Home Food + DrinkBars Your Guide to Chatham, New Jersey | by The Giordano Group

Your Guide to Chatham, New Jersey | by The Giordano Group

by Hoboken Girl Team
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Each month, The Hoboken Girl and The Giordano Group highlight one town in Northern New Jersey to share some of the best places to eat, drink, and socialize. We’ll help you understand the different commuting options and fun, family-friendly activities while providing you with the necessary facts and critical insight into the competitive and hot Northern NJ real estate market. This New Jersey real estate series will showcase what makes each town cool, unique, and vibrant. So while you may not be looking to move, we all know stalking Zillow houses is the best hobby — and The Giordano Group is here to make it that much easier. 

After a great visit to Ridgewood in Bergen County, we are heading southwest to Chatham, located in Morris County. Chatham Township and Chatham Borough are awesome areas to live in. They’re close to New York City, have highly-ranked school systems, offer a strollable downtown, and are full of a mix of older homes and new constructions in a quiet location. A trip to Chatham promises the kind of small-town, apple-pie vibe with its historic Main Street that North Jersey is known for. Read on for your guide to Chatham, NJ.

chatham township chatham boroughs signs

In 1806, Chatham Township was formed, and between 1889 and 1899, Madison Boro, Chatham Boro, and Florham Park achieved independence from the Township and dramatically reduced its size.

A Tale — and Explanation — of 2 Chathams

The neighboring communities of Chatham Borough and Chatham Township are separate municipalities but both are referred to as “Chatham.” While they do operate as two distinct municipal governments, they share a common public library system, a paid police force, a volunteer fire department and emergency squad, a recreation program, and a highly-ranked school district. Chatham’s infrastructure, recreational parks, and ball fields are maintained by Borough employees.

Properties in the Borough tend to be smaller than in the Township, but many longtime residents say the small yards and the closeness of the houses have created an unusually strong sense of community. Typical houses in the Township are bigger and newer than those in the Borough due to a large number of teardowns and new construction.

When comparing the two Chathams from a real estate statistics perspective, both are considered highly desirable areas as homes typically take just over a month to sell in the current market. Chatham Township has a higher average sale price and max sale price. The homes and lots are also larger on average. Chatham Borough has the downtown area and train station, which many people admire for being more walkable.

chatham township chatham borough maps

About the Giordano Group

Darren Giordano and his team of Realtors have over a decade of experience in Hudson County and Northern New Jersey, achieving the Platinum Level of Excellence every year since 2016. They closed over $300,000,000 over the last decade.  

To learn more about the market value for homes in Chatham — or if you want to find out the current market value of your home in Hudson County, text CMA to 201-723-3300 to get in touch with the Giordano Group or click here.

chatham station sign

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The Commute

By Train

Chatham commuters can travel to New York via New Jersey Transit by two different train lines: The Morristown Line and The Gladstone Branch line. The Morristown Line is better known as The “Midtown Direct” which takes travelers right to Penn Station 34th Street in about 38 minutes without any transfers. The Gladstone Branch line goes to either Hoboken or New York Penn Station. In Hoboken, you can connect to either the PATH or Light Rail along with Ferry access via NY Waterway. 

Parking Permits for the Chatham Borough Railroad Station are available to Chatham Borough residents only at a yearly cost of $450.00. Metered parking is available to the general public at $6.25 per day. All metered spaces are numerically marked — just be prepared to pay exact change in the box on the platform and be sure to enter the space number correctly.  

By Bus

There are several bus options to NYC. Chatham residents often use the Lakeland line, which they can access in Summit, or they opt for the Boxcar Transit for direct access to Wall Street. 

By Car

Chatham is located within easy driving distance to I-78, Route 24, and the Garden State Parkway. 

Where to Eat + Drink

Downtown Chatham houses a variety of restaurants featuring everything from fine dining to sandwich shops — and everything in between. 

shrimp scalini fedeli chatham

Scalini Fedeli

Scalini Fedeli | 63 Main Street

Scalini Fedeli was opened by chef-owner Michael Cetrulo in 1995 and very quickly became one of New Jersey’s highest-rated Italian restaurants. Set in an historic building built in 1740, the atmosphere is slightly formal with Tuscan-style vaulted ceilings finished with Venetian plaster and is only open for lunch and dinner with a prix fixe menu.

