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As dining in becomes a forced trend, restaurants step up to lend a hand
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As dining in becomes a forced trend, restaurants step up to lend a hand

Angelo’s Fairmount Tavern

It’s a new way of life in South Jersey. Our beloved nightlife scene is firmly on pause for the foreseeable future, which includes dining out. Of course that leaves us only one option: dining in. And though most folks have fully stocked their pantries with enough ingredients to last an ice age, the truth is that cooking every single meal at home can be a chore. Luckily, takeout has proven to be a welcome option, and many of the top restaurants in our area are still open and offering a variety of tasty dishes for locals to enjoy.

2300 Fairmount Ave., Atlantic City

609-344-2439, AngelosFairmountTavern.com

When it comes to Atlantic City and Italian food, the first place you think about is Angelo’s. And you should. Not only is the food great, but the place is legendary, opening in 1935. While I sometimes go out of my way just to pick up an order of their fried ravioli – the best I ever had thanks to their spiciness and awesome marinara sauce to dip you really should check out their family-style takeout dinners available 3 to 8 p.m. that are a super steal. There are a bunch of options for $45 that include pasta, salad and bread and feeds four to six people, but the standouts are the lasagna with meatballs and sausage, chicken parm with pasta and boneless chicken cacciatore with red sauce over pasta. For $5 more you can add a mini cannoli tray. The portions are huge, and the food is amazing.

Back Bay Ale House

800 N. New Hampshire Ave.

609-449-0006, BackBayAleHouse.com

Located in Gardner’s Basin, the laid-back vibe at the picturesque Back Bay Ale House has made this spot a favorite for locals and tourists alike since 2003. Though the giant Basin Mason cocktails are not available for takeout, the food is, and Back Bay features a great pub menu with an island-y, Key West-style flair. Their jerk chicken wings are superb, as are the current specials which include themed nightly deals Mondays through Thursdays as well as their “two for $40” deal, which includes two entrees served with choice of house or Caesar salad and dessert.

Barrels of Margate

8409 Ventnor Ave. Margate

609-823-4400, BarrelsMargate.com

Originally a South Philly favorite, Barrels has been in the business of serving scrumptious Italian favorites since 1959. The menu is stacked with hearty classics like chicken parm, eggplant rollantini and linguine with clam sauce, any of which are sure to satisfy. However, the true beauty of Barrels menu is its flexibility. You can build your own salads, sandwiches and pasta dishes by playing mix and match with a variety of ingredients, sauces, toppings and add-ons. If we had to choose one? We’re going with the homemade meatball sub with sharp provolone, fried hot peppers and marinara for the win.

B.F. Mazzeo

601 New Road, Northfield

609-641-6608, BFMazzeo.com

Although known best as a produce market, B.F. Mazzeo will surprise you with the awesome array of prepared foods they offer, from homemade pies (try the coconut cream) to made-from-scratch soups (Italian wedding is a winner) to fresh-squeezed juices, B.F. Mazzeo doesn’t disappoint. But you have to try one of their specialty breads that are like strombolis with flavors that include cheesesteak, pepperoni and cheese, spinach and cheese and more. Throw them in your toaster oven, and you have a great, quick meal.

China Sea

662 White Horse Pike

609-569-1995, ChinaSeaOfAbsecon.com

China Sea has offered guests some of the tastiest Chinese food in the area for the last quarter century. A truly massive menu awaits, with just about all the usual suspects on it. Of course their versions of Chinese food standards like sesame chicken, Hunan shrimp and fried dumplings are all top-notch, but we suggest you add on a few not-so-common menu items to your order, such as the chili shrimp or the fried apples a battered, deep-fried, sugar-coated treat that will serve as a far superior ending to a meal than any fortune cookie could ever hope to achieve.

