Home Food + DrinkBars How to Spend a Day in Nutley, New Jersey

How to Spend a Day in Nutley, New Jersey

by Christina Mastroeni
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Spending a day in Nutley is easier than most think. While it’s considered to be a smaller town, it’s packed with activities. With so many options to grab a bite, some cute boutiques to pop in and shop, beautiful spaces to walk in the park, and more, Nutley is a little town with a lot to do for a day. Keep reading for The Montclair Girl’s guide to spend the day in Nutley, New Jersey.


A Brief History of Nutley, NJ

Founded in 1902, Nutley has become a quiet space with a small-town ambiance. The town received its name from the large estate of the Satterthwaite family. In 1902 the town changed its name from Franklin to Nutley. This land was originally considered the northeast corner of Newark. There was also a growth in population over this time which changed the government from Township to Mayor/Council.

While there’s little photography and recorded data from the town’s early years, Nutley’s Historical buildings speak for themselves. Three notable buildings are the Holding Kingsland Manor, Van Riper House, and Church Street School (which is now the Nutley Museum). The town acquired these historic sites in addition to the Vreeland Homestead + 12 homes within the Enclosure Historic District.

In addition to historical buildings, Nutley’s parks also have some history behind them. Kingsland Park dates back over one hundred years since its creation in 1921. Yanticaw Park dates back even further to 1911 when Essex County began purchasing the land, completing the park in 1914.

Read More: How to Spend a Day in Belleville, New Jersey

Places to Eat

Bella Luce Restaurant + Bar | 507 Franklin Avenue


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Bella Luce has been serving the Nutley area with authentic Italian cuisine for nearly nine years. Dinner options to try are the Prince Edward Island Mussels (garlic, white wine, tomato sauce, + Calabrian chili) and Sweet Fennel Sausage (broccoli rabe, roasted potatoes, fresh garlic, + Tuscan olive oil) for starters. Move onto the Veal Paillard (milk-fed domestic veal top round, sauteed vegetables, + roasted potatoes) or the Branzino (pan-roasted, cannellini beans, + escarole). Finish the meal with a slice of White Chocolate Cheesecake (sweet + creamy cheesecake with white chocolate flavor).

Chris + Angie’s Dinette | 545 Franklin Avenue

chris angies dinette diner nutley new jersey interior

Chris + Angie’s Dinette is a relatively new addition to Nutley’s Diner scene. Whether it’s grabbing brunch after church on Sundays or grabbing a classic cup of diner coffee, Chris + Angie’s is a great spot to eat, chat, and enjoy good company. Some menu options to consider are Avocado Toast (poached eggs, cherry tomatoes, radish, sesame seeds on sourdough with mixed greens), Greek Burger (melted Feta, tzatziki), and Peaches + Cream Waffle (peaches in vanilla cream, whipped cream, + powdered sugar).

Cowan’s Public | 229 Centre Street


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Cowan’s Public is a great spot for history buffs as this establishment began in the early 1920’s, nearly 100 years ago. Menus are available for brunch, dinner, dessert, beverages + happy hour, and a special menu for kids. Consider trying the Short Rib on Rosemary Ciabatta (slow braised short rib, caramelized red onion, shoestring potatoes, horseradish crema), or the Corn Dog (jalapeno corn batter, stone-ground yellow honey mustard, scallions, waffle fries).

Cucina 355 | 355 Franklin Avenue

Located near the intersection of Franklin Avenue + Chestnut Street, Cucina 355 serves up Italian dishes seven days a week. Start the meal with Fried Ravioli or Buffalo Calamari. Move onto one of the fresh pasta dishes like Fusilli Alla Casa (broccoli, chicken, + diced tomato in a Sherry cream sauce), or Fiocchi (pear pouch pasta stuffed with cheese in a white wine shallot sauce). Cucina also has a takeout menu, if looking to grab this bite to eat on the way home.

Glaze Donuts | 187 Franklin Avenue


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Glaze Donuts serves specialty doughnuts to its customers. With options like Cinnamon Sugar Nutella, New Jersey Cheesecake, Maple Frosted, and Fruity Pebbles, it’s hard not to find something everyone will like. Glaze also has Signature doughnuts like the Rainbow which is three separate doughnuts pressed together covered in chocolate similar to an Italian Rainbow Cookie. The store also sells other baked goods, like croissants and muffins.

