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

It’s always a beautiful time when spring comes to New Jersey. Flowers are blooming, green leaves return to our trees and the birds are filling the air with their song. 

Our lives are quite different compared to the springs of years past thanks to a stay-at-home order and the need to wear protective masks in public. Even though we miss social gatherings, romantic walks in parks and date nights in restaurants, COVID-19 doesn’t keep spring from making her entrance.

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Warmer temperatures and beautiful evenings mean we can take our masks off and enjoy a date night with our “shelter in place partner” right in your own backyard! Nothing says spring quite like a picnic, and with incredible order-in options on the ready for pickup or delivery, you can enjoy the beauty of the season in a most flavorful way.

Get ready for a New Jersey Date Night that’s right in your own backyard!

Date Night All Week Long

Sometimes a picnic is so fun that you want to do it again the next day, and The Eatery can turn that into a reality. Located in Summit, The Eatery weekly menus of delicious dinners fit for every picnic blanket. From pistachio-crusted salmon with asparagus and roasted cauliflower to shrimp primavera, your picnic meal will be memorable. 

If you have kids to feed, they’ll love the children’s menu, too. 

For more information on The Eatery, visit

Springtime Flavor

Frank Anthony’s in Verona is an ideal choice for springtime salads and sandwiches perfect for picnicking. You and your date can make a meal from their salads, including the pear salad (with mixed baby greens, sliced pears, red onion, grape tomatoes and crumbled Gorgonzola) and the steak salad (grilled sirloin, arugula, roasted red pepper, chopped red onion and fresh mozzarella). 

Or share a salad to save room for their delicious assortment of sandwiches, like the Fortunato (chicken cutlet, fresh mozzarella, bruschetta, arugula with balsamic vinegar) or the Garcia (roasted pork tenderloin, sweet soppressata, sweet fryer peppers, imported provolone served grill-pressed). 

For more information on Frank Anthony’s, visit

Tea for Two

Having a backyard tea party is a great way to enjoy springtime weather and the goodies from Mulberry House Restaurant in Westfield will make you feel royal! Their tea sandwiches are served on a mix of white and whole wheat bread and range from English cucumber and mint to curried chicken salad to truffled egg salad. 

A tea party isn’t perfect without scones and sweets, so be sure to check out their scones (weekly flavors range from chocolate strawberry to blueberry lemon) and mini desserts including little lemon tarts, tiny carrot cake and two-bite pink cakes. Be sure to check out their “Tea Party in a Box.” (Also available in childrens’ size.)

For more information on Mulberry House Restaurant, visit

A Shore Thing Picnic

Backyard barbecues with all the flavor and none of the clean-up? Jersey Shore BBQ is the answer to your picnic dreams! 

With locations in East Brunswick and Belmar, their pickup menu is loaded with choices. You can choose from their “by the pound” menu, which includes everything from sliced brisket to pulled pork with sides including mac ’n cheese, coleslaw and bacon potato salad. 

You can also order one of their Prep Packs, a meal already designed and delicious, such as the rib dinner, which includes a rack of St. Louis ribs, a pound of pulled pork or chicken, six pieces of cornbread and a pound each of three side dishes.

For more information about Jersey Shore BBQ, visit

Spring Forward

It might seem to some that a date night during a global pandemic is frivolous and unnecessary. Spring makes the perfect argument supporting why we need a great date now more than ever. No matter how inconvenienced or how scared we are because of COVID-19, we need to remember that spring arrived in spite of it. Even with the bad, good always finds its way back, if we believe it to be so.

Just like relationships, there will be cloudy days followed by sunny skies, and the clouds eventually return only to be followed by sunshine. It’s how we handle the darkest of cloudy days that determines how long we get to dance under the sun.

Before you know it, you’ll be able to ditch the mask because this season of necessary seclusion will also come to an end. And when it’s well in our rearview mirror, what will you remember? Will it be the hassle of trying to find paper products or of a romantic dinner of take-out on a blanket in your own backyard?

The choice is yours.

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 At-Home Date Night Ideas:

What Kind of Wine Goes with Quarantine?

Cuddle Up with Dinner & a Movie

New Jersey Date Night: The Healthy Social Distancing Date

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