It’s Tough Out There for NJ Eateries

by Alice Magdziak • November 14, 2011 • Food, Slices of New Jersey, Various and SundryComments (0)1958

We’ve done almost a year’s worth of weekly restaurant recommendations now and we’re sad to report that at least three of those places are now closed. BusinessWeek qutoes the Small Business Association and the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting that within three years about 60 percent of all new businesses (including restaurants) close.  So, maybe three being closed isn’t such a bad statistic for YDKJ and New Jersey.

Cosimo’s Killer Sausage Pizza

We went to Cosimo’s after hearing about it for a long time.  We finally got there and raved over their pizza.  It was quite possibly the best thin crust we’ve ever tried in New Jersey.  And, that’s saying a lot if you’ve lived anywhere in New Jersey for more than three days.  There are literally five or six places that I can name right off the top of my head that people say are THE BEST.  We’ve tried most of those places over the years and Cosimo’s was in a class by itself. The toppings were premium and the crust was crispy, slightly charred from the brick ovens and delicious. I’m not big on sausage pizza but their sausage was light and flavorful and didn’t overwhelm the fresh tomato sauce and good cheese.

Cosimo’s had a sign out front in August saying they were on vacation for two weeks.  In September, they seemed to open for a little while and then just as soon as they re-opened, they were closed again.  No sign, nothing.  During Halloween, there were decorations on the stairs leading to the apartments upstairs from the restaurant but that’s been the only sign of life in several months.  This is breaking our hearts.

Then, over the last month or so, two more restaurants announced via their Facebook pages that they were also closing!  Peanut Butter Blues Café and Caffé Gelateria Sotto Zero have both decided to focus on other parts of their business.  Presumably, that’s code for “the rent is too high and we can make more money online or in the wholesale business.”

Godzilla and Strawberry Fields Sandwiches at PBBC

A restaurant with peanut butter sandwiches as the focus isn’t a unique idea but we were thrilled to have Peanut Butter Blues Café (PBBC) in New Jersey.  We also love independent coffee shops so PBBC was a double win for us.  The coffee was strong and the mug was large.  The PB creations were filled with fresh fruit, really good peanut butter and lots of surprisingly good combinations.  The biggest shame for me is that I didn’t get to bring my sister-in-law here since she’s a PB&J fanatic.


Sotto Zero Exterior

Sotto Zero was recommended to us by our web designer and it became our go-to place for summer refreshments.  They also served really good coffee so that’s another one of our one-two punch eateries that’s off the books.  Why do the places with good coffee go first?  Besides the good dark coffee, Sotto Zero had amazing artisan gelato and sorbet.  Their salted caramel gelato was so good that you wanted to go back and get a second entire bowl of it after finishing the first.  And, their lemon rosemary sorbet.  Oh god, you just can’t even believe how good and refreshing it was.  It was so tart that it made your lips pucker against their will but damn it was perfect on a hot summer night.  Sotto Zero is still available online so maybe they’ll reopen someday so I can bring people there again and watch their minds be blown.

Hopefully, the economy will improve in 2012 and we can keep our great restaurants in business!


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