As hard enough as it is to open a business in New Jersey, double that when you open a restaurant. I've owned two coffee houses at the Jersey Shore and I can definitely see why 60% of restaurants fail within the first year. When you factor in a pandemic and extra tough restrictions, those numbers get even higher.

It's one thing when a restaurant fails in the first year because we hardly got to know them, it's another when long-established places like Spirito's in Elizabeth closed their doors after nearly 100 years.

Among the victims of the pandemic was the landmark Fireplace Restaurant in Paramus, which had been opened in 1956 only to close its doors last year. We also bid farewell to two Ruby Tuesday restaurants, including the one in the Monmouth Mall.

When places like these close they take a little piece of us with them. So many family dinners, celebrations, first dates, milestone moments have taken place there that those memories will be embedded in our brains long after these establishments have bid us farewell.

Of course, let's not forget the food that we'll miss as well. What I would give for an authentic slice of Yankee Tower meatloaf! Fortunately, comedian Julia Scotti who grew up in Fairview gave me the recipe.

But the Yankee Tower was more than just the meatloaf. It was where my father and I would eat every Friday night and talk football. It was those conversations that took place when I was in eighth grade and high school that I see now when I talk football with my sons.

So I asked my following: If you could bring back a New Jersey restaurant and perhaps a mean there, which would it be and what would you like to eat?

Gail Morrone

Cristina’s Pizzeria in Union City

Photo's Courtesy of Rob Pisani
Photo's Courtesy of Rob Pisani

Giulio Poli

Yankee Tower/ meatloaf


Neil Oleary

Mastori’s Diner

Jimmy Givens

Peterson’s Sunset Cabin in Lakewood. Has been closed for about close to 50 years. EXCELLENT food and their steaks to die for!

Paul Mayerowitz

Mrs. Jays

Brian in Atco

The Carriage House

Linda Lee Lucas Huston


Jerry Rubino

Dish in Passaic Park.

Marylouise Henning - Kizis

Howard Johnson's, All you can eat Fish Fry

Tony Pasqua

THE FLAGSHIP, RT 22 Union, NJ. I’d Order the Prime Rib !

Paul Mayerowitz


Vini Lopez

Moms Kitchen in Neptune. Pizza

Chrissy B Harris

Pals Cabin West Orange

If you like mushroom soup they had the best. I loved their hamburgers.

Rich Gunning

The old Olga's. 73 & 70

Deborah Mai


Getty Images
Getty Images

Tom Barney

When I was stationed at FT Dix for basic we got paid once a month (1968) we always celebrated by going to Genos. Much better than Mcdonald's.

Steven Keller

My wife and I agree... Tracey's Nine Mile House in Little Ferry. We'd both order the Steak Sandwich with French Fried Onions. We were also married there. 

Lynn Miller

BT bistro. Route 1 south. West Windsor. Bobby Trigg was the chef. His crème Brule was the best.

Jane Marks Biunno

Larison's Turkey Farm in Chester, NJ. I would order my favorite meal of the YEAR...Turkey dinner & Larison's made it Wonderfully.

Lisa Egan

Clam Hut in the highlands!!

Jean Marie Costigan Kreitz

Spiritos , Elizabeth !

via Google Maps
via Google Maps

Lucille Marie

Coach and four at exit 8 entrance to NJ turnpike. ..Hightstown had delicious London broil..

Keith Vena

Fireplace Restaurant (Paramus NJ) - Charcoal Broiled Cheeseburgers and Sliced Steak sandwiches

via google maps
via google maps

Rich Carucci

Old Judge In S . Hackensack

Norman Gittleson

Freddie’s in Long Branch.

via NJ1015 article
via NJ1015 article

Helen Khorosh

Steak & Ale! Miss that place.

Lucille Marie

Moms restaurant rt 33 Hightstown delicious lasagna also where I first met my husband to be for lunch...

Kelly Shannon

Casa Dante in Jersey city. I miss the veal franchise


Lisa Egan

Mayfairs pizza in Woodbridge I think it was! Omg the best ever! I think Mulberry Street is there now

Va Nessa

The ORIGINAL - Olde Silver Tavern!

Olde Silver Tavern via foursquare
Olde Silver Tavern via foursquare

Michael G Davis

The lamp post diner Anglesea, NJ.

Erin Murray Hunt

The Circus Drive-in in Wall. A true CLASSIC

via 94.3 the point
via google maps


Mike Darkwater

The Thirsty Mallard in Waretown NJ great place with great food, now vacant after being sold out to an Irish restaurant that didn’t make it very long in that area. Best spinach salad and steamed clams, and good menu, also had antique duck decoys and sneak box boat. Very cool setting inside .

Jill Zutty

Tre Piani, Princeton Forrestal Village


Paul Mayerowitz

The Embers Restaurant and Lounge

Old Restaurant Menu- The Embers Restaurant and Lounge via Ebay
Old Restaurant Menu- The Embers Restaurant and Lounge via Ebay

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise only. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.

You can now listen to Steve Trevelise — On Demand! Discover more about New Jersey’s personalities and what makes the Garden State interesting . Download the Steve Trevelise show wherever you get podcasts, on our free app, or listen right now.

Click here to contact an editor about feedback or a correction for this story.

Gravy or sauce? These restaurants make the best red in Central Jersey

Where everyone knows your name: Friendliest bars in NJ

More From 94.5 PST