Contrary to popular belief, I do eat and review establishments in the New Jersey area; I’ve got to show NJ some loving after all! My fellow hotel & restaurant management friends from FDU and I decided to drive up to Basking Ridge from Madison to eat at a little, independent café called Mockingbird Café. Mockingbird is a cute and simple establishment off of South Finley Avenue, around the corner from Oak Street Elementary School. My friends and I sat on the street, enjoying the last few days of a warm fall season, looking at the surrounding town of Basking Ridge. I could not help but notice how American and patriotic I felt sitting there at Mockingbird Café, looking down the street to see a looming flag of the U.S.A.
As we sat down at the café, I took one last in-depth observation of South Finley Avenue and accepted the feeling that I had been transported back three decades into the past. For lunch, I ordered their special panino of the day. It was made of various vegetables and came with a side of large fries. The fries were crisp and delicious. The vegetables were deliciously flavored. I loved how they gave me a tiny porcelain bowl of ketchup and another plastic cup full of coleslaw. I’m really big on coleslaw with my sandwiches. Their panino was clearly crafted with love. The waitresses were extremely contemporary and friendly, young women who gave my friends and I the utmost respect by referring to us as “sir” and “ma’am.”
My only concern was how slow the service was. Perhaps it was because we came at a weird post-lunch hour, a little bit after 2 PM, when their lunch kitchen closes at 3 PM. However, the waitresses, although extremely amicable and polite, seemed to forget to check on us at a decent pace. The restaurant was not busy when we went. There were only a handful of tables that were full. Then again, I am used to the unforgiving pace of midtown Manhattan! I will continue to have homemade lemonade and handcrafted paninis from Mockingbird Café; even if it means I have to slow down, in order to properly appreciate the wonderful town of Basking Ridge and their locals.