Looking for a restaurant with an intimate environment?

There are a number of places around New Jersey that offer just that. No matter which part of the Garden State you live or are planning a night out, there is a restaurant in your neck of the woods where you can eat by fireside.

The Barrow house, Clifton

The Barrow House is a Colonial-Era Farmhouse located in Clifton, NJ, on the site of a former farm. Modeled after a traditional Hall & Parlor Home, the space comprises seven unique rooms.

Guests can enjoy American Farm Fare like chicken Milanese, wild mushroom pasta, and filet mignon, 100-bottle curated wine list, handcrafted cocktails, and a huge selection of craft beer. This country, rustic bar/restaurant is so warm and welcoming and unique décor invites you get comfortable.


The Cranford Hotel, Cranford

This is one of those historic properties that New Jersey is famous for. And on a cold winter night, nothing is as warm and cozy as this beautiful eatery built in 1882.

The Cranford Hotel has been serving up warm vibes in the Cranford community for almost 140 years with its intimate lighting, casual bar, wood booth seating and brick fireplace. Reviews of the food and staff here are glowing. Great for an intimate, romantic meal with that special someone.


Filomena Lakeview, Deptford

Filomena does Italian like no one else in the area. A stagecoach stop in the 1700s, Filomena Lakeview, named after the owner's mother, is now one of Gloucester County's best-known Italian restaurants. There are fireplaces in both upstairs and downstairs dining rooms, and you absolutely must try the gnocchi, made by the restaurant's 85-year-old namesake.


Tabor Road Tavern, Morris Plains

With its soaring vaulted ceilings and double-sided fireplace, you could almost be at a chic chalet in the Swiss Alps. I could spend all winter at the ski lodge-like bar, and the menu runs from hummus samplers, tomato braised meatballs and spicy shrimp egg rolls to Niman pork chops, pan-seared vermilion snapper and house-made penne.

Tabor Road specializes in local, seasonal food and award-winning wine and spirit offerings. It’s beautiful but not at all stuff and great for casual light fare or an elegant dining experience.


Brickhouse Tavern and Tap, Neptune

This one is kind of a sports bar ... but wait, there’s more! 360-degree view of sports at all times – which is made even better with a craft cocktail or refreshing beer in hand. But the cool modern fireplace makes the atmosphere warm and special.

With a relaxed, sports-centric atmosphere, Brickhouse is a fun, energetic night out with a huge selection of local, craft and import beers, and a fun and eclectic menu of American food.


Firebirds Woodfired Grill, Eatontown

Don’t let the fact that this is a chain restaurant fool you. Its atmosphere is spectacular and just about everything is—as its name implies—woodfired. Look for perfectly prepared delicious steaks as well as plenty of healthy options Their 21-day-aged steaks are cut in-house and hardwood grilled along as are their sustainable seafood dishes and half-pound burgers.


Ivy Inn, Hasbrouck Heights

Opened in the 1870s as a stagecoach inn, travelers in horse and carriage along Polifly Road (later named Terrace Avenue) stopped here to eat and drink in the tavern below and sleep in one of six guest quarters above. With its brick walls and live piano music, you’ll be brought back to a different era when dining out was a special occasion. The fireplaces in the dining rooms make it extra special, and Chef Jack Zaorski is a brilliantly accomplished chef whose dishes get raves.


Metuchen Inn, Metuchen

The Metuchen Inn has served fine food in its charming, historic atmosphere since 1843. This famous landmark features a world-class wine list, 3 working fireplaces and private rooms to make that special occasion truly memorable. Its pretty, but not stuffy, and cozy but elegant, too. It has a very simple mission statement: Serve delicious, affordable food that guests will want to return to week after week. And according to their rave reviews, they do.


The Grain House, Basking Ridge

Voted one of the 12 prettiest restaurants in New Jersey and also twice voted “the best coziest spot for drinks” by New Jersey Monthly Magazine, the Grain House has become something of a legend. With an ambiance dating back to the 18th century, The Grain House offers casual dining in a unique setting. Picture original beamed ceilings, impressive fireplaces, and a warm rustic décor. And the Grain House’s organic garden provides organic produce and herbs for their delicious recipes.


Gladstone Tavern, Peapack and Gladstone

Delicious American comfort food in a gorgeous setting. Where every single thing is made from scratch. Every dessert. Every loaf of bread. Everything. But what makes Gladstone Tavern so special is the atmosphere. An upscale tavern set in a beautifully restored 1847 farmhouse, it’s chic but friendly, with an unbelievably varied menu that has everything from duck confit to an impossible burger. There’s a kids' menu, too. Enjoy dinner with the family or a romantic evening. Either way, it’s a cozy night out by the fire. And as if that’s not enough, there is live music every Friday night.


Storehouse at Sterling Ridge, Warren

This is luxury. Stonehouse at Sterling Ridge is in a word, exquisite. Set in the shadow of the Watchung Mountains, Stone House has a western lodge feel with stone walls, beams and a copper fireplace. The Stone House bar has comfy couches, and a great selection of cocktails and wines by the glass. But it’s not just the crackling fire that brings energy to the place. They also have monthly cocktail classes, live music and jazz brunch on Sundays. It’s website calls it a blend of “rustic cabin & city chic.”

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.

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Gallery Credit: Joe Votruba

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