A Jersey Shore Local’s Guide to Main Street Freehold
For some, Freehold may just be the home of the Freehold Raceway Mall, however, for those in the know, the Main Street area Freehold is the home of restaurants and store fronts that will leave you wondering why you’re always bee lining it to the mall. Now that the Fall weather is coming, enjoy downtown Freehold and all its vibrant local business community.
Home to the Monmouth County courthouse, a place you may or may not be familiar with, we’re not judging, Main Street Freehold has been the epicenter of Central Jersey food for quite some time. Local favorites range from Italian to Mexican and even sushi, but an old fashioned diner is in the mix too. With its eclectic mix of new and old storefronts ranging from yoga to hair, it’s a fun one-stop destination that will give you an entirely new view of what this Central Jersey is all about.
Main Street Freehold Dining Destinations
Winner of multiple awards including Best American Cuisine in 2014 and 2015, Alycia’s Bistro (52 West Main Street 732-462-2305) offers your favorite American cuisine with a contemporary twist. Always using the freshest local and seasonal ingredients, the menu is a true reflection of the seasons. Don’t forget to bring your favorite bottle of wine and ask to turn it into their spiced sangria – it’s a winner in our book!
It’s hard to imagine, well almost hard to imagine, that a destination such as Main Street Freehold – just one street – could offer countless options including an historic hotel that also happens to be the home to a stunning dining room and bar. The American Hotel (18 East Main Street 732-431-3220) may be a landmark, however the interior is only a nod to its historic past. Whether you’re staying for the night or just stopping in for Sunday Sauce, there’s no replacement.
With a name like the Court Jester (16 East Main Street 732-462-1040), it’s hard to be serious when you walk through the doors of this favorite local watering hole. A large collection of craft beer that’s updated seasonally combined with their unique menu with a Southwest flair, and their family friendly atmosphere has kept those of all ages coming back year after year.
Situated next to the train tracks and across from Rita’s is the unofficial Mexican restaurant of Main Street Freehold, El Meson (40 West Main Street 732-308-9494). Yes, it’s completely Tex Mex; yes, our plates will be covered with melted cheese and yes, we orded their fried ice cream too. It may be what you would expect, but in this case, it’s completely welcome. BYOB.
Federici’s Family Restaurant
Family owned and operated since 1921, Federici’s Family Restaurant (14 East Main Street 732-462-1312) has been serving Mom’s recipe for cheese lasagna for over 90 years and their award winning, thin crust pizza since 1946. Now in its fourth generation of ownership, this pizza mainstay on Main Street Freehold has a loyal following who savor every bite of their Northern Italian cuisine.
Cafe 360 hits the mark with their Italian style coffee, homemade gelato and some killer sandwiches. Cafe 360 has earned numerous “best of” awards from locals since their 2006 opening. We would recommend digging into one of their new menu items like this Mediterranean Grilled Cheese that features fresh mozzarella, olives and feta cheese. Amazing!
Voted one of the top 1,000 Italian restaurants in the country, distinguished and “impressive service” noted by The New York Times, and Zagat rated, La Cipollina (16 West Main Street 732-308-3830) has been a Main Street Freehold institution for 28 years thanks to their upscale Italian cuisine that features a rotating mix of traditional Italian fare. Chef De Cuisine Matt Higgins, named Top 25 Chefs Under the Age of 25, has remained true to his and the restaurant’s roots, focusing on award winning cuisine and unparalleled service.
Little Bit of Cuba Dos
Our American relations may just be reopening to Cuba, but our passion for Cuban cooking has never wavered. At Little Bit of Cuba Dos (2 East Main Street 732-577-8506), this vibrant and fun restaurant is just the answer to those nights when we’re looking for a Caribbean feel. Dine on Cuban inspired dishes like Camerones al Ajillo and Tostones Rellenos con Ropa Vieja and you may just forget that you’re not on vacation.
Okay. So, Solo Trattoria isnt on Main Street, but in the past we have enjoyed this restaurant with friend and absolutely loved it. Solo Trattoria (7 South Street 732-780-2337) is known for their outstanding service, delicious homemade pastas and their amazing Italian desserts. Our recent favorites have been the Polpettine Fritte and their 32 oz. Aged Angus Porterhouse. Mangia!
One part open air patio and one part indoor oasis, the Metropolitan Café (8 East Main Street 732-780-9400) is a staple for drinks and food on Main Street Freehold. The menu is packed full of New American dishes with a Pacific Rim flair that will have you choosing between sushi rolls or small plates. Served with a classic martini, this casual and upscale restaurant isn’t going anywhere.
Sweet Lew’s Cafe
Open for 25 years, Sweet Lew’s Cafe (6 East Main Street 732-308-1887) is a mom and pop joint breakfast and lunch restaurant that serves up dishes that hit the sweet spot. Focused on the old fashioned principles of American hospitality: good food, good service, and good prices, owner Keith Lew has successfully created a Main Street Freehold tradition where locals gather every morning of the week.
Texas Mexican Restaurant
Because we love Mexican, we have to mention Main Street Freehold’s other favorite destination for burritos, enchiladas, and fajitas, Texas Mexican Restaurant (3 West Main Street 732-303-1133). Known for crispy nachos and beef tostadas, this no fuss Mexican restaurant focuses solely on giving you the best flavor (and bang) for your buck!
Tony’s Freehold Grill
A Main Street Freehold fixture for the past 60 years, Tony’s Freehold Grill (59 East Main Street 732-431-8607) can’t be missed visually (it’s set in a classic 1947 vintage Jerry O’Mahoney modern diner car), which is a good thing because passing this by means you’re passing up a true downtown diner experience. Order up some of your favorite diner classics or check out some of their Greek inspired cuisine. It’s a classic that makes you feel like you’re a local too.
Other nearby Freehold destinations
iPlay America now boasts over 115,000 square feet of indoor fun. Rides, laser tag, game amusements, a candy shop and a full service restaurant and sports themed bar called the Game Time Bar & Grill. iPlay America has rapidly become a fixture of the Freehold area and the place to go for fun indoors in the great Garden State. Be sure to check out their new ropes course, go-karts, indoor roller coaster and their ever changing event calendar that features both local and national talent at their state of the art event venue.
About 30 seconds off of Main Street you will find a local foodie fixture that has been at it for decades, Jersey Freeze. Since 1952, it has been the go-to place for locals craving shakes, ice cream and some killer burgers and sandwiches. Jersey Freeze made headlines recently when referenced by local legend, Bruce Springsteen who enjoyed Jersey Freeze as a kid growing up in the area. If you spot the Boss there, give him our best!