Home Jersey City Exploring Jersey City: Van Vorst Park Neighborhood

Exploring Jersey City: Van Vorst Park Neighborhood

by Carianne
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With the sun shining and the snow {finally} melted, it’s about time to enjoy another Saturday in Jersey City for our newest adventure in the Van Vorst Park neighborhood. Bounded by Christopher Columbus Drive, Marin Boulevard, Grand Street, and Varick Street, the Van Vorst Park neighborhood is a cozy section of JC full of restaurants, shops, and much more.  Here’s a peek inside this Jersey City neighborhood:


You can easily get to the Van Vorst section of the neighborhood via the Grove Street PATH — which is a mere {less than a} block from the edge of the neighborhood. An Uber/Lyft ride from wherever you are is also a viable option.


The Van Vorst Park area of JC is centered around the iconic {drumroll please…} Van Vorst Park! The park, established in 1835, is named after the European Van Vorst family that settled in area during the 1600s, and is the centerpiece of the neighborhood with nearly two acres of extensive park property that include a gazebo, two playgrounds, a splash park, a dog park, and a small neighborhood garden {that you can volunteer to help maintain}. References to local historical figures can be seen on most street corners in the Van Vorst park of JC, with street names such as Richard Varick {of Varick Street} and Cadwallader David Colden {of Colden Street}.

Eating and Drinking

Dolma {270 Grand Street}  

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Tucked away in a freestanding building on Grand Street, Dolma offers your tastebuds the opportunity to experience delicious Eastern Mediterranean fare for brunch, lunch, or dinner. With plenty of gluten-free and vegetarian options, this BYO restaurant is a tiny gem in the area. FYI: It has limited seating and a patio area for the warmer months, so make a reservation if possible. {PS: they’re closed Mondays.}

Kitchen Step {500 Jersey Avenue}  

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The Kitchen Step, a new American restaurant with chef Ryan DePersio {of Montclair’s Fascino, Jersey City’s Battello, and Newark’s Nico Kitchen + Bar} is a great spot to grab brunch with friends on the weekend or small plates and dinner on a weekend night with your beau. With a tasty cocktail menu that’s nearly as extensive as the food menu, you’ll be missing out if you don’t try this savory restaurant the next time you’re in the Van Vorst Park area. {FYI — they’re also closed Mondays.}  

Lackawanna Coffee {295 Grove Street}  

If you’re serious about your coffee culture {and you’re looking for Brooklyn vibes on this side of the water}, head to Lackawanna Coffee ASAP. Laid out with artistic flair, this coffee shop is aesthetically pleasing and comfortable at the same time. With treats and deliciously light food on the menu {try the hummus and pickle toast if possible}, you’re bound to find a tasty bite. The shop serves many types of alternative milks, and if you’re looking for a matcha latte made just right, Lackawanna Coffee has you covered.

Razza Pizza Artigianale {275 Grove Street}  

If you’re looking for pizza done right, you must run {not walk} to Razza’s. With chef Dan Richer at the helm, Razza’s is hoping to make a classic dish — pizza — come alive with fresh local ingredients and exceptional ingredient combinations. Each pizza, made individually and roasted in the pizza oven, will make your tastebuds siiiing. The bread and butter is made in-house {with milk from cows in Chester County, PA}, and is worth the extra money and the calories. {FYI — they’re closed Sundays and don’t take reservations.}

Broa {297 Grove Street}  


This tiny restaurant {and part-time bodega} is the little slice of Portugal you’ve been missing. With a menu that changes daily and a focus on fresh foods, Broa prepares only what’s available in their kitchen. This means that each small plate is extremely fresh, but it also means that on a fast night, Broa may run out of your favorite menu item. Regardless, this BYO restaurant is worth the risk for the freshness alone, so swing by for brunch, for dinner, or anytime in between. {FYI — they’re closed Mondays.}

Kraverie {24 Mercer Street}  


Three words: Kimchi cheese fries. Need we say more? Delicious. This food truck turned brick and mortar shop has been serving the JC community tasty Korean BBQ since 2009. With weekly happy hours that include $3 tacos and $1 wings, how can you go wrong with such flavor and a responsible price tag? {FYI — they’re closed Monday, and open for brunch, lunch, and dinner, Tuesday through Sunday.}

Short Grain {183 Montgomery Street}  

This sunny coffee shop and small plate restaurant is made for foodies and coffee drinkers alike! With healthy vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options abound, this little shop is a great place to bring your health-conscious crew. Also offering fresh pressed juices and matcha lattes, you can’t go wrong with whatever you’re drinking or eating at Short Grain. And since the shop is open 7 days a week, you never have to miss out on what Short Grain has to offer.