Deauville Inn

201 Willard Road, Strathmere

609-263-2080, DeauvilleInn.com

Craving something fresh from the sea? Here’s your answer: A beloved staple of the Strathmere dining scene, the Deauville Inn produces some of the tastiest seafood dishes around, in addition to salads, burgers and some legendary wings. You’d be wise to try the crab cake sandwich, available broiled or fried with housemade deviled crab topped with lettuce and tomato on a brioche bun, or perhaps the Delaware flounder, another personal favorite which is also available broiled or fried with lemon and butter and comes paired with a salad and two sides. Want to bring home dinner for the whole family? Deauville Inn is currently offering daily specials on family-style meals that feed four to six people. We like the fried seafood combo, which comes with four flounder filets, eight scallops, eight shrimp and four crab cakes with sides of old bay fries and mixed veggies for $60.

Eat @ Joe’s

6105 W. Jersey Ave., Egg Harbor Township

609-484-8877, EatAtJoesEHT.com

Owner Joe Massaglia was born and raised in Tonino, Italy, before coming to America, and the authenticity of his cooking shows in every bite of his superb Italian cuisine. His Egg Harbor Township restaurant Eat @ Joe’s - offers a mix of everything including cold and hot subs, paninis, wraps, gourmet burgers, specialty pizzas, pastas, flatbreads, salads and soups. But if you are looking to save a few bucks, we recommend checking out one of his special family bundles, the best of which includes a chicken or eggplant parm dinner for two to three people plus two large cheese pizzas and a large salad for $44. Or if you are just in the mood for a classic pizza, all large cheese pies can be had for $10, with small pies available for $8.

Essl’s Dugout

7001 E. Black Horse Pike, West Atlantic City

609-646-0637, EsslsDugoutNJ.com

The Hettmansperger family is really stepping up during this crisis. They are not only turning out the amazing breakfast, lunch and dinner food that you would expect, but they have also changed their place into a mini grocery store, making essentials easy to buy at affordable prices. So you can order a cheeseburger or their great dinner specials for $10 (ex. meatloaf, mashed potatoes, vegetable) and pick up milk, eggs, butter, cheese and even bacon-wrapped filet mignon that you can cook at home. But there are two things you have to get: Carey’s homemade chicken pot pies ($10 for individual) that is mind blowing, and their famous Mess’l, a breakfast sandwich with your choice of meat, egg, home fries and cheese all on a Kaiser roll.

Gaspare’s Italian Bistro

501 Zion Road, Egg Harbor Township

609-653-2112, Gaspares.com

While I will undoubtedly drop by Gaspare’s like I always do – for the best roasted turkey sub in South Jersey, I will also consider ordering a full dinner from this Italian fixture in Egg Harbor Township. If you’ve never had their lasagna, this is a good time to do so. $60 will net you a huge take’n bake or hot-and-ready portion of their famous layered Italian dish that includes garlic bread and choice of Caesar or tossed salad (with choice of dressing).

Gregory’s Restaurant & Bar

900 Shore Road, Somers Point

609-927-6665, GregorysRestaurantAndBar.letseat.at

If you thought you have to wait a little while before you can devour some tacos on Taco Tuesday and Thursday, don’t fret: Gregory’s is offering their famous tacos family style. Feeding four to six people, $30 will include hard shells, sour cream, ground beef, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce and salsa. You also don’t have to wait to have Gregory’s acclaimed soups or their amazing burgers that helped them win the inaugural Atlantic City Burger Bash. And they are even doing other family-style grab & gos that feed four to six people and include Caesar salad and bread. My picks are the fresh-roasted turkey ($40) with mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy, and the jumbo lump crab cakes ($60) with cocktail and tartar sauces.

Mama Mia’s

4 W. Roosevelt Blvd. Marmora

609-624-9322, MamaMiasNJ.com

This new location of Mama Mia’s also owned by Joe Massaglia sprouted up last year, nine months after the shuttering of the original spot in Seaville. But fear not: All your favorites from the old spot remain. Standouts on this menu of mouth-watering dishes include the Penne Mama with oil, garlic, sage, prosciutto, onion and peas in a rosa sauce with marsala wine and cognac; and the Ed Hitzel Favorite, a 10-ounce brisket/chuck/short rib burger blend topped with house-cured bacon, tomato jam, caramelized onions and cheddar cheese. Mama Mia’s is currently closed, but will open April 8, so get your orders ready.

