Home Food + Drink Hooked JC: Laid-Back Seafood Joint in Jersey City

Hooked JC: Laid-Back Seafood Joint in Jersey City

by Jennifer
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If you love seeking out new restaurants for your next date night or GNO and are looking for an easy, no-frills, BYOB meal that’s guaranteed to be delicious — look no further. Hooked JC is your next go-to spot for a laid-back seafood meal with old-school décor and food that’s always changing and beyond fresh. Take a peek inside our visit {+ what we ordered}, below:

hooked jersey city seafood

Photos by @EatUpHoboken


Hooked JC is located at 467 Communipaw Avenue in Bergen-Lafayette, an off-the-beaten-path neighborhood in Jersey City that’s an easy Uber ride from the Mile Square or Downtown Jersey City. The outside of the building is pretty non-descript, featuring a sign that says, “You should eat here” {and honestly, we agree}. Inside is dimly lit with both tabletop and bar seating, vintage, seafood-shack décor, and a super casual vibe. It’s pretty DIY from a service standpoint — you place your order at the counter, and the staff brings it out once ready.

The Food

Seafood is obviously the focus here, and Hooked JC has everything from scallops, crab cakes, and shrimp to fish tacos, a lobster roll, fried oysters, and seafood gumbo. {Not to worry, they have a chicken and a vegetarian option as well, in case you’re coming with someone who’s not into the whole seafood thing}.

On top of these regular menu items, Hooked JC also offers three daily fresh catches — as their menu puts it, “whatever is fresh from the dock.” Word is that the chef and co-owner Tory Aunspach actually brings in daily specials straight from the docks — as in, no warehouse or middle man needed {= super fresh seafood}.

hooked jersey city seafood

^^ A peek at their menu 

hooked jersey city seafood

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The fresh catches are written up on the chalkboard so you know exactly what you’re eating and where it’s from — like porgy from Point Pleasant or hake from Chatham, Massachusetts. If you go with the fresh catch option, you can choose to have it blackened, grilled, or fried, then served as a po’ boy, platter {with fries, hushpuppies, or coleslaw}, or over a salad. Top it all off with one of their many sauces made in-house: remoulade, tartar, cocktail, Thai chili aioli, or pineapple soy ginger — YAS for sauces.

hooked jersey city seafood

The Service

If you’re unsure of what to order, ask a friendly bartender or server and they’d be happy to share their favorites. HG insider tip: order the crack and cheese. {Yes, that’s a real thing.} Pictured below, the crack and cheese has a blackened crab cake mixed into their perfectly creamy, house-made mac {read: HEAVEN} and aptly named if you ask us. Wash it all down with some of their “fancy water” AKA water in big pitchers with fresh fruit, something else that regularly changes at Hooked.

hooked jersey city seafood

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The History

Hooked JC’s building was constructed in 1848, having been home to a few restaurants throughout the years. Today, it’s home to Hooked JC. Founded by partners and first-time restaurant owners Natalie Miniard and Tory Aunspach, it’s a labor of love combined with an intense culinary passion and desire to strengthen community ties. For some background: Natalie is a Jersey City real estate broker and Tory has worked as a chef on private luxury yachts in the Bahamas and Baja. The two reconnected via Facebook and decided to collaborate on this joint venture — which is clearly paying off in taste and notoriety.

hooked jersey city

So, grab a bottle of wine or a pack of beer, an Uber, and a seat at the bar, and you won’t be disappointed. And if you love their food so much that you want to cater your next party with it, you can do that, too. Hooked offers catering, so be sure to keep them in mind the next time you’re running an event with plenty of seafood lovers {or are just extra hungry, no judgment}.

Have you been to Hooked JC? Comment and share your experience below!

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