Subia’s Organic Market {506 Jersey Avenue}


This diamond in the rough is a vegan’s dream. Don’t let the somewhat ‘relaxed’ exterior stop you from trying this healthy and delicious spot. With smoothies, sandwiches, salads, “burgers” and more, Subia’s has everything you might be craving sans meat {+ the veggie hummus sandwich is especially sure to please}. The food rings in at a slightly higher price point than similar cafes, but it’s worth it for the taste and because the portion sizes are extremely generous. If you do try this restaurant-shop combo, don’t forget to try amazing vegan dessert from the counter.

Taqueria Downtown {236 Grove Street}

If you’re looking for some down-home Mexican food and yummy margaritas, Taqueria should be your next food destination. Open 7 days a week from 11:00 AM until 11:00 PM, you can get your taco fix pretty much anytime — and a good one at that. An often loud and crowded joint, you’ll feel right at home with the seriously reasonably priced tasty tacos, chunky guacamole, and spicy salsa. And if {we mean, when} you head over to Taqueria, don’t miss out on the Chorizo tacos. 

Wurstbar {516 Jersey Avenue}  


With generous helpings of poutine, wurst, and wine on tap, you may need to hit the gym before stopping by this rustic restaurant, but it’s well worth it. Open late {until midnight Sunday through Thursday and open until 2 AM on Friday and Saturday}, you’ll find food to fill all your late night snacking needs — AND they have a Happy Hour menu Monday through Friday from 4 PM – 7 PM. Don’t forget to try all of the dipping sauces, especially the Sriracha Ginger Aioli.

Brownstone Diner & Pancake Factory {426 Jersey Avenue}  


The Brownstone Diner & Pancake Factory is a classic NJ diner with endless food options and breakfast served all day. You can’t go wrong with any pancake choice, though the Nutella Hazelnut Pancakes will not disappoint. If you’re in the mood for breakfast in the evening that’s not a problem either, as the Brownstone serves brekky all day. This is a great place to bring your friends or family — but it’s best not to drive here, as parking is tough!

Park & Sixth {279 Grove Street}  


You can’t make a visit to Park & Sixth restaurant without trying one of their glorious burgers — because they’re ahhhhhmazing. If burgers don’t entice you enough, this joint serves up countless types of french fry concoctions that include decadent combos like short rib gravy, gorgonzola, and cheddar cheese atop delicious spuds, deemed “John Travolta” fries. Another great perk of this place is the daily promotions that include “buy a taco, get a draft or wine free” on Tuesday and “buck a shuck” oysters on Wednesday, with additional promotions for the rest of the week and during brunch hours.

Read more: Exploring Jersey City: Hamilton Park Neighborhood

Shopping/Things to do

Another Man’s Treasure {195 Montgomery Street}  

Another Man’s Treasure {a familiar feature on Hoboken Girl} is the kind of store you could get lost in for hours {despite the fact that the store isn’t thaaat large inside}. This vintage dream has every sequined, beaded, fuzzy, furry, tulled dress you can imagine, juxtaposed with unique 70s + 80s t-shirt you couldn’t even dream up. With clothing, accessories, furniture, and knick-knacks from every era, this shop allows you to go back in time while being extremely fashion forward today. Don’t miss out on all this store has to offer, and spend some time combing the racks the next time you visit. PS: AMT has actually been included in both USA Today and Elle.com’s best places to shop vintage in AMERICA, and Refinery 29 has included it as one of the top 25 reasons to move to NJ!

Cool Vines {276 Grove Street}  


This trendy store hosts a serious collection of wines and craft beers for all your BYO needs. Not only does Cool Vines carry a great selection of your favorite booze, they also have a stellar appetizer section in case you need supplies for a last minute gathering. If that wasn’t enough, the shop also sells local products {think pickles, sauces, etc.} and last minute gifts for a friend’s house warming or your next party. The shop is a little on the expensive side, but it’s worth it for the helpful staff and unique finds.