Micchelli’s Pizza

558 New Road, Somers Point

609-927-9753, Micchelis.com

Micchelli’s Pizza has been around for close to 30 years, and there is a reason: They make damn good food. Italian classics dot the menu at this popular Somers Point eatery, but what makes them stand out are the entrees you didn’t see coming. Case in point, the flounder parmigiana. How many places do you know that have flounder parmigiana on the menu? Micchelli’s does, and it’s a great option for anyone who is sick of the same old veal and chicken. The blackened shrimp alfredo also makes our greatest hits list as a must-try for seafood lovers and those looking for a tasty twist on an old favorite.

Naomi’s Café

801 Tilton Road, Northfield

609-380-2865, or Naomi’s Café on Facebook

This cute breakfast and lunch spot hands down has the most underrated wings in Atlantic County. Their spicy Thai wings are crispy and the perfect balance of sweet and spicy. They also have great breakfast specials, including huevos rancheros and homemade biscuits and sausage gravy. But the deal of the century is that their usual early birds breakfast special is offered all day: two slices of your choice of breakfast meat, two eggs, two pancakes or french toast for just $3.99!! And check out their daily specials like lemon meringue pancakes and the chicken cordon bleu sandwich.

Pulia

5210 Atlantic Ave.,Ventnor

609-727-0395, PuliaUSA.com

Celebrating the tastes of southern Italy, Pulia is a casual Italian eatery in Ventnor that has made a name for itself recently. Offering some incredible authentic Italian dishes prepared with the freshest ingredients, this small, yet inviting spot strays from the obvious at times, offering some less common pasta options such as Campania, a homemade tagliolini long strands of pasta somewhere between capellini and tagliatelle in width - with Datterino tomatoes and basil as well as an array of artisan pizzas prepared in their open-flame oven. Try the Andrea, which comes topped with fig jam, fresh stracciatella (an Italian soft cheese), smoked prosciutto and fresh rosemary. And now is the time to get your money’s worth at Pulia as right now all orders are 30 percent off.

Rose’s Garden Grill

2605 New Road, Northfield, and in The Exchange, 80 W. Jimmie Leeds Road, Galloway

609-646-1763 for Northfield, 609-867-6522 in Galloway, RosesGardenGrill.com

Their cheesesteaks are insane and offer real Whiz if you want it; their chicken cutlets are hands-down the best in South Jersey; they take their Italians very seriously with quite a few options no one else offers; and their specialty sandwiches and items will blow your mind. Even their soups and chili will have you hooked. But the secret weapon on the menu is hands down The F&L, a crazy-good buffalo chicken chimichanga that is equally sweet, spicy and scrumptious.

Sofia

9314 Amherst Ave., Margate

609-822-9111, SofiaOfMargate.com

While it’s a tragedy not to be able to enjoy the downright gorgeous dining atmosphere at Sofia, we can say with confidence that if there is one thing that matches the enchanting atmosphere at this lovely Greek restaurant, it’s the food itself. Luckily that is still available thanks to the wonders of takeout. And the truth is you could blindfold yourself and throw a dart at the menu and you would still end up with an exquisite meal, but if you are looking for suggestions, we love to start with the spanakopita flatbread with spinach, leeks and feta before diving in headfirst to the whole branzino Latholemono, a Mediterranean bass grilled over an open fire with olive oil, lemon and herbs. Sofia also is currently offering family-style takeout specials, including the chicken dinner (a whole roasted chicken with Mediterranean roasted potatoes and salad) for $40, the pasta Sofia dinner (penne pasta with grilled chicken breast, mushrooms, roasted red peppers and edamame) for $40, or the shrimp and pasta dinner (shrimp in a basil marinara or scampi sauce with salad) for $50.

