NYC is generally regarded as the deli capital of the world. Old school delis have existed for well over a century and are forever intertwined into the city’s history.
But that’s not the only place to find an amazing sandwich. Cross over the Hudson River, and you’ll quickly learn that New Jersey is a deli mecca in its own right.
Here are our top picks for the best delis in the Garden State.
Deli King of Clark
This is a family-run spot that has been around for over 33 years. With an emphasis on tradition, you can expect the classics at Deli King of Clark.
Pastrami, corned beef and brisket — you’ll find it all here. They also have some delicious open-faced sandwiches that are served over rye with gravy.
Jerry and Harvey’s Deli
This Brooklyn-style deli has been winning over locals in Englishtown since the mid-80s — they even do catering. If you get a chance to check out Jerry and Harvey’s, the hot open sandwiches covered in gravy are the way to go (if you’re really hungry!). You can get one with roast turkey, roast beef, brisket or tongue.
Harold’s New York Deli
Although this is a New York-style style deli, it’s actually located in Edison, New Jersey. Over the years, Harold’s has earned a reputation for offering patrons some of the most ridiculously huge sandwiches, with the X-Large feeding up to seven people.
One of their top sellers is the New York’s Best Corned Beef. But you can also find a wide variety of other delectables including salami, pastrami, beef tongue and liverwurst.
Located in Newark, Hobby’s Deli has been run by the Brummer family since 1962. During that time, they’ve been serving up mouthwatering sandwiches, burgers and more and have an incredibly loyal legion of customers.
Try their old world tender pastrami or house-cured corned beef. Or, if you’re really hungry, opt for one of Sam’s overstuffed sandwich combos like “Triple-Decker Special” or “The Bad Boy,” which are sure to please.
Cosmo’s Italian Salumeria
If you’re craving some insanely delicious Italian fare, you’ll want to head straight to Cosmo’s in Hackensack. Here, you’ll find iconic deli meats like prosciutto and capicola as well the mouthwatering mozzarella sandwich.
Hawk Krall writes at Saveur that the place has a strange silence to it, like many legendary food establishments, that make you feel like you’re somewhere ancient and profound. He also points out that it’s located within a mile of at least a dozen Soprano’s filming locations, which definitely adds to the ambiance.
Fred & Murray’s Kosher Deli
Fred & Murray’s is another iconic New Jersey deli with roots going back more than half a century. Everything is strictly kosher with an emphasis on using only the highest quality ingredients.
Here, you’ll find corned beef, hard salami and even “pastramiroast beef” sandwiches as well as some killer knishes. If you’re an old school deli purist, you won’t want to miss out on this spot.
Lox Stock & Deli
Located in Milltown, this is “New Jersey’s best source for everything kosher.” Go with one of their outstanding classic sandwiches like the hot pastrami, corned beef or hard salami.
Or, if you’re really hungry, try an overstuffed combination sandwich or a triple-decker, which are stacked with all of the meat you can stomach (in the best possible way). Lox Stock & Deli has it all and was even voted the best kosher deli in the state by NewJersey.com in 2013.
Lotito’s Deli & Bakery
This is a fantastic spot for authentic Italian sandwiches. At Lotito’s, you can find some truly behemoth subs ranging anywhere from one to six feet in length. They also offer the “Gigantic Ringside Sandwich” that’s jam-packed with premium cuts of meat (it serves 15, so bring friends).
Besides their sandwiches, Lotito’s has their own bakery where they serve up their award-winning cannolis along with other made-from-scratch favorites.
The Fredon Deli
The Fredon Deli was opened by Chris and Kathy Kaltsas in 1993 and has been wowing customers with an epic assortment of subs and sandwiches ever since.
Here, you’ll find top-quality cuts of roast beef, turkey and liverwurst. You can also sink your teeth into one of their famous three-foot subs — sure to tame even the most ravenous of appetites.
Goodman’s Deli & Restaurant
Here’s a deli in Berkeley Heights that was opened all the way back in 1943. Over the years, Goodman’s has developed a reputation satiating its patrons with Jewish classics like cured corned beef and pastrami.
On top of this, you’ll find other tasty sandwiches like boiled ham, beef tongue and Hebrew National Salami. Or, if you’re really famished, go with one of their triple-deckers or jumbo combos. Everything is homemade and cooked to perfection.
