Home Food + Drink Fork Hill Kitchen: Serving Italian + Asian Fare in Union City

Fork Hill Kitchen: Serving Italian + Asian Fare in Union City

by Yiwei Gu
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What was once an empty coffee shop at 201 16th Street in Union City has now been turned into a cozy cafe. The space that is home to Fork Hill Kitchen was just what owner Brenda Griffin and her husband were looking for for their next restaurant venture, and the blank slate meant they could renovate the space freely. The location is easily accessible from Uptown Hoboken and Jersey City Heights, and new residential buildings are being constructed nearby. Chef Eric Clemente created a menu that focuses on fresh, seasonal ingredients and updated versions of classic dishes.  The end result was the restaurant’s opening in October 2019. Read on to learn more about this spot in the Palisades. 

Fork Hill Kitchen

(Photo credit: @forkhillkitchen)

The Stories Behind the Food

Fork Hill Kitchen

(Photo credit: @forkhillkitchen)

The style of cuisine can be loosely described as new American with creative twists. Chef Eric Clemente was trained in Italy and Japan and has worked in NYC restaurants. The menu reflects heavy Italian and Asian influences without deviating too far from the familiar. The details, however, are thoughtful. Pasta and fresh cheese are made in-house. Classic dishes are often finished with unexpected touches. 

“We knew we wanted to have seasonal menus because our objective is to use fresh and local ingredients whenever possible,” said Brenda. “We live in the Northeast. The winter season is more challenging than other seasons. But we try to keep it simple.” 

Fork Hill Kitchen

(Photo credit: @forkhillkitchen)

Much of the fruit and vegetables are supplied by Harvest Drop, which sources produce from farms in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The seafood is from Local 130 Seafood, based in Point Pleasant. 

Read More: Where to Get a Good Eggplant Parm in Hoboken + Jersey City

Fork Hill Kitchen

(Photo credit: @forkhillkitchen)

Some of the beer is from breweries in Hoboken. The restaurant started as a BYOB and acquired its liquor license last May. Now it serves seasonal cocktails and plans to launch happy hour. 

What to Order

Fork Hill Kitchen

(Photo credit: @forkhillkitchen)

The Hoboken Girl visited the restaurant on a recent Sunday during brunch hour. The space – sleek wood panels, chic gray tones, walls decorated with artwork from local artists – was almost packed with large groups. The vibes were communal, but couples and even lone diners can also be seated comfortably at secluded corners.

Fork Hill Kitchen

(Photo credit: @forkhillkitchen)

For brunch, the typical “breakfast-ish” items are given a creative spin. The waffle is laced with cheddar and accompanied by jalapeno maple syrup.  Pancakes are made with cornmeal and studded with chocolate chips. 

Fork Hill Kitchen

(Photo credit: @forkhillkitchen)

But more interesting is the “lunch-ier” side of the brunch. The shrimp and grits dish is simple but excellently executed. Diners can drizzle on some spicy honey, but Hoboken Girl liked the grits as it was served. Made with coarsely ground corn, the texture is not perfectly consistent, giving the grits a nutty bite. 

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Equally outstanding is the Cubano sandwich, which is layered with pulled pork and ham, both well seasoned. For non-meat eaters, there is also a loaded grilled cheese, made with smoked Gouda, Parmigiano Reggiano, Cheddar, and Gruyere cheeses.

Fork Hill Kitchen

(Photo credit: @forkhillkitchen)

The seasonality is better showcased in the dinner menu where there are many gluten-free options. Right now the dishes incorporate a lot of braised meat and hearty vegetables – cavatelli with lamb ragu, risotto with brussels sprouts, for example. In summer, the menu is a colorful palette of local produce, such as Jersey tomatoes, and squash with burrata, corn from nearby farms in crab cakes. Other great items include a variety of seafood dishes and pasta.

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