New Jersey Date Night is a series on NJ Flavor by relationship writer Craig Rogers.

Before you know it, our date nights can actually happen at a table in a restaurant! As New Jersey begins to slowly emerge from stay-at-home rules, couples are itching to get our and experience something hot. How about something sizzling found in a basket, on a plate or inside a bucket?

When it comes to tasty hotness, nothing says it quite like fried chicken. The balance between crispy and tender combined with amazing flavor makes fried chicken an American favorite. Until we’re able to eat out (perhaps outdoors?), you can still order for curbside pickup, and you and your date certainly don’t have to travel far for a “mess of chicken.” 

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Get ready for a New Jersey Date Night that’s fried and true!

Soul for the Soulmate

Why drive below the Mason Dixon for good fried chicken when you can just go to Hackensack! Paulas Soul Food fries up some of the best chicken in the state. Whether you choose the fried chicken dinner or prefer fried chicken with waffles, you can’t go wrong. 

You and your date can also enjoy your chicken prepared smothered, jerked, pulled or barbecued.  In addition, you’ll love their side dishes including macaroni and cheese, fried okra and their amazing cornbread. Save room for dessert, as you’ll not want to miss their assortment of pies and cakes, such as the sweet potato pie and the coconut pecan cake.

For more information on Paula’s Soul Food, visit

Korean Style

The American South is known for their fried chicken, but thanks to Pelicana Chicken, you and your date can enjoy the flavors of South Korea, too. Founded in Daejeon, South Korea in 1982, this restaurant has expanded to over 3,000 locations worldwide, including locations in Dumont and Palisades Park. 

You’ll discover delicious fried chicken with some amazing sauces you can have either tossed or on the side.  From garlic soy to spicy BBQ to scallion sauce, you’ll discover how the Korean flavors really shake up your fried chicken experience. Be sure to check out Pelicana Chicken’s signature sweet-and-spicy Yang-Nyum sauce, which is available in three degrees of heat.

For more information on Pelicana Chicken visit

Love Me Tender

Urban Chicken in Montclair is the place to go if you want to keep it “tender.” Their fried chicken tenders are jumbo in both size and flavor. You and your date can order a three-piece to 20-piece depending on your appetite. Don’t forget to choose your favorite dipping sauces!

In addition, check out their famous Chattanooga fried chicken, served in sizes ranging from a one-piece meal to a 16-piece feast. And you’ll love the variety of homemade side dishes, including sticky rice and mashed potatoes and gravy. Save room for homemade carrot cake.

For more information about Urban Chicken, visit

Fried and Gone to Heaven

Cheek’s Chicken and Waffles in Fords and Far Rockaway is the place to go for a little fried and a little sweet. You and your date will find true love over the chicken tenders or fried wings. Both come solo, or as a perfect date when accompanied by a Belgian leige waffle. 

You’ll also want to check out the many dipping sauces offered, from mango habanero to the signature General Cheek’s sauce. If you chose the Fords location, you can dine on either a half or full fried chicken. And the sides available are top drawer, ranging from sweet potato fries to corn fritters to broccoli cheddar bites.

For more information on the Cheek’s Chicken and Waffles, visit

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

After three months of quarantine, we can all understand the chicken’s desire to get to the other side. As our state slowly opens we can feel the excitement but unlike the chicken, we can also execute the caution. Being smart as we re-emerge is the key to our first date night on the outside.

Bravery comes in many forms, from boldly putting yourself out there after a breakup to battling the fear of getting our lives back to a level of normal. Re-entering the dating world or even the world in general isn’t for the faint of heart because it can be frustrating, disappointing and sometimes can leave you feeling totally fried. Moments like these can be scary, but one must remember that with great risk comes great reward.  Choosing not to be chicken might just result in a new chapter filled with adventures exceeding any and all expectations. 

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:

New Jersey Date Night: Virtual Experiences Bring the World to You

New Jersey Date Night: Life’s a Picnic

What Kind of Wine Goes with Quarantine?

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