Groundworks Cafe + Lounge | 217 Franklin Avenue

ground works coffee

A newer addition to the Nutley area, Groundworks Cafe opened its doors in 2022. The cafe serves a variety of hot foods, sweet + savory crepes, pastries, smoothies, and beverages. Try ordering the tomato soup with a classic grilled cheese, or an Almond Joy Crepe (Nutella, almonds, + chocolate) with a cappuccino. If looking for a place to answer a few emails, write a blog, or collaborate with a coworker, Groundworks also prides itself on providing a workspace environment.

Kubo Coffee + Creamery | 226 Franklin Avenue

kubo coffee

Stop for a midday sweet treat at Kubo’s on Franklin Avenue. This coffee shop meets creamery specializes in boba, coffee, + mochi takiyaki ice cream. Coffee lovers should try the Hot or Iced Caramel Macchiato, or the Pistachio Latte. Those with a sweet tooth should try the Matcha Soft Serve or S’mores Ice Cream (layers of crushed graham crackers, vanilla soft serve, chocolate ice cream, topped with toasted marshmallows and chocolate drizzle). For those who can’t decide on ice cream or coffee, Kubo’s got it covered. Try the Brown Sugar Ube Espresso (Ube soft serve with brown sugar + a double shot of espresso).

Luna’s Woodfire Tavern | 223 Franklin Avenue


Luna’s Woodfire Tavern is located in the town center on Franklin Avenue. In addition to being a bar + restaurant, Luna’s also has catering options as well as spaces for groups + parties. MG Pro Top: Start with the Oven Roasted Chicken Wings, then move on to any of the 12-inch pizza pies like a Margarita or the Nico (pesto sauce with fresh mozzarella and crumbled sausage).

MEAL | 522-526 Franklin Avenue


Standing for “meet, eat, + lounge,” this local favorite has been serving American food since 2012. Meal prides itself in serving up “elevated steakhouse staples” along with crafty cocktails for its diners six nights a week (this restaurant is closed on Mondays). For starters, try the East Coast Oysters or the BLT Wedge Salad. Move onto the Hanger Steak (coffee-chili rub, parmesan risotto cake, onion marmalade, + red wine jus) or the “Blackened” Swordfish (“blackened” squid ink risotto, cherry tomato, lemon, + basil). Finished the meal with Coffee + Donuts (sugar-dusted donuts, affogato).

Nutley Diner | 372 Centre Street

nutley diner

When locals think about Nutley, it’s almost certain the Nutley Diner comes to mind. It has become Centre Street’s staple seven days a week. This diner has been family-owned and operated since 2003. The Nutley Diner serves breakfast, lunch, + dinner at all times. Its expansive menu includes breakfast, soups + salads, appetizers, sandwiches, burgers, comfort foods, pasta, + more. For breakfast, try ordering the French Toast (dusted with powdered sugar + cinnamon). For lunch try the BLT (bacon, lettuce, + tomato on your choice of white, rye, or whole wheat toasted bread). For dinner try the Fish + Chips (beer battered fish filets lightly fried until crisp, served with French fries + tartar sauce).

The Oakley | 789 Bloomfield Avenue 


If looking to hang out with a gastropub vibe, look no further than The Oakley. Located on Nutley’s Bloomfield Avenue, this restaurant serves American dishes with a modern twist. There’s also an extensive beer and cocktail/wine menu. The Oakley is founded on local history as sharpshooter Annie Oakley was a Nutley resident during the 1800s. Historical photos and decor can be found on the walls within the Oakley. Sit in what feels like a part of history while munching on Old Bay Potato Chips + Turkey Burger with Swiss + Avocado. Other Entrees include a BBQ Whiskey Glazed Pork Chop, Polly’s Maryland Crab Cakes, + Braised Short Rib.

The Old Canal Inn | 2 East Passaic Avenue

old canal inn bar history nutley new jersey interior

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Located close to the site of the old Morris Canal, the Old Canal Inn is just another little piece of history Nutley has to offer as the bar was established in 1934. Soak in the history while having a beer. The Old Canal Inn is a busy place as there are always events happening through its doors. Craft Beer Night is every Wednesday. Other events include Bingo Night, Domino Night, Trivia, Karaoke, + more.

