It’s been a long 40 days.
Now that Easter Sunday is practically a hop’s length away as it falls on April 4, it’s time to start planning how you’ll celebrate the end of Lent and the start of spring with a family meal at Central Jersey restaurants.
If the only food you’ll be preparing this Easter is a basket full of chocolate bunnies, then check out these eateries throughout Somerset, Hunterdon, Middlesex and Union counties for a holiday meal:
Addams Tavern, Westfield
Brunch and dinner: Westfield’s stone and brick-lined destination named after the town’s favorite neighbor and cartoonist, Charles Addams (creator of “The Addams Family”), will offer Easter brunch and dinner with New American plates in a white-tablecloth setting.
Visit this local watering hole owned by the Harvest Restaurant Group during normal business hours (brunch 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and dinner from 4 to 9 p.m.) to order Easter dinner from their regular menu along with a few specials. Dishes include black pepper-crusted salmon, a Vermont cheddar burger and wood-fired baby back ribs.
Go: 115 Elm St., Westfield; 908-232-3201, addamstavern.com/
Catherine Lombardi, New Brunswick
Dinner: If you won’t be visiting your family this Easter, get to know Catherine Lombardi co-owner Mark Pascal’s family instead at this restaurant themed as his Italian grandmother’s living room — with an upscale touch — featuring details such as red walls, two cozy fireplaces and Italian-American comfort dishes.
The restaurant will be open for dinner on Easter from 3 to 7 p.m. with their regular a la carte menu, which includes dishes such as osso bucco, wild boar Bolognese, veal Parmigiana and steak Pizzaiola, with entree prices ranging from $20 to $47. Plus, its butcher shop will be open all weekend, selling “adult Easter baskets” starting at $75, which include cocktails and Champagne.
Go: 3 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick; 732-296-9463, catherinelombardi.com.
The Frog and the Peach, New Brunswick
Brunch and dinner: Consistently named as one of the best restaurants in the state, The Frog and the Peach always provides a high-end touch to holiday meals with their seasonal, modern and local American fare created by chef and owner Bruce Lefebvre.
Easter will be no different when the nearly 40-year-old destination offers a three-course brunch and dinner menu from noon to 7 p.m. for $65 per person. Options will include pastrami-style braised short rib served with root vegetable bread pudding, blueberry mostarda, pickled cauliflower and crispy shallots.
Go: 29 Dennis St., New Brunswick; 732-846-3216, frogandpeach.com.
Huntley Taverne, Summit
Brunch and dinner: This Easter, cozy up at the Huntley Taverne, which features a ski lodge-esque space with fireplaces and a patio. The upscale, New American eatery owned by the Harvest Restaurant Group will be open on the holiday during its normal business hours, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for brunch, 4 to 9 p.m. for dinner.
Selections will be from the regular menu alongside a few specials. Dishes include the Harvest pork chop, short rib pot pie, center cut filet mignon and lobster fra diavolo.
Go: 3 Morris Ave., Summit; 908-273-3166, thehuntleytaverne.com.
Lambertville Station, Lambertville
Brunch and dinner: Looking for an Easter destination with classic ambiance? Lambertville Station is located in a circa-1867 train station overlooking the Delaware River and offers some of the best views in town, alongside a classic American a la carte menu for both brunch and dinner.
Brunch, available from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., ranges from $13 to $16 per entree and will include dishes such as eggs Benedict, French toast, avocado toast and three cheese omelets. Dinner will be available from 2 to 10 p.m., with reservations until 8 p.m. Entrees ranging from $22 to $42 will include roasted rack of lamb, honey-roasted ham, wild mushroom Wellington and crab cakes.
Go: 11 Bridge St., Lambertville; 609-397-4400, lambertvillestation.com.
Orchard Park, East Brunswick
Brunch and dinner: Orchard Park, celebrity chef’s new restaurant on the grounds of 15-acre French country estate-inspired Park Chateau Estate and Gardens in East Brunswick, is one of the most hyped new restaurants in Central Jersey. Patrons can find an excuse to try it on Easter, when the upscale eatery offers both brunch and dinner.
