Popular opinion: the winter season is totally unpleasant, especially after the holidays. We are already counting down to the spring, or at least to weather that is above 50 degrees. I will say though—the best part about winter is the excuse to enjoy comfort food all season long! If I could recommend one place that boasts outstanding food and perfectly crafted cocktails in a cozy setting, it’d be Onieal’s Bar & Restaurant in Hoboken.
Sitting on the corner of Church Square Park, Onieal’s combines a pub atmosphere with the vibe of an old-school steakhouse. The choice is up to you if you want to make it a special occasion outing or a low-key dinner. Neighborhood gems like Onieal’s are the ones you never get sick of. With a cozy dining room and lively bar area and lounge, you’ll feel transported across the river as if it was the 1930s. The music selection is a combination of classic rock, soul and any underrated song that’s ever been stuck in your end if you know what I mean.
I was originally drawn to Onieal’s from when I first moved to Hoboken and was on the hunt for the best cheeseburgers. After careful research and viewing photos on Instagram and Yelp, I chose Onieals to be the first contestant. Let’s just say, it’s no wonder their menu reads “Hoboken’s Best Burgers.” It didn’t take long for me to crown them the winner and begin trying everything else they have to offer.
Before we get to the main event, let’s talk about the starters, shall we? If you like buffalo wings, then you’re in luck because theirs are amazing. These wings are served in the perfect size and boast tons of meat on the bone. Of course, you can’t go wrong with chicken noodle soup in the winter months and Onieal’s has their own take on the classic dish.
If you’re really hungry, one of my personal favorite appetizers that can also be served as an entrée is the penne vodka. I know, this may come as a surprise to those who don’t believe in ordering pasta at a place that is labeled as a “bar and restaurant” or “tavern.” However, this is unlike any other I’ve tried, even at an Italian restaurant. (I’ve yet to try Carbone, so stay tuned.) It comes soaked in a spicy, sun-dried tomato cream sauce spiked with vodka that’ll leave you practically licking the plate after all the pasta is gone.
Bottom line, everything is super fresh and you can tell that quality is their main priority. I didn’t really have high standards when we ordered the chicken tenders, but they looked (and tasted) like they were hand-battered. In the restaurant industry, that is rare. Therefore, I’m convinced that Onieal’s actually cares about what they serve to patrons.
Now, let’s get to the real reason why their burger will always be crowned number one in my head. When it’s in front of you, you’ll notice that the patty is coated in cheese and the bun is puffed up to perfection. As you bite into it, the meat is super juicy and cooked to perfection. I’ll never forget when I tried my first cheeseburger from Onieal’s—the juice came running out after I bit into it. (I advise not to wear a white shirt or any top you greatly admire, it can be risky.)
The burger section of their menu boasts more than 10 options such as The John Wayne that’s topped with cheddar, bacon and BBQ sauce; the All-American with lettuce, tomato, onion and American cheese; the Wall Streeter topped with sauteed onions, bacon and cheddar cheese; and of course, the signature Onieal’s Famous burger.
If you’re like me and prefer to customize your perfect burger, you can also go ahead and choose your toppings and type of cheese. My go-to usually is the Onieal’s Famous burger in which I add blue cheese crumbles or American cheese and sauteed mushrooms.
If you’re not a huge fan of burgers, their menu also boasts a variety of different options. They have a sandwich dedicated to their location called the Church Square that contains turkey, guacamole, Monterey Jack cheese and Russian dressing on grilled rye bread. They also serve steak Frites topped with an herb compound butter or a fresh Maryland crab cake sandwich. I promise you won’t leave hungry.
The Classic Cocktails
It’s a big deal when an establishment has unbelievable food. But, if you can pair high-quality cocktails and a great ambiance, then it’s a total knockout in my book.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s pretty stellar when a restaurant has intricate cocktails but I prefer the classics. My go-to is a Tito’s Martini and Onieal’s knows how to serve it—a little icy with blue cheese-stuffed olives. If you’re a fan of spicy Bloody Mary’s, then they have you covered as well.
Let’s just say Onieal’s is the kind of place you want to go to when you’ve had a hard day, or if you’re looking for a low-key brunch spot with both amazing food and cocktails.
I know that I’m vouching for Onieal’s as a perfect spot for the colder months, but it honestly fits the criteria for an all-year spot. During the warmer months, they have outdoor seating with great views of Church Square Park that makes it so aesthetically pleasing. I absolutely recommend a Sunday Funday at Onieal’s when it’s warm so you have an excuse to sit out there all day long.
Right now, Onieal’s is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and just announced they’re delivering within Hoboken. You can order by calling directly or online. They don’t take reservations; seating is first-come, first-served.
Main image courtesy of @oniealshoboken