Giovanni’s Italian Deli
If you’re looking for an old school, no nonsense culinary institution, Giovanni’s will definitely scratch that itch.
Known as “the home of New Jersey’s best fresh mozzarella,” this place has all of the cold and hot sandwich favorites you could ever desire. Be sure to try the staples like a hot sopressata or prosciutto with mozzarella, roasted pepper with balsamic dressing for a taste that truly pops.
This place has been around for 61 years and is a must for classic deli seekers. Located in Newark, Bragman’s has all of the favorites like hot pastrami, brisket, corned beef and beef liverwurst.
But you can also choose from one of their in-house specialities like the famous “Janice Special,” a triple-decker with pastrami, corned beef, turkey, coleslaw and Russian dressing. If you’re looking for a true throwback with classic charm, Bragman’s is a must.
Preakness Gourmet Deli
Here’s a delightful little spot in Wayne that’s been serving up amazing sandwiches since 1982.
Preakness offers a variety of favorites using only the highest quality ingredients. Take your pick from one of their specialty heroes, like the hot pastrami with melted Swiss and coleslaw, or opt for a flour tortilla wrap like the breaded chicken cutlet.
Roosevelt’s Homestyle American Deli
Roosevelt’s is all about using fresh ingredients to provide its customers with some of the most popular American favorites.
Here, you’ll find some amazing specialty sandwiches like “The Belly Buster” with roast beef, turkey, ham, American and provolone cheese and “The Little Nicky” with cappy, Genoa salami, pepperoni and provolone.
They also have a delicious breakfast menu for a hearty morning fill-up.
Here’s a place that’s been around since 1946 and has received some serious accolades during that time. It was even selected as the No. 1 sandwich shop in New Jersey by Andy Kryza and Matt Lynch at Thrillist.
If you want some seriously great eats without an ounce of pretentiousness, Millburn Delicatessen is just the ticket. Try out some of their favorites like the cubano with fresh roast pork, ham and melted Swiss cheese or the “Godfadda,” which is a fried chicken cutlet with fresh mozzarella, bacon and homemade Russian dressing.
It’s the real deal.
Town Hall Deli
With a history that goes back 90 years, Town Hall Deli is genuine New Jersey landmark.
Although it’s known as “the birthplace of the sloppy joe,” you’ll find many other favorites like a Mufulletta with ham, Genoa salami, provolone and olive spread and the “Godfather” with grilled chicken, mozzarella, roasted red peppers and balsamic vinegar.
If you’re looking for charm, history and a good sandwich, this is the place.
Richard’s Deli got its start in 1982 and has been a local favorite ever since. You’ve got all of the classics like corned beef and pastrami along with jumbo triple-deckers, wraps and paninis.
They also have a killer breakfast selection, so you can fill up on the goodness any time of day.
Foster Village Kosher Delicatessen
Located in Bergenfield, Foster Village has been serving up amazing sandwiches since 1966.
As you might expect, this is a classic Jewish deli where you’ll find delicious salami, pastrami and corned beef. But there’s also some amazing seafood like salty belly lox and smoked sable as well as homemade chicken matzo ball soup.
Here’s another family-owned operation that’s got plenty of history to it. Annie’s Deli has been around for over 30 years and has earned a reputation as one of the top sandwich spots in Pluckemin.
They’ve also got some epic names for their sandwiches, including “Jake the Brain Surgeon” with hot pastrami, mustard and pickles and “Kindly Old Doc Pike” with turkey, bacon and melted Havarti.
The Kibitz Room
“Where size does matter” is the slogan of this Cherry Hill deli. If it’s a massive sandwich filled with high-quality ingredients that you’re seeking, look no further than The Kibitz Room.
They even have their own mega meal challenge, where diners try to consume the colossal G.B.M.F with corned beef, pastrami, turkey, roast beef and brisket within 55 minutes.
Definitely try one of their mouthwatering reubens with hot sauerkraut, melted Swiss cheese and Russian dressing.
A Deli Paradise
Although New Jersey is the fifth smallest state in the US in terms of square mileage, it’s packed full of amazing delis. Many of which have a rich history that simply can’t be duplicated. So, a drive through the Garden State is sure to yield some truly delicious sandwiches that are capable of pleasing even the most discerning palate.
Images by: ultimagaina/©123RF Stock Photo, draghicich/©123RF Stock Photo, appalachianviews/©123RF Stock Photo