Breaking Down Cuisine Options Around The Rock

Editor’s Note: Article was guest-written by Devils Army Blog admin Raj Vaidya.

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Many fans are concerned over food prices at the Prudential Center. -HFBoards.com

I hope we’re all excited for the 2017-18 NHL season. Our beloved New Jersey Devils will be opening their campaign at home against the Colorado Avalanche. The Rock truly will be rocking and we’re probably all hungry to see some Devils hockey. Speaking of hunger, who doesn’t get hungry at the games? I surely do, and noticed a problem at Prudential Center’s concession stands.

Let’s not lie to ourselves – the Devils were a financial mess under the Jeffrey Vanderbeek regime. Ever since Josh Harris, David Blitzer, Hugh Weber, and co. bought the team, I noticed the quality of food plummet. As us millennials would say, it went from 100 à 0 real quick. As bad as things were financially under Vanderbeek, I still used to look forward to the food at The Rock. My favorite concession was the “Gyro Zone”, because the chicken gyros were amazing and only cost $6.

The problem now? There’s less diversity in food choices, prices have increased, and quality of even the most basic of foods has gone down. In other words, the Prudential Center’s best food arguably being a basket of stale chicken tenders and soggy fries that’s almost $15, is really scary.

Even with changes in concessions, it still seems some of you enjoy the food, but aren’t too happy with the prices, which is reflected in the Twitter poll I took below.

Now I know that roughly 30 people isn’t a large enough sample size, however, it does give you some indication of what fans are thinking. The most popular response in that poll was “love it, but too expensive” and following that was “hate it and too expensive”. Clearly, the common factor in both responses is that food is too expensive. So we definitely don’t like how much the food costs, but some of us still like the food while others do not. Nonetheless, I did some research on food joints around The Rock and whether it’d be for saving money, trying something new, or anything really, Devils fans should know they don’t always have to settle for Prudential Center’s concessions.

Keep in mind Newark itself is a city that’s gone through some rough times over the years, so you may not have the same variety you’d find in New York City. However, since the Devils moved to Newark, many restaurants have opened and are more than happy to serve fans. I broke them down into categories so you can pick and choose which ones you’d be most interested in. The best part? The places mentioned below are all affordable and tasty options.

 

Pizza/Italian

Queen Pizza has two locations in Newark. -Newark Pulse

When you’re in North Jersey, pizza is always a go-to option for something quick, delicious, and cheap. There’s a high chance that pizza places will include Italian cuisine as well, so I’ve combined them into one category and would highly recommend the following options below…

  • Queen Pizza II – This local pizza franchise has two stores, both of which offer thin-crust- and for under $5/slice (you’d be paying that if you chose to buy pizza from Prudential Center’s concessions). However, due to proximity reasons, I picked the store closer to the arena.
    1. Location: 48 Commerce St.
    2. Distance from Prudential Center: 0.2 miles
    3. Hours: 9 AM – 6 PM weekdays ; closed on weekends
    4. Phone number: (973) 242-1829
  • Blaze Pizza – This is another local pizza place that is actually one of my favorites. I’ve been here a couple of times. The only downside is Blaze gets so busy (because the pizza is so good!). However, if you arrive early enough, it’s a decision you won’t regret.
    1. Location: 691 Broad St.
    2. Distance from Prudential Center: 0.5 miles
    3. Hours: 10:30 AM – 8 PM Monday – Thursday ; 10:30 AM – 9 PM Friday – Saturday
    4. Phone number: (973) 206-4278
  • Mercato Tomato Pie – I personally have never been here, however, many friends have. They’ve told me the pizza tastes better than some places you’ll find in New York City. You won’t be paying a fortune either for a few slices or any other Italian dish. I’ll certainly give Meracto Tomato Pie a shot this season.
    1. Location: 212 Market St
    2. Distance from Prudential Center: 0.2 miles
    3. Hours: 11 AM – 10 PM (all 7 days of the week)
    4. Phone number: (973) 424-9000

 

Mediterranean

Mediterranean cuisine blends spices, vegetables, and meats in a really unique way. Here are some of my favorite Mediterranean spots near The Rock.

  • Turkish Pita Place –This might arguably be one of my favorite restaurants in all of Newark. I love Mediterranean cuisine, so this was definitely a big hit for me. I highly recommend the chicken kebab or falafel platter (but their menu is very diverse so have a look).
    1. Location: 150 Halsey St
    2. Distance from Prudential Center: 0.3 miles
    3. Hours: 11 AM – 7 PM Monday – Friday ; 12 PM – 6 PM Saturday ; closed Sunday
    4. Phone number: (973) 799-0600
  • The Halal Guys – If you guys haven’t heard already, The Halal Guys used to be one food truck in New York City that served delicious platters and gyros. Because their food is so good, they’ve now expanded to different parts of the tristate area. If you haven’t had food from The Halal Guys, now is your chance. Their menu is very basic, you can either get a gyro (basically a sandwich) or platter (whatever was in your sandwich but on top of rice). Think of it like a burrito vs. bowl at Chipotle. Your choice of protein will either be falafel (vegetarian), chicken, or beef & lamb and all go well with The Halal Guys’ signature white sauce.
    1. Location: 72 Halsey St
    2. Distance from Prudential Center: 0.5 miles
    3. Hours: 10 AM – 11 PM Sunday – Thursday ; 10 AM – 12 PM Friday – Saturday
    4. Phone number: (973) 877-3759

 

Oriental

Years ago, Chinese restaurants used to be separate from Japanese and Korean restaurants. However, due to globalization, we’ll see a mix of each East Asian country’s dishes in a certain restaurant, regardless of self-branding. You could find Japanese entrees in Chinese restaurants and vice versa.

