June is Pride Month, a time to recognize and celebrate love, equality and the impact lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people and beyond have on our communities. And what better way to spread that love and awareness than to support your local LGBTQ-owned food businesses in New Jersey, in June or any month?
In fact, New Jersey is continuing to make strides for the LGBTQ+ community as last month Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order to officially recognize LGBTQ+ businesses in the state.
These local owners not only take pride in how they love, but also in what they do. See below for our list of restaurants, bars, and businesses to check out around the state.
Georgie’s has been Asbury Park’s premier LGBTQ+ dive-bar hangout for almost 20 years. The neighborhood bar offers the classic bar bites, cocktails, drag show brunches and DJ music. Not to mention their karaoke nights, which are locally legendary. This is a cash-only bar, but don’t worry there’s an ATM machine inside.
Starting as a small storefront in Ocean Grove in 1995 and moving to its current location in Asbury Park in 2002, Moonstruck has been serving the Jersey Shore community for 27 years. This restaurant lies in a multi-story Victorian-style building with multiple windows and wrap around porches – offering both indoor and outdoor dining. Inspiration for their dishes is drawn from the Mediterranean using fresh ingredients, quality oils, and whole grains.
As part of The Empress Hotel in Asbury Park, Paradise is a gay nightclub best known for its fundraisers, drag shows, and Miss Paradise Pageant. A dance party destination since 1999, the place is complete with a pool, video bar, dance floor and coffee room. They also host weekly events so make sure to check their website daily!
Ever had a huge craving for folder but wanted it in a flash? Look no further than Pasta Volo. Cathy Bergarno and her team dela cook the pasta, sauces, and toppings from scratch in this small but mighty pasta shop.
Think of it like Chipotle but in folder form. You get a Chinese takeout box with your choice of pasta (campanelli, gemelli, mafalde, shells, fettuccine), sauce, protein, cheese, veggies, and toppings made to order. Enjoy it on the go!
A quaint and cozy cafe to grab a bite for breakfast and lunch in the heart of Asbury Park with a pride flag hanging proudly outside. They have all your brunch fixings – pancakes, omelets, and wraps, along with daily breakfast and weekend specials.
What first started out as an idea from a meal-prep service has grown into a fully run storefront in South Jersey. Brennah Lambert’s “plant-based, gluten-free, urban cafe” has one simple mission – “good food that brings you back.”
Serving both brunch and dinner, Lambert wanted to create a restaurant that not only has healthy, delicious food but also a place of inclusivity, hence the name.
This coffee shop brews all the classics as well as their specials including the mango peach latte and the salted caramel affogato. All of their single origin beans are roasted in house and they even offer a coffee subscription to deliver the beans that fit your needs.
For an authentic Portuguese experience, this restaurant owned by Dimas Nobre serves a tapas menu, daily specials, a signature cocktail list and more near Harrison’s Red Bull Arena.
Whether you’re drawn to the paella, octopus, or flame-grilled chorizo, Joia is the perfect place to bring family and friends together, enjoy a date night, or to watch your favorite sporting events on one of their many big-screen televisions .
This newly-cafe owned by Milton Canales offers assorted breakfast and lunch packages, desserts, coffee, and catering services.
As a gay man, Canales wanted to create a home for people who are part of the LGBTQ+ community, making sure diners never feel uncomfortable in his cafe.
One of the first distilleries in Jersey City crafts and serves gin, whiskey and vodka and was named one of New Jersey’s 18 most popular bars of 2018.
Despite their awesome homemade spirits, the business also supports and donates to animal rescues and the Hudson Pride Center.
This historic neighborhood craft bar has been serving the Jersey City community with its 50 craft beers and 16-ounce cocktails since 2009. Every night they offer drink specials or events such as “Big Shot Sundays,” and live trivia on Wednesdays.
At Union Coffee they believe, “coffee is community.” In fact, Gov. Phil Murphy last month to sign visited an executive order officially recognizing LGBTQ+ businesses in New Jersey.
Union Coffee offers a variety of hot and cold coffees, teas, smoothies, and cafe eats. They’re opened seven days a week; be sure to check out their live music on most Sundays.
Missy and Kelly Addison always had a dream of owning a café. In 2015, that dream became a reality when they bought what was once known as Main Street Café. They offer a complete breakfast and lunch menu with all the works such as French toast, pancakes, and omelets. They even have a menu for furry friends that come in!
Husbands George Constantinou and Farid Ali own a few restaurants in Brooklyn: Bogota Latin Bistro, Miti Modern Mexican, and Medusa Greek Taverna. However, they wanted to expand to New Jersey to continue paying tribute to their Pan-Latin heritage and spread their mission of what Latin culture and food means to them. Check out Miti Miti Latin Street Food for all your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and party needs.
After being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, Amanda Vargas went on a dairy and gluten-free diet where she saw an overall improvement in her health. She wanted to open a restaurant for people going through similar issues or are looking for a healthier and more nutritious option.
That is when Fettle and Fare was born. Since 2017, this kitchen has been serving the Westfield area with its completely gluten and dairy-free menu along with its hormone and antibiotic-free, grass-fed meat.
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Lauren Musni may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @Laurengmusni. find NJ.com on Facebook.