Well, our one year anniversary is here. Eating New Jersey started on a whim. I had been Instagramming my food for years and started writing about restaurants on my personal blog. But because that site is such a mish-mosh of topics, I wanted to have a blog devoted entirely to food. I’d say we had a decent first year. I reviewed 77 restaurants in New Jersey and an additional 63 in my travels anywhere from Pennsylvania to Texas. Aside from restaurants, there are many posts regarding tourist attractions, product reviews, recipes, news, and opinion columns. My “Photo of the Day” posts have also garnered a lot more reads than I ever imagined.
All in all, out of 140 total reviews in all states, only eight have gotten the elusive 5-star rating, while 20 have come close at 4.5 stars. On the flip-side, 11 restaurants have scored under 3 stars. To me, while a 3-star rating is not optimal, it could go either way. The experience was not great, nor was it terrible. It leaves a margin for error with the chance that I will try it again if the occasion arises. To score under 3, with me being a very lenient critic and someone who is made easily happy when it comes to food, means you definitely did something wrong. Nevertheless, I want to reiterate that I take no pleasure in giving a restaurant a negative score. But as a food writer, my job is to assess what I am given.
If I had to narrow down the best “food towns” I have visited, that would be a tough call. Out of state, without a doubt, the area with the most high-rated restaurants per capita would be Ocean City, Maryland. But for our Garden State, I would say it’s a tie between Metuchen and East Brunswick. Again, these are based on my personal ratings to date. Until I eat my way across the entire state, you will have to put up with that.
Ratings Distribution (all reviews)
5 Stars: 8
4-4.5 Stars: 88
3-3.5 Stars: 33
2-2.5 Stars: 7
1-1.5 Stars: 4
5-Star New Jersey Restaurants
5-Star Travel Guide Restaurants
As you can see, my ratings distribution has been overwhelmingly positive. Obviously, food comes first and foremost when assigning a score. Bad service and a “blah” atmosphere can be easily forgiven if the food is excellent. There have only been a handful of instances where service brought down a rating. I cannot even think of a time off-hand. After food, the most important issue is cleanliness. A dining establishment can be a hole-in-the-wall. It can be what you would call a dive. But it has to be clean. I cannot overlook cleanliness. Outstanding service is always a plus. It can bring enjoyment to the restaurant experience. But with so much going on in people’s lives, and servers working long hours and sometimes not having the best of customers, I am usually highly forgiving when a waiter or waitress does something irksome. It’s a rarity, though.
Anyway, it has been a great year and I am looking forward to bringing more food your way. Eating New Jersey got off to a slow start. It took about three or four months to really get going with page views, but now they are steady even when I do not write for a few days. To my subscribers and followers, thanks for sticking with me.