50 Black-Owned Restaurants, Shops & African American Sites in New Jersey
New Jersey holds a unique position in African American history. There are at least 16 underground railroad sites you can still visit in New Jersey, including ones in Jersey City, Boonton, Cranbury, Salem, and Medford. Lawnside in Camden County was a haven for freed and escaped slaves and became the first all-Black community in the North. Black History Month provides an opportunity to honor the lives and legacies of Black New Jerseyans past and present. Shopping at Black-owned businesses is one of the most powerful actions you can take to support the Black community in New Jersey. Not only can your money help small businesses grow, but it puts power directly into the hands of Black entrepreneurs, artists, and creators.
While this is not a comprehensive list, we’ve compiled 50 family-friendly African American historical sites, Black-owned shops, Black-owned restaurants, and Black-owned small businesses in New Jersey. In seeking out these Black-owned businesses, you stand in solidarity and make a difference today—not just for Black History Month, but 365 days a year. Any day is a good day to show your support.
For an at-home way to celebrate the Black experience, bookmark this list of 30+ children's books to celebrate Black History Month—many were written by Black authors.
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Black-Owned Restaurants in New Jersey
1. Aunt Berta’s Kitchen – Haddon Township and Lindenwold
Aunt Berta's Kitchen is a popular Camden County takeout destination for authentic soul and Southern family-sized meals perfect for sharing with your favorite people.
2. Cafe Moso – Montclair
Named for the neighborhood where it's located—Montclair's South End—this cozy eatery serves elevated comfort food classics. Its sister restaurant, Mosoria, is located right across the street and sells pizza, salads, sandwiches, and more.
3. Corinne’s Place – Camden
This local favorite draws hungry diners from across South Jersey for affordably-priced and delicious family-style platters of soul food classics.
4. Cornbread – Maplewood and Newark
This fast-casual “farm to soul” restaurant dishes up locally-sourced Southern-style meals at two Essex County locations.
5. Freetown Road Project – Jersey City
From weekend brunch to lunch, dinner, and desserts, this restaurant helmed by Chopped champion Claude Lewis focuses on West Indian and traditional Caribbean cuisine and techniques.
Coffee & Cornbread offers an extensive menu of comforting eats using GMO-free and organic ingredients.
6. Coffee & Cornbread – Montclair
There’s something for everyone at this feel-good breakfast and lunch spot. Vegans will be spoiled by the extensive options, plus everything on the menu is made from all-natural, non-GMO, and organic ingredients.
7. Montclair Diner – Montclair
This classic diner serves all your favorite foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with memorable twists that keep you coming back for more.
8. Sandi’s SoulBites – Morristown
Dining at this family-friendly eatery feels as though you're sitting right at chef/owner Sandi Rogers’ kitchen table, and the food keeps you coming back for more!
9. Sweet T’s Southern Eatery – Montclair
The large portions at this health-conscious Southern-style restaurant are perfect for sharing and serving family-style at home.
10. The Wing Kitchen – Glassboro and Turnersville
The culinary home of Chopped winner Timothy Witcher is known for chicken wings, of course, as well as chicken tenders, hand-cut fries, and buttermilk-fried doughnuts.
Willow & Olivia offers cool custom cakes, plus fun everyday treats like these delectable cupcakes.
Black-Owned Bakeries in New Jersey
11. Willow & Olivia – West Orange
When you order a custom cake from Willow & Olivia, it not only looks good but tastes good, too. Craving a sweet treat? Check out its chocolate chip cookies and banana pudding.
12. Carol’s Creative Chocolatez – Somerville
This downtown Somerville staple specializes in making its chocolate from cacao imported from Switzerland, France, and Belgium. Stop by for a sample.
13. Edo’s Cakes – Hillside
When your child is clamoring for a cartoon or superhero cake, Edo can make any design come to life.
14. In the Company of Yum – Montclair
You don't have to wait for the holiday season to eat pie. Made-to-order pies are available all year round.