Queen Margarita | 246 Washington Avenue

queen margherita aromi di napoli nutley italian food pasta

A fine Italian dining experience can be found at Queen Margarita. Located on Washington Avenue, this establishment serves lunch + dinner Tuesday through Saturday. Enjoy the Zucchini Flowers as an appetizer for lunch followed by Pizza Arugula (arugula, prosciutto crudo, shaved parmigiano, and olive oil). For dinner try the Hot Antipasto for Two (clams, mussels, eggplant rollatini, shrimp, mushrooms, rice ball, and potato croquette) followed by the Eggplant Alla Parmigiana (layered, egg-battered and lightly fried pieces of eggplant with ricotta, parmesan, and mozzarella. All baked topped with ragu sauce), Pollo Regina (chicken stuffed with spinach, roasted peppers, sun-dried tomato, ricotta, mozzarella served in vodka sauce), or any of the fresh pasta dishes. This restaurant is also BYOB to be sure to bring a favorite bottle to savor with lunch or dinner.

Sugar Tree Cafe | 358 Passaic Avenue


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If looking for a space that’s grab-and-go meets sit down and eat, try out the Sugar Tree Cafe on Passaic Avenue. This cafe has a countertop ordering experience for coffee and dishes. Coffee can be made to drink on site, or to-go. If looking for something sweet, try one of the shakes like the Chocolate Salted Caramel (chocolate ice cream, crushed pretzels, and caramel blend topped with whipped cream, a pinch of salt, + caramel swirl), or the Vegan Joy (A blend of frozen bananas, oat milk, and cocoa powder, topped with vegan whipped cream, sliced bananas, toasted almonds and coconut). For food items try the Deep Fried Cinnamon Toast, Buffalo Chicken Empanada, or the Mac + Cheese Bites.



Places to Shop

DiLaRu Boutique | 92 A Centre Street


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DiLaRu Boutique opened its doors in 2011 and has been selling fashion-forward pieces at affordable prices. Items for sale include women’s clothes like sweaters, tops, bottoms, + dresses. There is a kids section available as well. There’s also a sneak peek section of the website, where shoppers can see new arrivals for the store.

Flavia Soaps + More | 156 Franklin Avenue


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Flavia Soaps + More was opened in 2001 by owner Chiara, who named the store after her oldest daughter. The store prides itself on using natural ingredients. Some products featured on the store’s website are serums, oils, sprays, + candles. There’s also the option to make curated gift baskets for any occasion.

The Little Closet | 75 Franklin Avenue


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Located near the three-way intersection of Franklin Avenue + Coppola Street, The Little Closet is a storefront that holds clothing options for young children. Clothing sizes range from babies, to toddlers, up to ages 6-7 including pajamas, dresses, onesies, jumpsuits, and matching outfits. There’s also the option to purchase a mystery box where shoppers can choose the age range + gender and receive a surprise shipment.

Pretty Handy Makerspace + Giftshop | 175 Franklin Avenue, Suite 202


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Located in the Nutley Professional Building on Franklin Avenue, Pretty Handy is a space that holds creative pieces for the home. Items for sale include craft gifts (like cricket accessories, and wooden 3-D puzzles), custom gifts (like ornaments, and pillows), decor (like wooden signs), everyday carry items (like themed playing cards + pencil sets), + more.

Seven x Seven Boutique | 7 Church Street


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Seven x Seven is located near the corner of Franklin Avenue + Church Street. The store sells women’s clothes available in categories like dresses, tops, bottoms, outwear, 2-piece sets, accessories, + more. The website also has an exclusive online-only section for some pieces. The store is open six days a week, + is closed on Mondays.

Underground Skate Shop | 66 Franklin Avenue


Located on Franklin Avenue, Underground Skate Shop is a skate shop that opened in 2010. Items available for sale are apparel, footwear, + skate necessities (such as decks, wheels, trunks, + more). There is also a section of the store that specifically sells Underground merchandise which includes clothing, hats, decks, totes, + more. For those heavily invested in skate culture, Underground has a News section on their website for updates + upcoming trends. 

