Home Food + Drink SamAM Bergen-Lafayette : Southern Charm in Jersey City {formerly Oak on Pine}

SamAM Bergen-Lafayette : Southern Charm in Jersey City {formerly Oak on Pine}

by Danielle Lynch
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There’s a {pseudo} new kid on the block in the Bergen-Lafayette section of Jersey City and it is a must-try restaurant. The Oak on Pine {196 Pine Street}, sister restaurant to the well-known SamAM in Paulus Hook — which has just changed its name as of this past Thursday to SamAM Bergen-Lafayette, has taken off and become a popular local hotspot for dinner. Owner Sam Kirk decided to open up shop again in a new area hoping to serve another part of the city. The menu features some of the South’s most prized + delicious dishes. We were lucky enough to chat with Francis Samu, executive chef and manager, as he talked us through the restaurant’s dinner and new brunch menu. Trust us, this is one you won’t want to miss. Read on to learn all about SamAM {formerly known as The Oak on Pine} which is bringing southern charm to Jersey City.

oak on pine outside

{Photo: @the_oak_on_pine}

The Backstory

After living in South Carolina for some time, Francis Samu was introduced to SamAM. He loved the concept and thought the interior was gorgeous and homey. “It reminded me of a small diner — classic and romantic.” In November of 2017, Francis and Sam spoke about opening another place in a different part of Jersey City. Sam was so supportive of Francis’s dream and allowed him to create the menu for The Oak on Pine, which ended up being a huge success. Just this past week, the owners decided to change the name to the OG, coining it SamAM Bergen-Lafayette.

oak on pine inside

{Photo: @the_oak_on_pine}

Sam grew up on a farm in Lancaster and made food and cooking a huge part of his life, which lead him to open his first restaurant, SamAM {112 Morris Street}. As for Francis, he started his cooking career young and developed a very eclectic palate. Being Hungarian has also played a huge role in his career as a chef, as did living in South Carolina for quite a bit of time before returning to Hudson County. His role in The Oak on Pine has been instrumental in the success of the restaurant.

See More: Feed Your Soul at D’s Soul Full Cafe in Hoboken

What to Expect at The Oak on Pine

The Bergen-Lafayette locale is nothing short of unique. With its southern charm {and northern grit, as they call it} the restaurant is a breath of fresh air in a normally busy city. The atmosphere is organic, rustic, and oh so cozy, and the live music that the restaurant features is an added bonus. Any place with a piano and a good vibe is all right in our book. The restaurant is a BYO but carries select wines from Unionville Vineyards in Central Jersey. It’s really just a chill place to kick back and relax with great company.

oak on pine meatless meatloaf

{Photo: @the_oak_on_pine}

 The menu is filled with southern classics that are sure to please. Supporting local businesses is important to Sam and Francis, so their produce comes from neighboring places like Dark Pines and Harvest Drop. With that being said, there are many meaty options to choose from. We especially love the KC Style Baby Back Ribs, plated with mac + cheese and pickled pepper salad. Yes, it is as good as it sounds. For a good meal sans the meat, The Veggie Meat{less} Loaf is unlike anything we have ever eaten before.

oak on pine mac n cheese

{Photo: @the_oak_on_pine}

“We kept asking ourselves, how do we emulate that meat flavor but still keep it vegetarian?” explained Francis. It’s a must try for anyone looking for something different. Any self-respected southern restaurant would not be complete without some mac + cheese and this one is loaded with crawfish. {Like. Come. On.} Bless your heart if you leave there without trying the sweet corn fritters.

oak on pine chicken waffles

{Photo: @the_oak_on_pine}

Recently, Sam and Francis tried their luck at recreating the SamAM brunch menu and it was a huge hit. Featuring items from the SamAM menu as well as including their own versions of dishes, like the chicken + waffles, was what brought so many neighbors in. It went so well that they are going to continue serving brunch Wednesday through Sunday from now on. It is an awesome place to just relax and enjoy some southern comfort. The spot is a BYO but will provide mixers for brunch drinks like mimosas.

Read More: Mouth-Watering Chicken & Waffle Dishes in Hoboken + Jersey City

Moral of the story: If you love SamAM or just enjoy southern cooking in general, you would absolutely love The Oak on Pine {SamAM #2}.

“Sam and I love being genuine with the food we cook. It’s about the experience,” explains Francis. “We want to feed people and make them happy.”

Have you been to The Oak on Pine {now known as SamAM Bergen-Lafayette}? Do you have a go-to meal? Let us know in the comments!

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