unusual buildings now home to quirky food eateries

like burgers from a gas station or hot dogs from a railroad car

Burgers from a gas station? Coffee from a Fotomat? Hot dogs from a train? Yes, in North Jersey you can get all three — as well as prosciutto from a bank, espresso from a train station and cocktails from an 18th-century barn. Thanks to pricey real estate, the area has become home to some interestingly set restaurants — some of which you may have driven past a thousand times, never knowing they served food.

Here are a few worth checking out next time you pass:

Roseee’s Filling Station: 79 Harrison Ave., Garfield; 973-478-7674.

You don’t have to think too hard to figure out what this roadside diner used to be. The former Sunoco gas station has retained much of its auto-themed past, filling up customers with uniquely named salads and sandwiches in the two-bay garage where tune-ups and oil changes were performed prior to 2000.

Longfellow’s Coffee 2 Kiel Ave. (corner of Route 23 and Kinnelon Road), Kinnelon; 973-283-1551 or longfellowscoffee.com.

If you drove up to the 7-by-17-foot kiosk prior to 2004, you could get photos printed, copied or enlarged in a parking lot Fotomat. Now you can get coffee, lattes and other hot and cold beverages, all without getting out of your car.

Hot Dog Caboose 211 Greenwood Ave., Midland Park; 201-444-2531 or hotdogcaboose.com.

The 100-year-old caboose, which pulled up the rear of an operational train in Pennsylvania until the mid-1970s, previously acted as a gift shop and model train store in its current location. Since 2006, it’s ditched the Lionel memorabilia in favor of serving jazzed-up Sabrett hot dogs, hot sausages, ice cream and soda.

La Strada Deli 231 Godwin Ave., Midland Park; 201-670-9233 or lastradagourmet.net.

These days, the only accounts being balanced at this former New Jersey First National Bank are those of local diners picking up lunch. Since 1993, Italian favorites have filled the renovated space, homemade stromboli and bruschetta among them. Other chilled items are kept safe in the downstairs walk-in refrigerator positioned in an old vault.

Café Angelique 1 Piermont Road, Tenafly; 201-541-1010 or cafeangelique.com.

The Tenafly railroad station has seen its fair share of history between its opening in 1872 and closing to passenger trains in 1966. It’s also seen some since, having served as a clothing store, a beauty salon and, beginning in 2004, an upscale French-inspired café where coffee and confections are always pulling into the station.

The Barn359 Sicomac Ave., Wyckoff; 201-848-0108 or thebarnnj.com.

In 1779, in the midst of an agrarian age, the building was erected as a barn. In the early 1920s, it was converted into a tearoom. And in 1929, in the midst of Prohibition, it was flipped into a speakeasy, providing homemade booze for workers from the local silk mills. The food followed soon thereafter. In May, The Barn will celebrate its 80th anniversary as a burger, rib and steak joint where the booze flows legally and only the diners graze.

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One response to this post.

  1. Aww! These are interesting. I will try to include some in my travel itinerary this year. Thanks for all the tips. Nice post!

    Reply

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