Unleashed Thrift | 20 Washington Avenue 

unleashed thrift

Unleashed Thrift is located near the corner of Washington Avenue + Hancox Avenue in Nutley. The store sells second-hand items six days a week — it is closed on Sundays. Some items for sale include jewelry, screen tees, home decor, tops, bottoms, plushies, + more. The store is also known to do promotions like Fill-A-Bag where the store provides bags for shoppers to fill at a flat rate.

Things to Do

The Glass Gallery | 140 Chestnut Street 

The Glass Gallery has been family owned + operated since 1988 providing shoppers with the beautiful art of stained glass. Shoppers can also become creators by taking a class in this space. Beginner classes happen frequently and run as three-hour sessions for five weeks. Additional workshops are available running three to five weeks in time. Stained glass can also be custom-made for those looking to spruce up their home, office space, + anything else that could use a touch of creativity.

Good Vibes Yoga + Kombucha Bar | 237 Franklin Avenue

good vibes

For those looking to take a break, stop by Goodvibes Yoga + Kombucha Bar. This yoga studio has classes such as restorative, vinyasa, hot yoga, + more. Classes are available for purchase in a variety of packages ranging from 10 classes to unlimited for a month, three months, or one year. The studio also provides challenges + events for yogis like a Glow-in-the-Dark Emo-Themed yoga event. Cool down after a class by grabbing a kombucha or mocktail from Good Vibes.

Hyssop Beauty Apothecary | 674 Bloomfield Avenue

hyssop beauty

Located on Bloomfield Avenue, Hyssop Beauty Apothecary is an all-natural skincare shop that promotes using natural, made-in-house ingredients. The store also emphasizes practice in sustainability through making recyclable, zero-waste packaging. Some products available for sale are perfumes, bath + body oils, bath bombs, aluminum-free deodorants + more. There are also sections available for men and children. The shop has in-store experiences such as a Custom Scent Perfume Bar if looking for a more DIY experience.

Kingsland Manor | 3 Kingsland Street


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This farmhouse was built in 1768 and holds tours throughout the year. It is typically open for visitation on the third Sunday of each month (except August + November). If traveling in a group, small group tours can be arranged by contacting the manor directly. After visiting this piece of history, consider grabbing a souvenir. Kingsland Manor partners with Pretty Handy to create sweatshirts + ornaments for visitors to purchase.

Kingsland Park | 258 Rutgers Place

kingsland park

If looking for a place to sit and enjoy the scenery, check out Kingsland Park. This park boasts over 10 acres of land. It includes access to a handicap-accessible playground area, baseball/softball field, field house, volleyball court, shared walking + bike track, + picnic space. MG Pro Tip: don’t leave this park without catching a glimpse of its beautiful waterfall.

Nutley Historical Society Museum | 65 Church Street 

Founded in 1945, the Nutley Historical Society Museum is a place where visitors can explore some of Nutley’s history, but also some history about the museum itself. This once wooden schoolhouse was built and unfortunately burnt down in 1874. The now stone structure holds pieces of history such as memorabilia from Annie Oakley + Alice J Bicker’s Library which holds over 200 volumes of books + maps about New Jersey’s history. Museum tours are available upon request, but the second floor of the museum is not handicap accessible.

Nutley Little Theater | 47 Erie Place


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Established in 1935, the Nutley Little Theatre provides five mainstage shows per year which include musicals, comedies, + drama. Shows from this year have included tick… tick… BOOM!, A Christmas Carol, + Figaro.

See More: Things to Do in the Hamilton Park Neighborhood of Jersey City

Pinot’s Palette | 510 Franklin Avenue


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If searching for a DIY experience, or new decor for the home, visit Pinot’s Palette located on Franklin Avenue in Nutley. Pinot’s Palette has an event calendar that lets patrons know exactly what kind of painting experience they’ll walk into as the paintings are visible upon online purchase. Design something like Candy Beach or Starry Vibrant Night for beautiful bright colors to lighten up any room, or keep things calm + simple by painting A Day at the Dunes or Calming Tides.

Yanticaw Park | Centre Street + Park Drive

If weather permits, another park to check out is Yanticaw Park located between Centre Street + Park Drive. This county-owned park stretches over 28 acres of land + is part of the 36-mile Lenape Trail (which connects 18 parks + 11 municipalities in Essex County). The park has access to playgrounds, a basketball court, + picnic tables. A perfect way to take a break or end a day spent in Nutley, NJ.

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