15. Mo’Pweeze Bakery – Denville
When your child’s birthday party calls for dairy-free, egg-free, and gluten-free treats, make a beeline for this allergen-free and vegan bakery. Its cupcakes are also sold at select Whole Foods.
16. Palmer’s Bakehouse – Maplewood
Come for the Sunday doughnuts and then return every day for Palmer’s other sweet treats, including cupcakes, whoopie pies, and more.
17. Pure Love Pies – Bloomfield
While you can get your standard apple, pecan, and sweet potato pie fix, the star here is Pure Love’s navy bean pie. Once you’ve tried, we bet you’ll say, apple pie who?
HLS Juice Bar & Grill serves yummy wraps and can't-miss sweet potato fries.
Black-Owned Juice Bars & Cafes in New Jersey
18. HLS Juice Bar & Grill – Maplewood
HLS has long been home to delicious wraps, salads, bowls, and smoothies. Even the pickiest of eaters will love HLS’s simple smoothie flavor combinations, like the Mo Bay with pineapple, mango, and strawberries. Pair it with a side of sweet potato fries—they’re so good!
19. Black Swan Espresso – Newark
Fuel up here before or after visiting the Newark Museum or seeing a show at NJPAC.
20. Blueberry Cafe Juice Bar and Vegan Grill — Newark
Helping people live a good life through good food, Blueberry Cafe offers organic, cold-pressed juices and smoothies alongside vegan wraps and soups.
21. The Grind – Jersey City
While your little one snacks on a decadent doughnut from the Doughnut Plant, you can sip your lavender latte and soak up The Grind’s hip, lively atmosphere.
22. Harper’s Cafe – West Orange
Have your hot chocolate and pancakes inside Harper’s cozy private ski lift room.
Black-Owned Ice Cream Shops in New Jersey
23. Conez Hard & Soft Ice Cream Shop – Jersey City
Get your scoops and sundaes at this neighborhood gem, which often sells $1 soft-serve ice cream cones.
24. Kreme & Krumbs – Montclair
Inventive flavors and friendly service keep us coming back again and again to this small-batch ice cream shop
Black-Owned Bookstores in New Jersey
25. Ida’s Bookshop – Collingswood
Named after African American journalist Ida B. Wells, this independent bookshop celebrates women authors, artists, and activists across its inventory
26. La Unique African American Books & Cultural Center – Camden
The Children’s Corner at La Unique features a rotating selection of books by Black authors. The 30-year-old bookstore also houses an impressive collection of African art.
27. The Little BOHO Bookshop – Bayonne
Little BOHO’s cheery, lime green walls are lined with board books and picture books for the smallest readers. Ottomans, floor pillows, and low seating allow kids to get comfy as they crack open their new book.
28. Source of Knowledge Bookstore – Newark
What began as a bookstore in 1992 has evolved into a community center that focuses on Black art, Black literature, culture, and community.
Where to Find Black-Owned and Natural Hair Care in New Jersey
29. 7's Barbershop – South Orange
Kid's cuts start at $30 at this warm and friendly neighborhood barbershop.
30. BeautyAddicts – Teaneck
Alexis is an affordably-priced mobile hair braider travels who travels to your home in North Jersey with an assortment of colorful beads and ribbons to adorn your child's hair.
31. Brittney’s Cuts for Kids – Cedar Knolls
No tears here! This cute and colorful hair studio makes a fun setting for little ones to get their haircut.
32. Kyoah Styles – Perth Amboy
Lanikka is a Central NJ-based mobile hair braider specializing in cornrows and knotless braids for kids.
33. Styles by Sim – Montclair
Simone services North Jersey and select New York locations offering well-priced braided hairstyles, as well as blowouts and presses.
Montclair Learning Center is a one-stop-shop of academic support and enrichment.
Black-Owned Shops and Businesses in New Jersey
34. Montclair Learning Center – Montclair
This engaging learning center provides classes, camps, and parties to help little learners develop their STEM skills.
35. Architect Studios – Montclair
Early morning high-intensity interval training classes with owner and trainer Adrienne Felder let you break a sweat before your kids even wake up.