  • Wok to Walk – This unique little setting offers customers a chance to build their own wok dish. The stir fry here is absolutely on point and worth the try, even with the busy crowd. For our vegetarian and vegan friends, this is definitely a place you want to consider since they have several choices for you.
    1. Location: 695 Broad St.
    2. Distance from Prudential Center: 0.4 miles
    3. Hours: Monday – Thursday 11 AM – 10 PM ; Friday – Saturday 11 AM – 11 PM ; Sunday 11 AM – 9 PM
    4. Phone number: (973) 622-2681
  • Nizi Sushi – If you’re a fan of Japanese cuisine, you might want to try this restaurant. I know there are some sushi lovers on the Devils Army Blog page, and this is probably the best place to find sushi in all of Newark. It’s under a mile away from the Rock so while it seems far, I definitely think Nizi Sushi is worthwhile because it’s delicious, inexpensive, plus you can get your daily workout in while walking to The Rock.
    1. Location: 28 Central Ave
    2. Distance from Prudential Center: 0.7 miles
    3. Hours: 11:30 AM – 10 PM Monday – Friday ; 3 – 10 PM Saturday; closed Sunday
    4. Phone number: (973) 622-5300

 

Additional Mentions

Around since 1962, players like Nico Hischier have made visits to Hobby’s Deli. -NJ.com

  • Dario’s – Authentic Mexican food for a great price? I don’t mind that at all. Their ingredients are fresh and you can really feel that when you take a bite into one of their enchiladas, quesadillas, or burritos (yes they have bowls too).
    1. Location: 20 Academy St
    2. Distance from Prudential Center: 0.4 miles
    3. Hours: 11 AM – 7 PM Monday – Friday ; 12 – 4 PM Saturday; closed Sunday
    4. (973) 741-1106
  • Taqueria Los Gueros – Another authentic Mexican place that arguably is one of Dario’s competitors. It’s a good problem when you’re the customer though because you have so many options. I think the menu here isn’t as diverse as Dario’s, but it has cheaper prices, the food is excellent, and it’s a bit quieter than Dario’s.
    1. Location: 833 Broad St
    2. Distance from Prudential Center: 0.2 miles
    3. Hours: 10 AM – 10 PM (all 7 days of the week)
    4. (973) 424-0289
  • Hobby’s Delicatessen & Restaurant – This Jewish deli is a classic in Newark. Serving customers since 1962, Hobby’s takes pride in serving Devils fans. Many of you might recognize Hobby’s as the deli where Nico Hischier visited after he was drafted back in June. They offer classic American cuisine – soups, sandwiches, salads, burgers, hotdogs, wraps, hoagies, and a variety of options for vegetarians and vegans.
    1. Location: 32 Branford Pl
    2. Distance from Prudential Center: 0.2 miles
    3. Hours: 7 am – 4:15 PM Monday – Friday ; 10:45 AM – 2: 45 PM Saturday ; closed Sunday NOTE: Hobby’s has mentioned that on Devils game days, they will only be open until the start of the game. Plan accordingly.
    4. Phone number: (973) 623-0410
  • Golden Krust Bakery and Grill – I went here a few years ago and would absolutely return. This restaurant offers Caribbean cuisine. I’m not sure if any of you ever tried jerk chicken before, but it’s exquisite. There are also some curry dishes at Golden Krust that go well with rice. If you ever wondered what food in the Caribbean tastes like, then this is your place.
    1. Location: 197 Market St
    2. Distance from Prudential Center: 335 ft. (yeah you’re basically at The Rock at this point)
    3. Hours: 8 AM – 8 PM Monday – Thursday ; 8 AM – 9 PM Friday ; 8 AM – 7 PM Saturday ; 11 AM – 5 PM Sunday
    4. Phone number: (973) 643-0701

 

As we get ourselves ready for the 2017-18 NHL season, I wanted to make sure we were all aware of our food options. I believe the restaurants above should be your go-to places for affordable and delicious food before Devils games, and maybe even after (if the restaurants are open).

Nonetheless, even if you’re a fan of the Prudential Center concessions, I urge you to try something new and give back to the hard working people of Newark. They don’t charge a fortune for delicious food, so what could be better? The New Jersey Devils have brought new life into the city, and I believe we can make our community stronger by trying some food at local Newark eateries.

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