2017’s Most Anticipated Newcomers

2016 was an explosive year for downtown’s food scene. It bought us new favorites such as The Kitchen Step, Cellar 335, Pet Shop, and Vogue Cafe. If 2016 is any example, 2017 should be an equally exciting year. Here are the eateries we’re most excited about for the new year.

Ani Ramen

We’ve been waiting for Ani Ramen’s Jersey City debut since late March. The Montclair ramen house has won the accolades of The New York Times, and more importantly, of its loyal customers. Construction at its new home at 218 Newark Avenue has already commenced and will include a full bar, outdoor courtyard with yakatori menu, and a late-night food menu.

Hard Grove

It’s been over two years since Hard Grove shuttered its Grove Street-based restaurant, so we were thrilled to learn at this year’s All About Downtown Fest that the Cuban restaurant is expected to open in early 2017. Its new home will be located at 328 Montgomery, which interestingly enough already has a Facebook page under the name Havana Mamma, which describes itself as a “Cuban Cuisine Restaurant in the Heart of Downtown Jersey City.” There’s even a sneak peek of Havana Mamma’s menu online. Only time will tell what they have in store for downtown.

Po-kay Bowl

The poké craze will continue into 2017 as Po-kay Bowl brings those delicious bowls to the heart of the Village at 283 Newark Avenue. Not much has changed on the exterior side of the restaurant, but we’re hoping 2017 will bring about more updates and a grand opening.

Corgi Spirits

Ever since Have a Night broke the news of Jersey City’s first distillery, we’ve been eagerly anticipating the launch of Corgi Spirits. The small-batch distiller is looking to open in early 2017 at 150 Pacific Avenue. At launch, Corgi Spirits will produce three liquors including a six times distilled vodka and Earl Grey gin. Even better, Corgi will donate a portion of its profits to local dog rescue group, See Spot Rescued.

El Cocotero

New York City’s El Cocotero is opening its first Jersey City outpost at 749 Bergen Avenue in McGinley Square, reports Jersey Digs. The Chelsea-based El Cocotero has been a hidden gem for years and we particularly like that it spotlights not just arepas, but a variety of Venezuelan dishes like pabellón criollo and hallaca.

H Bar at the Hyatt House

Hyatt House Jersey City has been in the works since 2014. Late this summer we got a glimpse of the rooftop hotel — H Bar — that’s expected to debut simultaneously with the hotel. H Bar will offer unparalleled views of New York and a retractable roof that can close during inclement weather. It proves that the waterfront will be a hot neighborhood yet again in the new year.

Frankie Bar & Eatery

Frankie’s made a few appearances at this summer’s Silverman Block Party and most recently at the Winter Project Market, but the Grove Street-based restaurant isn’t scheduled to open until spring of 2017. Nevertheless, we can’t wait to dig into their clean, Australian-inspired fare and natural wines.

Midnight Market

Midnight Market is a food lover’s paradise offering delicious, international eats on the cheap. The monthly festival debuted to a massive crowd in early November and although it’s on hiatus in January, it’s slated to come back for its third foodie celebration on February 10. The event combines local favorites like House of Gains and Garden Steaks with neighboring vendors like Joon Rice and Sigsig City. We can’t wait to see what they have in store for 2017.