An a la carte brunch menu will be available from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., and the a la carte dinner menu — available from 4-10 p.m. — will feature the restaurant’s signature dishes. Option include egg white frittata, lamb chops, roasted branzino, and steak and eggs.
Go: 670 Cranbury Rd., East Brunswick; 732-554-5714, orchardparkbydb.com.
Osteria Morini, Bernardsville
Brunch and dinner: At Osteria Morini, an upscale Italian bistro with locations throughout the United States including in Bernardsville, Easter gets an Italian twist with homemade pastas and modern additions to classic dishes.
On Easter Sunday, the restaurant will be open for brunch from 11 a.m.-2:15 p.m. with a two-course, $35 prix fixe menu with dishes such as spaghetti carbonara and frittata. It will also be open for dinner from 4-8 p.m. with a $59, three-course prix fixe menu. Dishes include pappardelle with lamb ragu and pan-seared duck breast. From their bake shop, they are also offering spring flower cupcakes and Easter-themed frosted sugar cookies.
Go: 107 Morristown Rd., Bernardsville; 908-221-0040, osteriamorini.com/bernardville-nj.
Roots Steakhouse, Summit
Dinner: With four locations, Roots Steakhouse, a member of the Harvest Restaurant Group, has become a powerhouse destination for steak, seafood and New American fare. On Easter, all Roots locations, including that in Summit, will be open during normal business hours for dinner served all day.
The steakhouse will be open from noon-9 p.m. for dinner, offering items from its regular menu as well as some specials. Choose from dishes such as a 20-ounce dry-aged Kansas City steak, 16-ounce double cut lamb chops, Chilean sea bass and live Maine lobster.
Go: 401 Springfield Ave, Summit; 908-273-0027, rootssteakhouse.com.
Stage Left Steak, New Brunswick
Brunch: Stage Left Steak, the nearly 30-year-old sister restaurant and downstairs neighbor to Catherine Lombardi, also will be open for business on Easter Sunday, offering some variations of their usual lunch-and-dinner staples to early birds.
The iconic yet contemporary steakhouse will serve brunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., offering a three-course prix-fixe menu which starts at $50 and includes items such as steak and eggs, Wagyu flatiron steak, a bacon and Vermont cheddar omelet, lobster tempura and escargot.
Go: 5 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick; 732-828-4444, stageleft.com.
Summit House, Summit
Takeout: You can still enjoy the Summit House’s New American fare from the comfort of home on Easter as the upscale restaurant is offering a takeout package to be picked up the day before the holiday between 3 and 4 p.m.
The four-person, $185 package includes roasted leg of lamb, maple-glazed ham, roasted carrots and peas, whipped potatoes, spring vegetable soup and double chocolate brownies. Cocktails to-go and a chicken fingers package for kids are also available.
Go: Order online at summithousenj.square.site, call 908-273-6000 for more information. Pickup is April 3 from 3 to 4 p.m.
Trap Rock Restaurant and Brewery, Berkeley Heights
Lunch and dinner: Want to trade in your Easter glass of wine for a microbrew? Trap Rock Restaurant and Brewery, a member of the Harvest Restaurant Group, offers housemade beers alongside American dishes with a Southern flair. It will be open during its normal business hours on Easter (lunch from noon to 4 p.m., dinner from 4 to 9 p.m.).
On the holiday, choose items from a selection of specials as well as the regular menu, which includes dishes such as house-smoked brisket, vegetable Bolognese, a fried chicken dinner and panko and horseradish-crusted salmon.
Go: 279 Springfield Ave., Berkeley Heights; 908-665-1755, traprockrestaurant.net.
Jenna Intersimone has been a staff member at the USA Today Network New Jersey since 2014, after becoming a blogger-turned-reporter following the creation of her award-winning travel blog. To get unlimited access to her stories about food, drink and fun, please subscribe or activate your digital account today. Contact: [email protected] or @JIntersimone.