Over the weekend I went home to my mom’s house in Princeton, New Jersey to celebrate her birthday. But it just so happened to be Easter weekend so the entire family was in town for some combined birthday fun and obligatory family holiday merriment.
The fact that the weekend took place in the town where I grew up was an added bonus, mainly because now I have an opportunity to tell you all about Princeton. It really is a fabulous town.
Sure it’s an Ivy League
While most people correlate Princeton, NJ with Princeton University; growing up in Princeton makes the university seem secondary. Sure, the campus is right near my house, the college kids aimlessly walk in front of moving cars, and yes, the chapel bells ring every morning. But I never thought wow, here are some of the brightest minds in America, practically in my backyard. Don’t get me wrong, I love the university. There are so many wonderful buildings to see and the Princeton University Art Gallery is exquisite; but no trip to Princeton, NJ is complete without a stop at some of Princeton’s finest establishments.
Must Eat: Places of Princeton
Thomas Sweet (183 Nassau St) is a staple in downtown Princeton. The Nassau Street location opened in 1979 and is now the flagship location for five other Thomas Sweet ice cream and chocolate stores.
Alex’s Pick: Get a Blend In, the shops signature ice cream blend with toppings and flavors of your choosing.
The Bent Spoon came to town right before I left for college, but it does hold a special place in my heart because of the unique types of ice cream, gelato and sorbet served. Warning: This is not for someone looking for heavy, creamy, traditional ice cream. Got to Halo Pub or Thomas Sweet for that.
Alex’s Pick: Hand-made mascarpone, mango and coconut ice cream.
My family has been going to the Princetonian Diner for years. It’s outside of downtown Princeton along Route 1. So it is the perfect place as you’re coming into town or on your way out.
Alex’s Pick: Greek Salad with Lamb
Hoagie Haven is best for late night eats. But a quick lunch can always be had here, and on the cheap!
Alex’s Pick: Buffalo Fries
PJ’s Pancake House I don’t know how they did it, but PJ’s managed to secure the URL, Pancakes.com…which makes me think, they’ve got their stuff together. At PJ’s there is always a wait. It’s a small, usually crowded, restaurant. I’ve waited well over an hour to sit and enjoy a short stack here.
Alex’s Pick: 2 Chocolate Chip and one peanut butter pancake, and might as well order a side of their amazing mashed potato hash.
Teresa’s Caffe is the restaurant I take everyone to when they visit Princeton. The wine list, the bread and of course the food itself are lovely. All food is locally grown and cooked to perfection.
Alex’s Pick: Conchiglie Balsamico
Winberie’s is that traditional small town pub, with photos of the old regulars on the wall. You know Albert Einstein and some other famous dead guys that probably would have enjoyed a beer or three there if it opened before 1984.
Alex’s Pick: Beer and Cheese Fondu