Home Food + Drink Square 1 Jersey City: A Journal Square Eatery Putting the Community First

Square 1 Jersey City: A Journal Square Eatery Putting the Community First

by Cait
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There are a lot of new restaurants coming to Journal Square and Jersey City in general, but Square 1 Jersey City located at 283 St. Pauls Avenue is a gem unlike other restaurants in the area. Instead of coming in with a restaurant concept in mind, the owners purchased the space and sat outside the empty restaurant asking the community what kind of restaurant they wanted {yes, really}. The answer? A community, farm-to-table eatery that embraces old values while helping to shape the future of Jersey City. We stopped in to get the low-down on the new spot in the neighborhood and try out the globally-inspired menu. Here’s more about Square One in Jersey City Journal Square:


Sitting on a corner of St. Paul Avenue bordering Little India in Journal Square, Square 1’s goal is to embrace the diverse neighborhood by delivering what everyone ultimately wants: good food and a strong community. One of the owners, Marty, shared with us, “I grew up in a traditional Italian family. My mother was a terrific cook and there was always an abundance of freshly made food. At any given time, day or night, friends and family could stop by to eat, and they did! I’d like to re-create that “our door is always open” feeling in my own establishment.”

And true to his words, inside the space exudes a warm industrial-modern vibe with a reclaimed wood-covered open kitchen, exposed brick walls, and eclectic artisan vases adorning the walls and counters. Although seating inside is limited, there is outdoor seating that faces down St. Paul Avenue. It is the perfect spot for people watching or bringing your dog/kids along for brunch. There is also a back patio tucked behind the eatery that is the perfect urban oasis. Currently, they are only open for breakfast and lunch right now {dinner is in the works}.

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Mory, another one of the founders {and the chef} behind Square 1 Jersey City got his feet wet in the culinary world working for Jean-Georges Vonegerichten. He then went on to work as a recipe developer and food stylist at Martha Stewart Living as well as Food and Wine Magazine. Later on in his career he was the Director of Culinary Development for Food Network.

The idea for the menu was built around the Journal Square community. “Once I started hanging out in the neighborhood and talking to people, I began to visualize a unique space for local, simply prepared food, baked goods and quality coffee. I wanted to be a part of the growth in an area poised for greatness,” Mory explained.

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^Special of the day: avocado naan w/roasted beets and pomegranate seeds 

Focusing on fresh ingredients from local producers mixed with global culinary techniques, Square 1 offers a breath of new life into the Journal Square food scene. Starting with the breakfast menu, which is offered all day, you can find familiar favorites like avocado toast and sweet and savory yogurt mixed with new ideas such as a cheese arepa and an egg, bacon and pesto sandwich {and avocado “toast” aka the bread is naan}. They also offer a variety of baked goods and coffee from Kobrick Coffee, a local roaster in Jersey City.


^Cheese arepa with avocado, a folded french omelette, and pico de gallo

For lunch, they offer a variety of sandwiches including chorizo manchego, pressed charred carrot, and a grilled cheese sandwich with manchego and strawberry jam. All of their sandwiches are available on gluten-free English muffins and with vegan or kid substitutes. They also have several soups and salads including the chicken salad on greens and the Tuscan kale and roasted sweet potato salad.


^Chicken salad with pomegranate seeds, dill, and walnuts over arugula  

Although the menu is small, the goal is to focus on simple dishes made with wholesome ingredients. The name Square 1 embraces the idea of starting from {literal} square one and bringing the four owners’ love of cooking and entertaining to the Journal Square community. Two of the owners, Laura and Marty, were born in Jersey City, while Nick and Mory moved to the heights in 1999.

Not only is it the goal to create a space that embraces the community, giving back to the community is something that’s important to Square 1 JC. Nick and Mory founded the Washington Park Association of Hudson County, a non-profit that works to maintain 22-acre park between Union City and Jersey City.

A restaurant with outdoor space, heathy, flavorful food, and values giving back to the community? Now that’s something we can get behind.

Want to know more about Chef Mory and Square 1 Jersey City? Check out the interview on the Bvster Podcast

Have you visited Square 1 Jersey City? Tag us in your food pics on Instagram at @HobokenGirlBlog.

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