Looking Back, The Year That Was 2013

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When Boozy Burbs began, it was a more of a test. Of what COULD be in Bergen County, in North Jersey, in a place that wasn’t Manhattan, Brooklyn or even Hoboken (they can have their cronuts and ramen burgers). After some tweaking and fiddling, this year it evolved into what it was ultimately going to be about: discovery. Bergen County had much to celebrate, to explore and to experience.

Fort Lee alone had ten openings this year (Caffe Bene, Le Cou Cou, JK’s Dumplings, G.W. Grill, Bing’s Burgers, Viv’s, House of Malaysia, New York Wing Factory, Bistro Du Saigon, JD’s Boiling Pot), maybe more. Burgers are still going strong (Blue Star Burgers, Bing’s Burgers, Jake’s Wayback, Shake Shack, Grillers, Bareburger, Zinburger) as are froyo shops (Cups or Cakes, Fro-Yo Lish, BYY, Planet Swirl), but both are showing signs of fatigue (BUCU, Yogurt Lovers too, Fro-Yo Lish – Rutherford, Red Mango – Ridgewood).

Locally-sourced from farms and artisans (Local Seasonal-Kitchen, Terre a Terre, Caffe Anello) appears to be picking up steam, though they’ve been around for years (Cafe Panache). National chains (Oceanaire, Schlotzsky’s, Red Robin, Cocohodo) continue to pop up and there’s been no shortage of places opening to grab baked goods (Patisserie Florentine, L’Arte Della Pasticceria, Tarts & Flours, Veriella’s, Sarabou Bakery And Cafe, Z-Licious).

Hudson riverfront restaurants were certainly in fashion (Haven, Pier 115) not just in Bergen, but Rockland (Pier 701) and Hudson (Molos) counties. Celebrated chefs returned (Grange) and others are riding off into the sunset (Chef’s Table). And people really seem to like food trucks though the towns don’t know what to do about the very few that actually exist.

New Jersey also has a craft brewery scene, which saw it’s first Bergen County brewery (Bolero Snort) open. Craft distilling might be next now that local spirits (Jersey Artisan Distilling) are available. Of course no trend would be legitimate without a haven to these products (The Dog and Cask).

There is probably a ton that we missed and a ton that we will miss in the future (feel free to share any scoops you may have at info@boozyburbs.com), but Boozy Burbs will continue to tweak and evolve, as will the dining scene we cover. There is already a good deal of buzz for a number of area restaurants coming in 2014, but we are also looking forward to things that we didn’t expect, didn’t foresee or for which we didn’t receive a press release. Cheers!

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