• Skinner’s Loft: A Family-Owned Restaurant in Downtown Jersey City

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    It’s not a secret that downtown Jersey City is buzzing with acclaimed restaurants making waves across Hudson County and NYC. Skinner’s Loft {located at 146 Newark Avenue} is a fixture on Newark Street – a local gem owned by a Jersey City family who has witnessed the booming rebirth of the now electric neighborhood. Owner Maggie Veca set the bar high 22 years ago for a warm environment, impeccable service, and delicious food well before the development of the downtown district. Keep reading to learn all about Skinner’s Loft, a family-owned restaurant and staple of downtown Jersey City.

    skinners loft jersey city

     How Skinner’s Loft Came to Be

    It’s effortless to enjoy the food and good company on any of three floors of the loft-style restaurant. The first floor is a cozy bar, the second floor the enchanting dining room — always dressed with the most beautiful fresh flowers. Last but not least, the rooftop is open for dining in warmer months.

    skinners loft inside

    Read More: 13 Outdoor and Rooftop Bars {in Hoboken + Jersey City}

    Maggie has been working in the hospitality industry since 1985. As a single mother of two, she began waitressing at the Hamilton Park Ale House {now Hamilton Inn}, putting in 12 years of dedicated service. When the restaurant’s owner expressed interested in selling, Maggie partnered with her three brothers to purchase and take on ownership in 1997. After running the Ale House for nine years, due to the changing landscape and demands for higher rents, she set her sights on a new location on Newark Street in JC. After a year of renovations, Skinner’s Loft officially opened on Newark Street in 2007 – this time with her daughter and son onboard with the business.

    “We didn’t so much choose Jersey City as it was just the place we always lived; it was pretty organic in that way,” Maggie explains.

    Deep Jersey City Roots

    The name Skinner’s Loft was crafted by combining the nature of the loft-style building and Maggie’s mother’s maiden name. The Skinner family deserves dialing back into history for us to appreciate the profound connection to Jersey City, dating back to the mid-1800s.

    Maggie explained to us, “My mother’s dad, my grandfather, was one of nine Skinners, all of whom grew up and lived in Jersey City. There is a small section of Jersey Avenue called Douglas and Arthur Skinner Memorial Drive, as well as Skinner Memorial Park in Bergen-Lafayette. Douglas and Arthur were my mom’s cousins and were both killed on the same day fighting on different fronts during WW2.”

    A Local Tour of the Menu

    skinners loft biscuits

    To get the full experience, making Skinner’s Loft your destination for either brunch or dinner is a must. Brunch is promised to win you over before you even order once the waiter drops a small bucket of freshly homemade biscuits and mini-muffins on the table.

    skinners loft fries

    The menu consists of contemporary American dishes, but boasts ingredients inspired by cuisines from around the world. It’s clear that quality and freshness of the ingredients offered is of the utmost importance, as the team sources many ingredients from local farmers markets across Jersey City and New York.

    skinners loft sandwich

    The fresh fish hails from a fisherman on Long Island and meat comes from Truglio’s, Hoboken’s family-owned butcher shop. Maggie adds, “there is something much more satisfying for us about giving our money to the butcher who trimmed the meat, the fisherman who caught the fish, or the farmer who grew the vegetables or made the cheese, rather than to some large corporation.” We couldn’t agree more.

    See More: Truglio’s Meat Market: A Family-Owned Butcher Shop

    Before + After the Boom in JC

    Newark Street looked a lot different in 2007 when Skinner’s Loft opened. At the time, you could still drive and park throughout the street, with far less commotion and people walking around the neighborhood. Although the intimacy of what used to remain in the neighborhood does not exist anymore, Maggie remains energized by the life, activity, passion for the community and inspiration being pulled in and charged into the lively nook of the larger city.

    skinners loft newark street

    Looking forward, she beautifully touches upon the secret recipe {not on the menu} which has made Jersey City such a great place to live, work and raise a family. The city thrives on different cultures and diversity coming together, but the slightly slower pace as compared to NYC allows for relationships and friendships to foster much more easily and organically – she adds that her hope for Jersey City is to “not forget and push out those who have been here making it a great place to be all along. Because to me Jersey City means being home.”

    Have you paid a visit to Skinner’s Loft yet? Let us know in the comments!


    Written by:

    Joanna was born in New York City and proudly grew up in Hoboken above her family's butcher shop, Truglio's Meat Market. Although an Uptown Hoboken Girl at heart, she now lives in downtown Hoboken with her fiancé, Matthew. After graduating from Montclair State University, she began a career in Fashion Retail Marketing. Outside of her current role as Brand Marketing Manager at Ann Taylor, she loves to travel both near and far - yet always looking forward to coming back home to enjoy the institutional local gems of Hudson County, while discovering new ways to shop local along the way.