Sorriso’s Kitchen  | 252 Main Street

Sorriso, which means ‘smile’ in Italian, works hard to live up to that name. It serves farm-to-table breakfast and lunch while also committing to serving the special needs community each day in honor of the owners’ son, LJ, who has down syndrome. Sorriso’s has pancakes, eggs, french toast, paninis, salads, and more.

Namkeen Hot Chicken | 233 Main Street

This is the go-to spot for chicken. Namkeen focuses on hot Pakistani flavors mixed with Nashville comfort food to make a high-quality, spicy, halal chicken option. It serves only all-natural, hormone- and antibiotic-free halal chicken.

Pascarella Brothers Deli  | 34 Watchung Avenue

This breakfast and lunch go-to was voted the #1 Taylor Ham, Egg & Cheese in NJ by @teamtaylornj. Owned and operated by two brothers, this spot serves a myriad of eggs, subs, salads, and more. 

Twin Elephant Brewing Company | 13 Watchung Avenue

Twin Elephant is the place to go to kick back and have a beer. This bring-your-own-food spot has a large beer selection available from Thursday to Sunday with indoor and outdoor seating. 

River Grille | 34 River Road

This is a great spot for American Fare, live music, and more. This restaurant and bar seats guests on a first-come, first-served basis, so be sure to allow some time in case there’s a wait for a table. With sandwiches, salads, wings, burgers, and a wine list, there’s plenty to please everyone here. 

Restaurant Serenade | 6 Roosevelt Avenue

This spot serves up delicious French food in an upscale setting. Whether you’re craving a little bit of everything with a tasting menu or want to sample a fun cocktail, Restaurant Serenade promises a great meal. 

Fleur de Sel  | 265 Main Street

This cute French bakery serves sweet and savory goods like croissants, tartes, soups, quiches, and sandwiches. Plus, it has a full coffee and tea bar. Everything is baked homemade in-house every single morning. 

Charley’s Aunt Restaurant  | 8-10 S Passaic Ave

Charley’s is your neighborhood staple American bar and restaurant. It’s a great spot to grab a drink in town, and it even has a backyard patio for when the weather is nice. It has a big menu with lots of sandwiches, meat, pasta, and more.

Scoops the Chatham Creamery  | 228 Main Street

A cute ice cream shop, Scoops is the place to go in the warmer weather. The top 4 favorite flavors in the 2022 Scoops Madness challenge were Mint-Choc Chip, Cookie Dough, Campfire S’mores, and Cookies ‘N Cream. 

TM Ward Coffee  | 7 South Passaic Ave

There’s nothing quite like the smell of TM Ward Coffee. This place smells amazing. It’s cute, cozy, and serves delicious coffee and a large selection of loose tea.

Things to Do

There’s plenty of fun things to do around Chatham. The Chathams hold annual seasonal festivals like the 4th of July parade and fireworks along with a National Night Out in Memorial Park.

chatham downtown festival

Fishawack Festival (Photo courtesy of Facebook Event)

Chatham’s Fishawack Festival

Chatham’s Fishawack Cultural Heritage Festival, an annual fun-filled family day, has live music, vendors, and an outdoor pub that all take over Downtown Chatham. This event happens in June and spreads across Main Street, South Passaic Avenue, the Gazebo, and even the library lawn. 

Gazebo Concert Thursdays

Every other Thursday, June 23rd through September 1st, local musicians perform while locals and visitors dine downtown. 

Fishing Derby at Kelley Pond

A two-day annual festival sponsored by the Volunteer Borough Fire Department adds to the small-town but strong community feeling of Chatham every spring. Locals all come together to fish for trout in the local pond.

chatham farmers market

Chatham Farmers Market

Every Saturday from June 18th through November 19th from 8AM to 1PM, you can visit the large Farmer’s Market at Railroad Plaza South. You can shop for local fruits, vegetables, baked goods, and more. 