36. BRWL Studio – Orange
Combo boxing and yoga classes at BRWL get you in shape to keep up with your little ones.
37. Chocolate Unicorn – Montclair
Representation matters, and this lifestyle brand founded by a mom of three showcases brown-skinned unicorns, mermaids, and dragons in magical and dreamy designs.
38. Christine Joy Design – South Orange
Artist Christine Joy Llewellyn Ohemeng converted her backyard barn into a gorgeous art studio where she hosts classes, workshops, and camps for kids ages 5-11.
39. Daphnese – Montclair
Designed by a kid for kids, this high-quality and colorful swimwear features adorable designs for kids of color.
Sharron Miller brings her Alvin Ailey training to local kids at her Montclair Studio.
40. Sharron Miller’s Academy for the Performing Arts – Montclair
This dance academy, founded by the former Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater soloist, offers ballet, jazz, modern, tap, hip-hop, and Afro-Haitian dance.
41. Harmony Dance Center – Union
In operation for more than 30 years, Harmony Dance Center offers a wide variety of dance classes for all ages and skill levels, from toddlers to tweens.
42. Ikuzi Dolls – Montclair
Founded by a mom of 4, Ikuzi Dolls creates beautiful, hand-crafted Black dolls in a variety of different shades of brown, with varied hair textures, styles, and more.
43. Little Love Stories Photography – Glen Ridge
Turn to photographer Stephanie Willoughby for all your family's milestones. She does beautiful newborn and maternity shoots, fall and holiday minis, plus first birthday cake smash sessions.
44. Polished – Montclair
Pamper yourself and your sidekick at this luxurious nail salon. Mini manis are $8 and a pedicure for tiny toes is $15.
45. Premiere Dance Theatre – Montclair
Ballet, tap, jazz—it’s hard to choose just one. Luckily, kiddos don’t have to at this comprehensive dance studio, which has operated for 30 years in the heart of Montclair.
Learn more about the life and legacy of the famed abolitionist Harriet Tubman at the Cape May museum erected in her honor.
African American Historical Sites in New Jersey
46. Harriet Tubman Museum – Cape May
After a virtual opening last Juneteenth, the Harriet Tubman Museum in Cape May officially opened its doors this past summer. Located in the parsonage of Macedonia Baptist Church, the museum shines a spotlight on Tubman’s life and contribution to the Underground Railroad. While most of us learned in school that Tubman, born a slave, freed herself and then risked her life time and again to return to the South to emancipate family and friends, few know the role Cape May played in her efforts. It was in Cape May that Tubman worked in the early 1850s to earn money critical to carrying out her rescues.
47. African Art Museum of the SMA Fathers – Tenafly
Editor's note: This museum is currently closed due to the pandemic.
Located on the leafy residential campus of the Society of African Missions, better known as the SMA Fathers, this museum is one of only a few in the United States dedicated solely to showcasing the arts of Africa. Its permanent collections, exhibited on a rotating basis, offer a unique vantage in the study and research of sub-Saharan sculpture and painting, costumes, textiles and decorative arts, religion, and folklore.
48. Afro-American Historical Society Museum – Jersey City
You'll find this treasure trove tucked away on the upper floor of the Greenville Branch of the Jersey City Public Library. The collection is dedicated to celebrating the heritage of Jersey City's African American community. Books, newspapers, documents, photographs, and memorabilia about the slave trade, the Underground Railroad, the civil rights movement, and more are preserved here.
49. Mount Zion AME Church – Woolwich Township
This small, one-story frame church built in 1834 was one of the most important Underground Railroad stations in Glouchester County. A secret trap door in the floor of the church's vestibule provided access to a hiding place in the crawlspace under the floor. The church is still in use by the congregation.
50. Peter Mott House – Camden County
Editor's note: This museum is currently closed due to the pandemic.
Take a look inside the house of the freedom fighter who turned his home into a respite for the enslaved fleeing North to freedom along the Underground Railroad. Founded in 1840 and incorporated in 1926, Lawnside was the first independent, self-governing African American community in the North.
Unless noted, all photos courtesy of the venues