, Orange; 973-676-4100;

Mama Abuja Sweet Fingers, Newark. Primarily Nigerian eats. 391 Fairmount Ave, Newark, 973-351-4959

Zoodo African and American Restaurant, Newark. Specializes in the foods of land-locked Burkina Faso. 55 William St., Newark; 973-424-9996.


Eatwell African Cuisine, Irvington. Meat pie, jollof rice, dodo, and so on. 36 Union Ave., Irvington; 973-351-5160.      

Freetown Kitchen, Maplewood Lunch through dinner. Closed Tuesday. 1844 Springfield Ave., Maplewood; 973-327-2295,


Sandi's Soul Bites. Powerball winner Sandra McNeil Rogers, a mom of five, is the chef and owner of this darling, homey spot offering down-home Southern foods. "Soulbites" include such classics as hush puppies, salmon croquettes and dumplings. As for dessert, it's difficult to pass up a slice of peach cobbler.  82 Speedwell Ave., Morristown; 862-242-8088,  

Caribbean Delicacies, Carlstadt No preservatives and no deep-frying used at this Caribbean restaurant — and the chickens are hormone-free. The restaurant also offers monthly meal plans — for singles, couples and families of three or four. 711 Route 17, Carlstadt; 201-355-8611,

Cafe Mobay, Bloomfield Live music and Jamaican eats at what the owners claim is "Montego Bay" in Jersey. 1039 Broad St., Bloomfield; 973-337-8460,

Eric’s Jamaican Cuisine, Boonton. Said one Yelper: "Came here starving, and left satisfied. Eric's Jamaican Cuisine is an authentic, little gem on the main street of Boonton." 309 Main St., Boonton; 973-334-0102,

Jamaican Delight Restaurant. Bergenfield. Two words: jerk chicken. Two more: curry goat. Get it at this laid-back Caribbean spot on Washington Ave. 463 S. Washington Ave., Bergenfield; 201-385-2706. 

Sarrah's Cafe Trimbago, Orange. Breakfast is served all day at this Caribbean restaurant. Special dishes include jerk chicken rings,  baked salted fish and smoked herring. Open every day. 454 Central Ave, City of Orange; 862-444-0732, 

People's Choice Restaurant, East Orange. Family-style, fast-food Jamaican restaurant.63 Central Ave., East Orange; 973-674-8260,

Lili's Caribbean Cuisine, Englewood Jamaican-American restaurant. 227 W Englewood Ave., Englewood;  201-408-5127, visit their Facebook page.

Photo of Marva Layne, co-owner,  at Jerk D'Modern Caribbean Kitchen in Hackensack on 09/08/20.

Jerk'd Modern Caribbean Kitchen, Hackensack. Restaurateur Marva Layne founded this casual spot where Jamaican flavors can be detected in bowls, pastas, sandwiches and more. 363 Essex St., Hackensack; 973-826-9232, 

Harry's Daughter, Jersey City A Caribbean inspired gastropub in the Bergen-Lafayette neighborhood focusing on both traditional and contemporary tastes. There's a big bar too. 339 Communipaw Ave No. 4072, Jersey City; 201-433-2471,

Freetown Road Project, Jersey City The first restaurant of chef Claude Lewis, the former executive chef of JC's Italian restaurant Porta, showcases the foods of his parents' native home, the Caribbean island of Antigua. Lewis, a Food Network "Chopped" winner, is known for his oxtail with rice and beans dish. 640 Newark Ave., Jersey City; 201-653-6533,

14 Parish Caribbean Kitchen. Homestyle Caribbean cooking. 98 Anderson St., Hackensack; 201-488-2800, 14 

Saveur Creole

Saveur Creole, Montclair. Haitian restaurant cooking up classic Creole dishes including gumbo and jambalaya. Also on the menu: Haitian caviar and shrimp & crab etouffée. 131 Grove St., Montclair; 973-744-3506,

Soul Food

Cornbread, Maplewood. Its motto: farm to soul. Its specialty: cornbread. But there's more soul food to be had: fried chicken, fried catfish, ribs and more.  1565 Springfield Ave., Maplewood; 973-313-0328,

Limin's Cafe Caribe, East Orange Limin is a verb that refers to the "art of doing nothing," a skill that Trinidadians have perfected. Doing nothing, having fun and enjoying good eats. 5 Winans St., East Orange;  973-674-2992,

The Juke Joint Soul House, Bloomfield Soul food is served in this colorful lunch and dinner spot that offers a "signature" bean pie and senior discounts. 9 1st Ave, Bloomfield; 973-429-1500, Visit their Facebook page. 

Sandi's Soul Bites. Powerball winner Sandra McNeil Rogers, a mom of five, is the chef and owner of this darling, homey spot offering down-home Southern foods. "Soulbites" include such classics as hush puppies, salmon croquettes and dumplings. As for dessert, it's difficult to pass up a slice of peach cobbler.  82 Speedwell Ave., Morristown; 862-242-8088,  

Tastey's Gail's Southern Style Soul Food. The chef/owner was the "Master Chef" of now defunct John's Place.275 Sanford St., East Orange; 862-520-1242, Visit their Facebook page. 

Lite & Soul Eatery. Soul food. The restaurant's tagline: Where healthy meets soul. 64 4th Ave., East Orange; 862-704-6188,   

Esther Davidowitz is the food editor for Email: [email protected] Twitter: @estherdavido


Published Updated


Restaurants around New Jersey are coming together this week in celebration of African cuisine, and capping it all off with a giant food festival in Newark.

The first-ever New Jersey African Restaurant Week runs now through Sunday with 23 different eateries taking part, some with special menus and deals, stretching as far north as Hackensack all the way down to Trenton. The end of the week will be celebrated with a festival outdoors at Bisrate Gebriel Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in Newark, taking place Saturday and Sunday from noon to 7 p.m. and feature vendors selling food, art, clothing and other goods as well as musical performances.

“It becomes a community affair, for people to get to come and experience foods they might not have tried before,” African Restaurant Week CEO Akin Akinsanya said. “And get to know all the people on the culture.”

Jollof and Grill, Burkindi Restaurant, Mimi African Restaurant, 9ja Buka, Afro Oasis Restaurant, Mama G African Restaurant, Afro Taco, Vonda’s Kitchen, Lagos Spot Nigerian Restaurant — all in Newark — are all taking part in the restaurant week.

Simply Southern Comfort Food in Belmar, Aso Rock in East Orange, JERK’D in Hackensack, The Grind Shop in Jersey City, HLS Juice Bar and Grill in Maplewood, Sweet T’s Southern Eatery and Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant in Montclair, Olaide’s Kitchen in Parlin, Asanka Delight African Cuisine in Somerset, Abuja International Nigerian Restaurant and Taste of Flava in Union and Neguess Creole Restaurant in Vauxhall are participating as well.

Many different countries have their cuisines represented at the event, including Nigerian, Ethiopian, Guinean, Cameroonian and Ghanian food among others.

Tickets for admission are $15 for Saturday or Sunday individually, and $25 for both days and can be purchased here — food and goods are available for purchase at an additional cost at the event. Anyone that posts a picture at any of the participating restaurants and tags New Jersey Restaurant Week will receive a free ticket to the weekend festival.

The event began in New York back in 2013 and added a festival component in 2017, which inspired this weekend’s celebration.

“It started as a way to kind of promote the culture, the local businesses,” Akinsanya said. “Put more focus on the cuisine, you know, put it on the foodie map.”

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Jeremy Schneider may be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at @J_Schneider and on Instagram at @JeremyIsHungryAgain.


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