Cedar Grove, NJ Travel Guide

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Welcome to Cedar Grove, NJ: Discovering Hidden Gems

Located in the heart of Essex County, Cedar Grove is a charming town that offers a unique blend of natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture. From picturesque parks and scenic trails to quaint shops and delicious eateries, there’s something for everyone in this hidden gem of a town.

As you explore Cedar Grove, you’ll discover a wealth of hidden gems that are waiting to be uncovered. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or a foodie, you’ll find plenty of reasons to fall in love with this charming town.

Join us on a journey of discovery as we explore the best that Cedar Grove has to offer. From local history and lesser-known facts to captivating stories and insider tips, this travel guide will help you make the most of your visit to this hidden gem of a town.

Highly Rated Restaurants and Cafes

Cedar Grove is home to a variety of dining options, ranging from Italian to American cuisine. Here are some of the area’s most highly rated restaurants and cafes:

Calandra’s Italian Village restaurant

For a taste of authentic Italian cuisine, look no further than Calandra’s Italian Village restaurant. This family-owned establishment has been serving up delicious pasta dishes, seafood, and more for over 50 years. With a 4.3 rating on Google and over 1200 reviews, it’s clear that this restaurant is a local favorite.

The Cornerstone

If you’re in the mood for American cuisine, head over to The Cornerstone. This cozy cafe offers a variety of breakfast and lunch options, including sandwiches, salads, and pancakes. With a 4.5 rating on Google and over 200 reviews, it’s clear that The Cornerstone is a beloved spot in Cedar Grove.

The Appian Way

For a taste of classic Italian-American cuisine, check out The Appian Way. This restaurant has been serving up favorites like chicken parmesan and spaghetti and meatballs since 1955. With a 4.2 rating on Google and over 400 reviews, it’s clear that The Appian Way is a Cedar Grove staple.

The Wood Pit

For some of the best barbecue in town, head over to The Wood Pit. This casual spot offers a variety of smoked meats, including brisket, ribs, and pulled pork. With a 4.5 rating on Google and over 500 reviews, it’s clear that The Wood Pit is a must-visit for meat lovers.


Be sure to make a reservation at Calandra’s Italian Village restaurant, as it can get quite busy on weekends.

For a unique breakfast experience, try the stuffed French toast at The Cornerstone.

At The Appian Way, be sure to save room for their famous cannoli.

For a real treat, try the burnt ends at The Wood Pit.

Did You Know?

The Appian Way was once a popular spot for celebrities, with famous guests including Frank Sinatra and Joe DiMaggio.

The Wood Pit uses a combination of hickory and oak wood to smoke their meats, giving them a unique flavor.

Local Cuisine and Street Food

One of the best ways to experience a new place is through its food, and Cedar Grove has plenty of delicious options to offer. From Italian classics to unique street food, there’s something for everyone.

For a taste of authentic Italian cuisine, head to . Located in nearby Caldwell, this family-owned restaurant has been serving up delicious dishes for over 50 years. From homemade pasta to wood-fired pizza, everything on the menu is made with fresh, high-quality ingredients. Don’t miss their famous Sunday brunch, which features an extensive buffet with everything from omelets to seafood.

For a more casual dining experience, check out The Empanada Guy Food Truck. This popular food truck serves up delicious empanadas with a variety of fillings, from classic beef to unique options like buffalo chicken and Nutella. They also offer other Latin American street food favorites like tacos and churros. Check their website for their schedule and locations, as they move around to different spots throughout the week.

  • Other notable restaurants in the area include Avenel Restaurant, which serves up classic American fare with a Mediterranean twist, and Cedar Grove Diner, a local favorite for breakfast and brunch.


Try the homemade pasta dishes at Calandra’s Italian Village for a truly authentic Italian experience.

Check The Empanada Guy’s website or social media for their current location and schedule.

Did You Know?

Cedar Grove is home to a variety of international cuisine options, including Chinese, Japanese, and Indian restaurants.

The Empanada Guy was featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” in 2015.


Cedar Grove, NJ is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. From its rich history to its vibrant local culture, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day at the park or an adventurous hike through the woods, Cedar Grove has it all.

For those looking for a taste of Italy, be sure to visit Calandra’s Italian Village. This family-owned restaurant offers authentic Italian cuisine that will transport your taste buds straight to the streets of Rome.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Cedar Grove is full of hidden gems and local businesses just waiting to be discovered. Take a stroll through the historic district and admire the beautiful architecture, or stop by one of the many sustainable businesses that are dedicated to preserving the environment.

So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and come discover all that Cedar Grove, NJ has to offer. You won’t be disappointed.

