Make your way into Cellar 335 at any point in the year and you’re bound to see a difference in several variations of tiki vibe: During the holidays a sign outside will say “sleighs and leighs,” and the interior will be decked with all the boughs of holly people expect during the holidays; during the summer the vibrant smells and flavors of cocktails that you’d enjoy while sitting on a beach in Honolulu fill the space. However, no matter what time of year hungry and thirsty customers come to the restaurant, the one thing that they can rely on is an experience.
In almost every neighborhood there’s a spot that showcases the best of flavor and preparation, a culinary gem. For me, a restaurant qualifies as a “neighborhood” gem when it’s not widely known outside its environs; when, despite its modesty, its food and flavors can compete with anyone’s; and when you are made to feel welcome the minute you walk through the door. I consider these restaurants neighborhood gems:
Yet, amidst all the extravagance you’ll see a building that is so out of place it feels as though someone just dropped it in from the outskirts of town. On the outside of the building is nothing more than a neon sign with the words “Golden Cicada.” While it might not look like much, it’s one of the most beloved bars in Jersey City, and it has captured the spirit of the community for decades.