Feena Boutique {297 Grove Street}  


This lovely little boutique run by shop owner Elizabeth, is a little slice of shopping heaven. Listed on the sign inside the store, “Feena is a Portuguese word for ‘fine’ and used to describe a person, place or thing that is refined, elegant, delicate, yet bold, stylish, and cultured,” and this shop does just that. With handcrafted pieces from Portugal {jewelry, scarves, accessories, housewares, etc.} mixed with apparel and goods locally made in Jersey City, this shop has everything you might need {or want}. You won’t be able to leave this store without several goodies and gifts in tow.

Kanibal & Co. {197 Montgomery Street}  

A frequently visited shop for HobokenGirl, this gem is jam packed full of locally-made housewares, accessories, clothing, jewelry, and JC proud items that will make you return again and again. If you’re in need of a housewarming gift, stationery, or edgy jewelry piece, Kanibal & Co. should be your next stop. And as if that wasn’t enough, this shop frequently offers workshops and classes that include such fun activities as terrarium building, butterfly pinning, and making your own lip balm.  

Tia’s Place {277 Grove Street}  

This Van Vorst Park area shop has been selling chic clothing for over 10 years in JC. Offering trendy clothing from going out dresses to office wear, you’ll definitely leave this store with a new outfit or fun accessory. Most pieces are very reasonably priced, which just means you can leave the store with even more clothing than you thought.

Vivi Girl {512 Jersey Avenue}  

If you’re looking for cute summer dresses, linen tops, cotton t-shirts, and stylish sunnies that scream spring is here {finally}, Vivi Girl should be your next stop. With racks full of clothing that can be worn at work and transitioned easily to nighttime spring/summer adventures, you’ll walk away with fashionable outfits that are cute-yet-comfortable. The general price point is in the $70-$200 range, but every penny is def worth it. PS: Show our deals directory on your phone at checkout, and get 20% off any full-priced item!

Read more: Exploring Jersey City: Paulus Hook Neighborhood


Van Vorst Park  

A focal point of the Van Vorst Park area of JC is, of course, Van Vorst Park. With beautifully planted flowers, a gazebo, playgrounds, dog runs, a community garden, and open space to boot, Van Vorst Park is a great place to spend time with your family and friends on a sunny day in JC. The Van Vorst Park Association and the Friends of Van Vorst Park group help maintain the space and bring programming here throughout the year. With a film series during the summer months, Shakespeare in the Park, a farmer’s market, and yoga and workout classes held in the space, there’s always something happening in this beautiful outdoor arena.

Van Vorst Park Farmers’ Market  


On Saturdays from 8:30 AM until 3:00 PM April through December, a farmer’s market is held near the gazebo in the Van Vorst Park. With a variety of fruits and veggies, baked goods, dried fruits, nuts, and much more, there is always something fresh and delicious to take home.

Grove Street Farmers’ Market 


May through December, Mondays, and Thursdays from 4:00 PM until 8:00 PM, you can also shop the extensive Grove Street Farmers’ Market right off the Grove Street Path Station. A 10-year tradition in JC, this market hosts vendors from many of the great stores and shops listed above. You really can’t go wrong when you visit the market, but do be sure to bring a big bag, because you may end up with a few more things than you thought.

Barrow Mansion  


Built in the early 1800s, the Barrow Mansion is a constant reminder of the vast history of Jersey City. The Barrow Mansion lot was purchased by William Barrow in 1835 next to an adjacent lot that would later become the Van Vorst Mansion. William Barrow was married to Eliza Brower Barrow. Eliza’s Sister, Sarah S. Brower Van Vorst, was married to the wealthy Cornelius Van Vorst who would later become mayor of this area in the mid-1800s. The lots were purchased to provide the sisters with a common garden, however, Sarah passed away before both mansions were completed, and the Van Vorst mansion was knocked down in the 1920s. Today, the Barrow Mansion is home to many artistic performing groups, wellness classes, and community programs. Those who run the Barrow Mansion provide the community with a space for growth and programming, and tours of the space can be arranged through the Barrow Mansion Development Corporation.

Where’s your favorite Van Vorst spot? Comment below and tag us on your visit on Instagram @HobokenGirlBlog!

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