Newark has quite an eclectic palette of restaurants, and many are right outside the Prudential Center for patrons to try. Many people call this venue The Rock because of the logo of its namesake, Prudential Financial. It’s just a quick PATH ride away to see professional sports and other concerts and performances. Come for the event, but honestly, stay for the food because there are so many great options to choose from: patrons won’t be stuck with a stadium hot dog or stale popcorn. Keep reading for some great food around the Prudential Center.
Burger Walla | 47 Halsey Street
(Photo credit: @burgerwalla)
Burger Walla is a good option just a short walk from the Prudential Center for some classic burgers and bar favorites with a twist. Burger Walla describes itself as combining “pure Americana staples with the strong cultural cues of Indian cuisine,” which comes to life with the menu choices. See this to be true with the Walla Samosa Burger, a fried and smashed veggie samosa served with burger classics like lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and pickles, or the Walla chicken sandwich infused with cilantro chutney and served with pepper jack cheese, tomato, sweet pickles, sautéed onions, and Walla Sauce. This spot was created by locals in the area who aim to make this a local watering hole to relax, work, or even watch a game on TV.
Chipotle | 222 Market Street
Sometimes when there isn’t time for a reservation at a sit-down restaurant, a quick service option may be the play. Located right down the street from the main entrance of The Rock, this Chipotle is an option for guests who need something to nosh on in a pinch. Keep in mind that there are also other fast choices once inside, too — the Prudential Center serves up delicious chicken tenders and fries.
Don Pepe Restaurant | 844 McCarter Highway
(Photo credit: Don Pepe Restaurant)
For a nicer meal before an event at The Rock, head to Don Pepe’s for traditional Spanish cuisine. Come for seafood and stay for the big portions. This upscale dining experience takes the old-world charm of Spanish dishes and combines it with a modern flair. The menu includes homemade sangria and an extensive wine list perfect to enjoy before heading to the Prudential Center. Make sure to check the website for the dress code, which is business casual, formal, or elegant.
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Marcus B&P | 56 Halsey Street
(Photo credit: @marcusbpnewark)
Just over a ten-minute walk from The Prudential Center is this very trendy spot from widely acclaimed chef Marcus Samuelsson. In fact, he was the youngest person to ever receive a three-star review from The New York Times. The menu here is enticing with classic menu items like brown sugar wings and hot honey chicken with a cornbread waffle. Walk in or make a reservation, it doesn’t matter, but just make sure to check out this restaurant with cool vibes and even better dishes.
McGovern’s Tavern | 58-60 New Street
(Photo credit: @mcgoverns_tavern)
While it may be one of the oldest Irish Pubs in New Jersey, there is nothing aged about the food and vibes of McGovern’s Tavern. This Newark staple has been serving brews and pub fare to guests for 86 years. Diners love the burgers, and many keep coming back for the great atmosphere. Plus, it’s less than a 15-minute walk to The Rock, so enjoying yourself with friends before the event is a no-brainer.
Mercato Tomato Pie | 212 Market Street
(Photo credit: @mercatotomatopie)
This family-run restaurant is more than just a local pizza joint) located steps away from the Prudential Center. The vibes here are urban and rustic and pay homage to the teams that call The Rock home. There are quality pizzas to choose from, like the cheeseburger pizza, the breakfast pizza, and more. Diners can also go for one of the burger options like the Avocado Cali cheeseburger. If it seems too hard to pick the drink pairing with dinner, this place has diners covered with suggested pairings like the homemade red sangria with the meat lover’s pizza.
NICO Kitchen + Bar | 1 Center Street
(Photo credit: @nicokitchen_bar)
While situated within the NJ Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), it’s still a good option to choose before events at the Prudential Center (as long as it’s not a Sunday or Monday since it’s closed then). NICO Kitchen + Bar’s menu has cheese boards, pizzas, and salads as starters (among other options). Diners can then choose from delectable dishes like braised short rib, salmon, filet mignon, and crispy mushroom cakes for the main course. What’s great is that it’s just a quick 10-minute walk from The Rock.
Redd’s Biergarten | 220 Market Street, 37 Edison Place
(Photo credit: @reddsbiergarten)
Redd’s Biergarten is open for all home games and events at the Prudential Center and is located literally outside the front doors. It doesn’t take reservations, so make sure to leave enough time for this first-come, first-served dining experience. While there are the usual brats and other beer garden fare, there is also a vegetarian menu to try. Any allergies are no problem here, and some menu items can even be prepared gluten-free. Of course, guests can’t forget the beer menu with many German brews to choose from, as well as other types of drinks from the full bar.
Spanish Tavern | 103 McWhorter Street A
(Photo credit: @spanishtavernironbound)
This elegant dining option is great for any fancier meals before visiting the Prudential Center. The Spanish-inspired menu makes it a delicious stop for some great seafood. Come hungry because the appetizers are meant to be shared before diving into the seafood- or meat-based choices like paella. It’s less than a 10-minute walk just on the other side of Route 21.