How to Spend a Day in Summit, NJ

by Emma Garibian
north jersey restaurants

Summit, NJ is a charming town located in Union County. It boasts a rich history, beautiful parks, and an array of unique shops and restaurants. Whether you’re a local or just passing through, there’s plenty to do in Summit.

Morning Breakfast and Caffeine

Boxwood Coffee

Start your day with a delicious cup of Joe at Boxwood Coffee. This cozy coffee shop offers a wide selection of coffee and tea, as well as fresh pastries and sandwiches. Enjoy your breakfast on their outdoor patio or take it to-go for a morning walk through downtown Summit.

The Committed Pig 

Let’s sit down for some breakfast or brunch at The Committed Pig. The creative menu offers over six different breakfast sandwiches, as well as extravagant pancakes, French toast, and omelets. One of my favorites at the Committed Pig is their “Cinnamon Crunch French Toast.” The meal truly brings you back to eating cinnamony cereals as a kid. 

 

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Summit Diner

If you have never been to Summit Diner, run don’t walk! It has been a local favorite since it opened in 1929 and has retained its nostalgic charm with its classic décor and 1950s-style booths. The diner serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with an extensive menu that includes classic diner fare, which means it’s perfect for breakfast. It’s open 24/7, so even if you don’t want to have breakfast in the AM, they’ve got your back all day. 

Take a Morning Stroll

Reeves-Reed Arboretum

After breakfast, head over to Reeves-Reed Arboretum. This 13.5-acre arboretum offers a tranquil escape from the bustling city. Trek through the gardens and admire the diverse collection of trees, plants, and flowers. The Arboretum also provides various educational programs and events, so be sure to check their calendar before you go.

Lunchtime

Summit, NJ has plenty of great options for lunch. Here are some places you might want to check out.

The Meat House

Stop at the Meat House if you are looking for a juicy and hearty sandwich. Whether it’s the succulent Steak Tip sandwich or the fiery Chicken Fire Dancer, the sandwiches are the perfect option for lunch. The sandwiches, subs, and heroes are made with the freshest ingredients, crafted to perfection, and drizzled with one of their many handmade specialty sauces or marinades. Inside, the space doubles as a market offering some gourmet groceries and many other house-made dishes. Their sandwiches will keep you full and maybe in a food coma for the rest of the day—I know from experience…

 

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The Village Trattoria

C’mon, we are in New Jersey, you can’t pass up on the local trattoria. The Village Trattoria is exactly the place you want to be to grab an afternoon slice or two. Not in the mood for pizza, but that’s ok. The Village Trattoria has pasta, cold subs, hot subs, and salads. The atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming, like stepping into Nonna’s kitchen. 

Hill City Deli

Hill City Deli is a popular spot located in Summit, NJ, known for its delicious sandwiches and friendly service. It’s the perfect place to grab a sub (or a hoagie) and picnic at the local park. With 17 different Sloppy Joe’s, 15 submarines, 22 cold sandwiches, and 14 hot sandwiches, you will most definitely find something for yourself. Hill City Deli is nowhere near “sub”-par. 

Ani Ramen

At Ani Ramen in Summit, casual meets high-quality. Bring your family or your friends to enjoy their comfort food. They are known for their delicious and authentic Japanese ramen dishes. In addition to ramen, they also serve other Japanese dishes such as gyoza, rice bowls, and sushi rolls. Even when the weather gets warmer, Ani Ramen can help cool you down with their signature cocktails, like ​​Yuzu Sake Freeze or Princess Peach.

 

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Attractions and Activities

After lunch, walk through downtown Summit and explore the many unique shops and boutiques. From clothing and jewelry to home goods and gifts, you’re sure to find something special. Not into shopping? Summit has a great selection of other activities as well. 

Summit Cheese Shoppe

If you love cheese, charcuterie, and good food, then make sure to make your way to Summit Cheese Shoppe. The shop carries a large variety of cheeses, including artisanal, farmstead cheeses, and imported cheeses from countries like France, Italy, and Spain. Even if you are not too familiar with the diversity of cheeses, their friendly and knowledgeable staff are always passionately there to give recommendations. 

 

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Bull N Bear Brewery

Just a short walk from the Summit train station lies the newest brewery to make the craft beer scene in Summit, NJ. Bull n Bear Brewery features a handful of handcrafted beer designed to quench your thirst and satisfy your taste buds. Bull n Bear also offers some great events year-round, including many local musicians and bands. So grab a pint and get ready to sing your heart out to some oldies and good vibes. 

Scotti’s Record Shop

Scotti’s Record Shop has one of the best collections in New Jersey. Since 1956 they have been stocking current and classic titles. From rock to jazz and everything in between, you can most definitely find something to jam out to. One of my favorite items in the shop is the posters. They carry many of the original concert posters, but they also have Rock T-shirts, Books, Vintage Memorabilia, and recycled vinyl crafts. 

Visual Arts Center of New Jersey 

The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey is a non-profit organization located in Summit, NJ. It’s a dynamic art center that provides a variety of exhibitions, classes, and programs to engage the local community with the arts. They also have an art studio that offers classes and workshops for all ages and skill levels, including painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, and ceramics. Make sure to check their calendar when you visit. They offer great community events, such as art fairs, festivals, and lectures. 

 

Finish off with Dinner 

Summit, NJ has a vibrant culinary scene, with plenty of options for dinner, depending on your preferences. Here are a few options to consider

Summit House

Summit House is a standout restaurant that combines old-world charm with modern New American cuisine. The restaurant exudes a sense of history and nostalgia. From the metal, flame-lit lanterns outside to the Edwardian-style coffered ceilings and triple-pane Victorian windows inside. Chef Justin Antiorio leads the kitchen, crafting a menu of locally-sourced seasonal fare with playful options like pork belly banh mi and handmade pasta. The bar, led by director Bobby Frascella, offers an array of refined cocktails that perfectly complement the menu. This place is so good we even included it in our best restaurants list of 2022. 

Fiorino

Fiorino is located in the heart of downtown Summit and provides fine Tuscan dining brought to you by the Bitici Family. This Italian restaurant offers a cozy and romantic atmosphere, with a menu of classic Italian dishes made with fresh and locally sourced ingredients. Some of the most popular dishes at Fiorino include the Ramp and Ricotta Gnudi and the Sautéed Branzino with mushrooms. They also offer a selection of Italian wines to complement your meal.

 

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Roots Steakhouse

This classic eatery has some of the best signature steak dishes in the state. Located right in the center of town, Roots Steakhouse is a magnet for after-work drinks and special occasion meals. From Filet Mignon to New York Strip, every steak on the menu is made to your liking. If you’re not in the mood for meat, opt for something different such as this shellfish bowl served with mussels, clams, and more. But don’t forget to leave room for the extravagant desserts made by their pastry chefs.

 

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