Cedar Grove, NJ Itinerary

Calandra’s Italian Village – A taste of Italy in Caldwell, NJ

Day 1: Exploring Cedar Grove and Caldwell

Begin your Cedar Grove adventure by exploring the beautiful surroundings and indulging in some delicious Italian cuisine. Today’s activities will cover the morning, afternoon, and evening, with a focus on nature, history, and food.


  • Hilltop Reservation Hike – Start your day with a refreshing hike at the Hilltop Reservation. Enjoy the scenic trails and take in the beautiful views of Cedar Grove. Plan for a 2-3 hour hike, depending on your pace and trail choice.
  • Breakfast at Cedar Grove Diner – After your hike, head over to the for a well-deserved breakfast. Try their delicious omelettes, pancakes, or French toast to refuel for the day ahead.


  • Visit the Thomas Edison National Historical Park – Take a short drive to West Orange and explore the Thomas Edison National Historical Park. Discover the history of one of America’s greatest inventors and tour his home and laboratory. Allow 2-3 hours for a thorough visit.
  • Lunch at Calandra’s Italian Village – Head to Caldwell for a delicious lunch at . Enjoy their mouth-watering pizza, pasta, and other Italian specialties in a cozy atmosphere.


  • Explore Downtown Caldwell – After lunch, take a leisurely stroll through downtown Caldwell. Visit local shops, art galleries, and cafes while enjoying the charming small-town atmosphere.
  • Dinner at Cloverleaf Tavern – End your day with a hearty dinner at the historic Cloverleaf Tavern. Established in 1933, this local favorite offers a wide selection of craft beers and delicious American fare, including their famous burgers and wings.

Day 2: Family Fun and Outdoor Activities

On your second day in Cedar Grove, enjoy a day filled with family fun and outdoor activities. Today’s itinerary includes a visit to a local farm, mini-golf, and a relaxing evening at a beautiful park.


  • Visit Ochs Orchard – Start your day with a visit to Ochs Orchard in nearby Warwick, NY. Pick seasonal fruits, explore the farm market, and enjoy the beautiful countryside. Plan for a 2-3 hour visit.
  • Brunch at Bellvale Farms Creamery – After your visit to Ochs Orchard, stop by for a delicious brunch. Enjoy their homemade ice cream, sandwiches, and other tasty treats while taking in the stunning views of the surrounding countryside.


  • Mini-Golf at Essex County Safari MiniGolf – Head back to Cedar Grove for an afternoon of mini-golf at . This fun, safari-themed course is perfect for families and friends of all ages. Allow 1-2 hours for a round of mini-golf.
  • Lunch at The Grove Gourmet Deli – Refuel with a tasty lunch at . Choose from a variety of sandwiches, wraps, and salads made with fresh, high-quality ingredients.


  • Relax at Verona Park – Spend a relaxing evening at Verona Park. Take a leisurely walk around the lake, rent a paddleboat, or enjoy a picnic on the grass. The park also features a playground and tennis courts for those looking for more active pursuits.
  • Dinner at Ariane Kitchen & Bar – End your day with a delicious dinner at in Verona. This contemporary American restaurant offers a diverse menu featuring fresh, seasonal ingredients and creative cocktails.

Day 3: Art, Culture, and Shopping

On your final day in Cedar Grove, immerse yourself in local art, culture, and shopping. Visit a renowned art museum, explore a historic house, and discover unique shops and boutiques in Montclair.


  • Visit the Montclair Art Museum – Start your day with a visit to the Montclair Art Museum. Explore their extensive collection of American and Native American art, as well as their rotating exhibitions. Allow 2-3 hours for a thorough visit.
  • Brunch at Raymond’s – After your museum visit, enjoy brunch at Raymond’s in Montclair. This popular spot offers a delicious menu of classic brunch favorites, as well as a charming outdoor patio.


  • Explore the Van Vleck House & Gardens – Spend the afternoon exploring the beautiful Van Vleck House & Gardens in Montclair. Tour the historic house and stroll through the stunning gardens, which feature a variety of plants and flowers. Allow 1-2 hours for a leisurely visit.
  • Shopping in Montclair – After your visit to Van Vleck House, spend some time shopping in Montclair’s vibrant downtown area. Discover unique boutiques, antique shops, and art galleries, and don’t forget to stop for a coffee or snack at one of the many cafes and bakeries.


  • Dinner at Fascino – End your Cedar Grove adventure with a memorable dinner at Fascino in Montclair. This upscale Italian restaurant offers a modern twist on classic dishes, as well as an extensive wine list and elegant atmosphere.