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

There are two things we can count on happening when the clock strikes twelve on New Year’s Eve. One is that a big shiny ball will fall on Times Square, signifying the beginning of a … well, new beginning. The other is that we have 365 days ahead of us with which to plan really great and interesting dates.

When you think about that big sparkling sphere, it’s almost a shame that we only get to celebrate the ball once a year. Something that great deserves more than one night, so how do we keep the ball rolling into the New Year? A date night with bowling and meatballs! An activity date of bowling is always fun, allowing for some friendly competition, flirty conversation and most definitely a few laughs. When it comes to meatballs, no state does them better than New Jersey.

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Get ready for a Jersey Date Night that will keep the ball rolling!

Tasty Choices out of the Gate

Choices usually come at the end of the date, but when you go to Millie’s Old World in Morristown the choices begin faster than you can say “meatball.” Turkey or beef will be your first dilemma. The turkey meatballs come in an amazingly flavorful broth, whereas if you chose beef you move onto the next decision-making round. Using a quarter-pound of top grade sirloin combined with imported cheeses, your beef meatballs have the serving options of fresh mozzarella, warm ricotta and a coin toss between marinara or vodka sauce.

The good news is that regardless of your decision, you really can’t go wrong. The great news is that your date can continue well after the restaurant closes! Ask your server about their bucket of meatballs to go and their six-pack frozen option to enjoy later. To learn more about Millie’s Old World, visit

Bowling: Madison is home of STRYXE — a great bowling and gaming experience and only 12 minutes away from Millie’s Old World. For more information, visit

A Tried and True Classic

Lots of today’s couples, regardless of their relationship’s duration, crave a timeless kind of love. These couples lean toward the traditional and when it comes to meatballs, they’re going to be thrilled with the offering at Sonny G’s in Cranford. Perfectly prepared meatballs in marinara — no bells and whistles, just amazing flavor sure to knock your socks off. When it comes to this classically prepared meatball, it’s a given you’re going to want more … and then maybe a few more after that. Sonny G’s makes quenching that craving super-easy by selling their meatballs by the tray and quarter tray.  

To learn more, visit

Bowling: Continue your classic date night at Garwood Lanes — retro and fun!  Visit for more information. 

A Date with Grandma?

The last person you’d typically want tagging along on date night is your grandma, but when it comes to meatballs exceptions are made. Grandma’s Meatball in Manasquan, like most grandmothers, offers no choice and gives you the world … times four! Yes, you will get four meatballs, each offering a different flavor perspective sure to leave you and your date wanting more. There’s the traditional meatball, followed by a meatless eggplant ball, a classic Sicilian meatball with pine nuts and raisins and a rice ball served with fresh ricotta. 

Of course when Grandma is involved, there’s got to be dessert. Save some room for the homemade coconut custard cream pie. Grandma insists, and she’s always right!

For more information, visit their website at

Bowling: You can’t strike out when the ally is only six minutes away!  Check out the Lanes at Sea Girt for a great time! Learn more at

Leave Your Passport in the Bowling Bag

You’re going to feel like you and your date were just transported to Italy when you enter La Cucina di Clemenza in Millburn. Once you both taste the meatballs, pinching yourself will be in order. Serving classic Italian Polpette is just one of the things they do best. Regardless of your choice of beef meatballs in their famous Sunday Gravy or chicken meatballs served in Fra Diavolo sauce, you can’t go wrong with meatballs prepared in a classic brick oven.

You also can’t go wrong with family recipes and an uncle’s dream. The family of Academy Award-nominated actor Richard Castellano, known for playing the role of Peter Clemenza in “The Godfather,” is the inspiration for this restaurant. Be sure to raise your glass to Mr. Castellano before ordering a second round of meatballs.

Visit their website at

Bowling: You're only nine miles away from Eagle Rock Lanes! Learn more at

The Most Important Ball to Keep Rolling

New Jersey has the bowling and meatballs covered, but there’s one other thing that as a responsible and great dater that we need to be sure isn’t lacking. We need to be sure not to drop the ball when it comes to conversation. Listening to your date is key, honest responses are mandatory, and asking questions keeps the flow going. Add in a few laughs over those meatballs and your date is sure to have a ball.

More: New Jersey Date Night: The Coffee Date

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, please visit

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

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