By now, you’ve made the effort to keep your New Year’s resolution to eat more vegetables, limit carbs, and avoid the vending machines at work. Good for you! Now, it’s okay to treat yourself to some comfort food at a little restaurant that you’ve probably passed right by several times without realizing it.
If you’re downtown Trenton at lunchtime and want a break from the food court, sub shop, and pizzeria, continue walking (or take the bus that rides by frequently) two blocks past the NJ State Museum and State Library, one block from Calhoun Street and the Thomas Edison State University Nursing School, to Café 609. Never heard of it? Sometimes the best discoveries are hidden in plain sight.
Café 609, formerly C & C Café, located at 333 West State Street and Rutgers Place, inside the Carteret Arms apartment building, has been under your nose all this time. With just eight tables, this cozy pocket restaurant is small but roomy enough for you and your friends and coworkers to enjoy a variety of delicious meals. Open Monday through Saturday, from 11:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., it is wise to call ahead at (609) 337-7100 to ask about their daily specials and to reserve your food.
I have enjoyed oxtail, stewed beef, jerk chicken, blackened salmon, beef ribs, roast chicken, shrimp, and tilapia. Generous portions are enough to set aside left overs to take back to the office or home for a tasty snack! All dinners include your choice of two sides: sautéed collards, string beans, rice and beans, or candied yams.
Doing research at the State Library or the archives downtown? Taking in the State Museum on a Saturday or on a day off? Call in your order, come in, relax, and enjoy it. Catching a performance at the Passage Theatre Company at Mill Hill Playhouse downtown? Reserve a platter for two or six of shrimp and buffalo, jerk, fried, and lemon pepper chicken wings to share with your friends before the show. Wash it down with a cold drink from a selection of refreshing sodas and juices (or ask if there are any bottles of sorrel left to remind you of “home”).
You may prefer to treat yourself to a late breakfast of chicken and waffles, pancakes, French toast, or eggs and grits. During your morning work break, call ahead to order your lunch: maybe a Philly cheesesteak, Island pasta, grilled chicken and shrimp salad, the “609” Burger, or other sandwiches which include a side order of fries. Don’t forget dessert: red velvet cake, cheesecake, or chocolate cake, or pudding.
Instagram a snapshot of your meal to friends, family, and colleagues. Why keep this place a secret?
Ask about their catering services too for your birthday, retirement, anniversary parties and other events.
Trenton offers a good mix of affordable, conveniently-located restaurants for locals and tourists alike. Small eateries like Café 609 are just waiting to welcome you. Keep their phone number handy and call them soon. Let’s keep them busy!