Chatham Newcomers + Social Club

Much like Ridgewood, this club offers a variety of year-round gatherings where you can meet others from the community. Events include happy hour meetups, an Oktoberfest, School related functions, book clubs, and specialty men’s events — whiskey tasting, golf outings, tennis, poker, and more. Family-friendly events include hayrides, egg hunts, sledding, and meetups at the parks. This is a great way to get involved in the community while meeting and getting to know your neighbors. 

Theater

Chatham has its own playhouse downtown, located at 23 N Passaic Ave, which is home to the Chatham Community Players. Chatham Community Players is a non-profit local and award-winning theater group that has been entertaining local audiences since 1922. 

Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center | 247 Southern Boulevard

Adjacent to the eastern edge of the Great Swamp, this 40-acre facility contains natural history exhibits on animals, a library, and classrooms. There’s also an exhibit of art with a nature theme that changes monthly. Nature trails, guided walks, and wooden boardwalks lead into the swamp. 

Where to Shop

Jabberwocky | 261 Main St, Chatham

Jabberwocky Inc. is a locally owned store that provides high-quality toys, dress-up, books, and games for all ages. 

Quartet Home Decor and More | 9 S. Passaic Ave, Chatham

Quartet is filled with distinctive home furnishings, tabletop items, personal accessories, and gifts. It also has a varied collection of novelty apparel, jewelry, and baby gifts. 

Pour HoMMe | 242 Main Street

Pour HoMME is a great menswear and accessories shop. It features men’s shoes, belts, suits, polos, and more. It even has a collection for boys.

Purple Aardvark | 240 Main Street Chatham

This Chatham gift boutique features all made-in-the-USA items. It offers various knick-knacks and New Jersey-inspired presents.

Kid’s Corner

chatham high school

Chatham High School

The Schools

Since 1986, Chatham has shared its school district with Chatham Township and the school district is known as the School District of the Chathams. The district consists of 4 elementary schools, 1 middle school, and one high school. (Milton Avenue School (Grades K-3), Southern Boulevard School (Grades K-3), Washington Avenue School (Grades K-3), Lafayette School (Grades 4-5), and Chatham Middle School (Grades 6-8) all lead to Chatham High School (Grades 9-12). There are also 14 early childhood daycares in the Chathams.

Chatham boasts an extensive athletic program and an active athletic boosters club for the high school. Chatham High School is currently ranked 20th in New Jersey and 458th nationally, according to the U.S. News & World Report. 

Parks + Playgrounds

The town has beautiful parks and recreation areas, including playgrounds, ball fields, and a municipal pool in Memorial Park, located right behind the Library of the Chathams. Garden Park also houses public tennis courts which are available to residents. One interesting aspect of Chatham is that it has an extensive trail system that dates back to the Revolutionary War. Here are a few parks to check out. 

castle park chatham

Castle Park

Castle Park | 651 Shunpike Road

Castles big and small are spread out all over this Shunpike Field playground. Children of all ages have a blast running over bridges to peek into high towers as well as using the swings and winding slides of all shapes and sizes.
Meyersville Municipal Building Playground | 58 Meyersville Road
This is a great “starter” playground for young children. There are lots of little slides and small structures for children to play on.

Shepard Kollock Park | 64 Parrott Mill Road

At Shepard Kollock Park, there’s a large climbing structure right next to several well-maintained athletic fields. Your kids can have a blast playing on the playground while you watch a local sports game.

Memorial Park | N. Passaic Ave

Located behind the Library of the Chathams is this large, tree-covered playground with 3 separate climbing structures. It also offers fun tube slides for kids.

Real Estate Corner via The Giordano Group

The Chatham real estate market is hopping. There were 63 sales in the first quarter of 2022, which was down from 88 the same time last year — so there aren’t a lot of houses on the market.

There are only 55 active homes for sale as of May 18th. The average sales price was $1,094,944 with 41% of the homes selling for over $1,000,000, 4 in Chatham Boro vs 21 in Chatham Township. There are opportunities to buy homes under $750k, but be just prepared to go over the asking price and make some compromises like waiving an appraisal and inspection contingencies. Overall, the days on market were 21 days for Q1. If you’re interested in learning more about Chatham or any neighboring towns, give Darren and The Giordano team a call or shoot them an email at darreng@kw.com.

Stay tuned for the next town in our North Jersey series, coming soon.

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