Our newest contributor, Claudia Marie Russo, is a self-proclaimed brunch aficionado. She spent her 20s brunching with girlfriends in NYC and has transitioned to brunching with her husband and toddler between naps in her 30s. Here are her must-visit brunch spots along the Hudson waterfront in New Jersey.
In my 20s, I lived in NYC and I’m pretty sure I was part of the generation that coined the term, “Sunday Funday.” I had brunch with my girlfriends every weekend often followed by hours of watching football in the bars of the Upper East Side. We would then venture to Central Park for some sun, come home, order some pizza, watch our favorite shows, veg out on the couch and then get ready for a night out on the town. I’m exhausted just remembering this. Ah, to be young again!
Seven years after my 20s have ended, my weekends look a little different now. After a long work week, Friday night, I rather fake the stomach flu than do anything that can’t be done in pajamas in my apartment. The rest of the weekend is usually spent getting in as much time with my one-year old daughter as possible, either taking a walk with her and my husband along the Hudson on that beautiful stretch between Weehawken and Hoboken, followed by a visit to the park on the way home. When we are not enjoying being outside along the Gold Coast, the remainder of my weekend time is generally consumed with cleaning, bath time, laundry, food shopping, cooking, a visit to the dry cleaner and first birthdays. By 6 p.m., I rarely have the energy to go to dinner and party on the town. Also, my daughter goes to bed at 7:30 p.m., which doesn’t leave much time for dinners out unless you want to eat at 5 p.m. (aka the witching hour!) or hire a babysitter, which can be hard to find and pretty pricey.
Don’t get me wrong, finding a sitter and making time for your husband is definitely important and something I think I should do more of, but for now, brunch has given my husband and I a renewed social life and it’s something we can enjoy with our daughter, who loves to eat! We try to maximize the time between 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., which is between the morning and afternoon nap. During that time, our daughter is well-rested and happy, so while she eats lunch, mom and dad enjoy brunch and a bellini. My friends who have older children tell me this period of time when a child is content in a highchair is short-lived, so I’m soaking it in. So, if your child is still content in a high chair, get yourself to brunch. And, if you don’t have kids, that’s even more reason to go to brunch – you don’t have to get home for the afternoon nap, except maybe your own!
Here are some brunch spots that that you probably never heard of if you aren’t a local and the locals are hoping it stays that way. While the cuisines span continents, they all share one thing in common, authentic cuisine native to their regions and awe-inspiring view of the Manhattan skyline. Oh, and there are rarely waits if you make a reservation and there is PARKING! For those of us used to city living, parking is pretty stressful. Not to fret, there is parking at all these spots.
Where: 725 River Road #30, Edgewater, NJ
Hours: Saturday opens @ 11:30 – Same menu all day
Favorite Bite: Bo Kho Vietnamese Beef Stew (gf) Cubed beef, carrots, Hong Kong egg noodles $14
Favorite drink: Red Bean and Mango Bubble Tea $6
Favorite dessert: Coconut Banana Tempura $8
Best Perk: BYOB (no corkage fee)
Thumbs Down: Closed Sunday
Molos Restaurant (Greek)
Where: 1 Pershing Rd, Weehawken, NJ
Hours: Saturday 11-11 p.m., Sunday 11-10 p.m.
Best Bite: Baklava Pancakes $16
Best Drink: Peach Bellini $7
Best Dessert: Galaktoboureko (custardy, honey goodness!) $11
Best Perk: Truly authentic Greek cuisine (I’m no expert but I did spend two weeks in the Greek islands for my honeymoon and this cuisine is pretty representative of what I experienced there). Also, there is self-parking right outside and valet parking for $7, although I have never had an issue finding a spot myself.
Thumbs Down: (but could also be a thumbs up): The waiters are really relaxed. I mean REALLY relaxed. They are in no hurry which provides a nice, relaxing meal, unless you are really hungry.
Haven Riverfront Restaurant and Bar (American)
Where: 2 Main St. Suite G, Edgewater Harbor, Edgewater, NJ
Hours: Saturday 11-11:30 p.m., Sunday 11-10 p.m.
Favorite Bite: Spicy Crispy Chicken – smoked buffalo mozzarella, green onions, tomato, bibb lettuce, with aioli $20
Favorite drink: Margarita
Favorite dessert: Warm Apple-Cinnamon Churro “Cobbler” with Vanilla Gelato $12
Best Perk: Outdoor seating with an awning (for those really sunny days) and of course, views, views, views.
Thumbs Down: Grilled Skirt Steak Salad (grilled squash, green papaya, snap peas, tomatoes, onions, ricotta salata, seven leaf greens, kumquat balsamic vinaigrette) This was tossed way too early and soggy by the time it got to my table. $22
About Claudia Marie Russo
Claudia Marie Russo is a Corporate Communications executive in New York City. A graduate of Villanova University, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and is currently pursuing her Masters of Science in Corporate Communication from Purdue University. In her spare time, she enjoys long days at the beach, attending folk rock concerts, cooking, drinking wine, eating Margherita pizza and spending time with family and friends. She currently serves on the leadership committee for the Villanova Communication Alumni Network. A New York native, Claudia now calls Weehawken, New Jersey her home, where she lives with her husband and daughter.
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