TacoCat

2110 New Road, Linwood

609-904-2329, TacoCatLinwood.com

When TacoCat opened around the corner from my house in The Exchange, it was bad for my already horrendous waistline. TacoCat’s nachos are the things foodie dreams are made of, with awesome corn tortilla chips fried in house and loaded with your choice of ground beef, chicken or pork, plus the best queso in South Jersey, pico de gallo, pickled jalapenos, homemade guacamole and lime crema. Finish with a churro sundae. You can thank me later.

Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall

133 S. Tennessee Ave., Atlantic City

609-541-4099, TennesseeAvenueBeerHall.com

If you have ever been to Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall, you already know their burgers are second to none. Whether you choose the straightforward American Beauty, the Smokestack Lightning with smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, onion strings and BBQ aioli, or the Onion Believable Burger, which is like french onion soup on a burger, you can’t go wrong. Their hot dogs are particularly awesome, including the Oriental with kimchi and sweet chili mustard. Their wings, traditional buffalo and their Wing Wars-winning sweet soy wings with chipotle citrus and Sambal blue cheese, are quickly gaining legendary status. But their entrees are underrated. So use this time to try their meatloaf with shiitake gravy and mac and cheese for just $12, or their seared chicken breast with penne in a vodka rosa sauce for just $12, or treat yourself to a New York strip steak and fries. They are also one of the only places you will find beer to-go available for curbside pickup, and they are doing it on the cheap: $15 for 64 ounces of any of their 40 beers on tap ($5 more if you need a growler) and $12 for a mix and match four-pack of any of their 100 bottled and canned beers. And if you’re a first responder or healthcare worker, you get 20 percent off your order!

Tony’s Baltimore Grill

2800 Atlantic Ave., Atlantic City

609-345-5766, TonysBaltimoreGrillAC.com

So it’s a no-brainer you have to get a pizza at this Atlantic City icon, particularly their meatball pie or the Nino’s Favorite with homemade sausage and cherry peppers. But if you never had their signature fried shrimp ($15.99) served with fries, slaw and house salad, then treat yourself to the best fried shrimp on the planet. Double your order for $26!!

Tony Beef

195 S. New York Road, Galloway

609-377-5744, TonyBeef.com

Tony Beef offers one of the tastiest burgers in all of South Jersey, but great beef is but one of many reasons people can’t get enough of this Galloway fave. Their menu offers up beef, chicken, bison and even veggie burgers alongside a rotating cast of “beasts of the month,” which can include anything from gator to camel. With so many rotating choices, it’s hard to have a standard order here, but we’re pretty sure that a double kobe burger with pepper Jack cheese, tomato, arugula, bacon jam and bacon mayo on a pretzel bun is not going to disappoint anyone. Grab a side of mac and cheese and a frosted sugar cookie milkshake and you’ll be all set.

Towne and Country Cafe

501 Zion Road, Egg Harbor Township,

609-926-0079

A myriad of tasty indulgences await at Towne and Country Café, a popular early-bird spot in Egg Harbor Township. You can’t go wrong with the sweet and savory combo of the crumbled bacon pancakes, or the classic Southern charm of the sausage gravy over biscuits served with a hefty side of home fries. Lunch and dinner options like the BBQ bacon and cheddar cheesesteak are well worth the calories and should be promptly ordered without too much overthinking. Breakfast is served all day, but hours vary as far as takeout, so call ahead just to be sure.

Ventura’s Greenhouse

106 S. Benson Ave. in Margate

609-822-0140, VenturasGreenhouse.com

Another Margate hotspot, Ventura’s stands just off the beach in the shadow of Lucy The Elephant, South Jersey’s most famous man-made elephant. The large and well-rounded menu offers something for everyone, but the blackened chicken flatbread with mozzarella cheese, apple, arugula and rice vinegar is a must try, as is the chicken melt, which is served grilled and topped with fresh spinach and provolone cheese. If those don’t strike your fancy, a large assortment of pizzas, salads pastas and sandwiches are sure to do the trick.

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