Finding the perfect sandwich is almost as important as finding the perfect lunchtime date, and luckily New Jersey offers a plethora of options when it comes to delicatessens. The delis of the Garden State offer up a menu of the soups, sandwiches and black and white cookies that rival (and pehaps surpass) their New York counterparts. Making a date over pastrami is not only easy but also delicious.

Get ready for a New Jersey Date Night that might have you saying, “I’ll have what she’s having!”

Brushing up on Your Yiddish

Sign Up for NJ Flavor Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

If you want to say, “Give them something to eat” in Yiddish, eppes essen is the phrase to master. If you and your date want something to eat, Eppes Essen in Livingston is where to go. 

A Jewish-style but not kosher deli, Eppes Essen has over 65 years experience of making tasty sandwiches, sweet and sour cabbage and other favorites. 

Your pastrami sandwich goes from great to even greater with delicious sides including egg barley with mushrooms (not barley but actually a small, pearl-like pasta mixed with onion and mushrooms) and kasha varnishkas (farfelle pasta blended with buckwheat grotes with a little onion and schmaltz). You might want to try their hot open-faced sandwiches like the Classic Ruben (corned beef, sauerkraut and melted Swiss on rye) or the Bubbie (brisket, fried onions, Russian dressing and melted Muenster on rye). Be sure to save room for some hot noodle pudding with jam for dessert!

For more information on Epps Essen, visit their website at

From Brooklyn to Jersey

Many have made the migration across the Verrazano to New Jersey, but one of the tastiest has to be Fred and Murry’s. Located in Freehold, this kosher deli has been delivering the best of Jewish flavors since 1960. 

When it comes to classic sandwiches, your appetite rules as you have the choice between the 4-ounce, 7-ounce or 10-ounce overstuffed versions. Hot items not to be missed include the potato pancake deli sandwich (your choice of pastrami or corned beef served between two potato pancakes) and the corned beef or pastrami over a knish (open-faced served over your choice of knish). 

Topping off your date with a classic black and white cookie or a chocolate marble halvah is definitely a must.

For more information about Fred and Murry’s, visit

Pass the Pickles, Please

Pastrami and Pickles in Roselle Park is a chic, modern take on the American deli specializing in small-batch cooking. You and your date will find an array of fresh salads, smoked meats and, of course, pickles. 

Their specialty sandwiches are impressive and include The Southern Belle (blackened chicken, potato pancake, provolone, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise) and The Whole Meghilla (brisket sandwiched between two potato pancakes with applesauce). 

Check out their soups, including chicken noodle, chicken matzo ball, split pea and always a soup of the day.

For more information on Pastrami and Pickles, visit

The Real Sloppy Joe

One deli specialty that’s 100% Jersey is the Sloppy Joe.  Town Hall Delicatessen in South Orange claims to be the originator of this Garden State classic consisting of two meats, one cheese, coleslaw and lots of Russian dressing served on three slices of thinly sliced rye.

The original New Jersey Sloppy was the brainchild of the Mayor of Maplewood who in the 1930s visited the Sloppy Joe, one of Hemmingway’s favorite watering holes in Cuba. Upon returning, Mayor Sweeny asked Town Hall to re-create his favorite sandwich for his weekly poker games (and his choice of meats and cheese were ham, cow tongue and Swiss).

Besides creating a Jersey mainstay, Town Hall is known for their tasty store-made desserts including cheesecake, brownies and crumbcake.

For more information on Town Hall Delicatessen, visit

Afternoon DELIght, and the Secret Meaning of Pastrami

A lunchtime date is a perfect way to connect with your love, allowing you the opportunity to share your day while it’s really happening. Enjoying a deli-style lunch is as tasty and satisfying as the time you spend with your other half.

By the way, when it comes to relationships, even pastrami has a special lunchtime message. The origin of the word is Romanian, coming from the word pastra, meaning “to keep” or “to preserve.” The connection you feel and the love you share must always be kept and preserved — in good times and bad. After all, everything’s a little clearer in the light of day … especially over a sandwich and a side of kasha varnishkas.

Craig Rogers is the guy who gets relationships write. Author of The 49th Challenge, Craig has written countless articles on dating, relationships and breakup recovery. To learn more about Craig, visit

What’s your idea for a great New Jersey Date?  Tell Craig all about it at


More Date Night Ideas:

Autumn Apple Picking

Cookies Aren’t Just for Kids

Going Vegan in the Garden State

To sign up to have NJ Flavor and other great sections sent straight to your inbox, click here. Follow NJ Flavor on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Got a story you'd like to see on NJ Flavor? Email Jackie Lieberman at