Top 10 Jersey Shore Foods


Like it or not, MTV’s new reality train wreck Jersey Shore has vaulted that curious species, the self-identified “Guido” into the public consciousness, much to the dismay of New Jerseyans, Italian-Americans and anyone with an IQ above 78. I know…you thought these Guidos and “Guidettes” were just another figment of the New Jersey imagination like the Jersey Devil and affordable real estate.  As much as I would like to pretend idiots like this don’t exist, I’m afraid that anyone who has spent significant time in the Garden State — including natives like gansie and myself —  has some across an example of the species, typically traveling in a pack. And now they are beamed right to your home by the magic of television. Consider it payback for the state providing you with a setting for the best show of the past ten years, The Sopranos.  Gotta pay the piper sooner or later.

This joyous television experience got us thinking, though:  Man does not live on soy protein, Axe Body Spray and Miller Lite alone.  The Jersey shore offers a cornucopia of wonderful, horrible and wonderfully-horrible food products that will hopefully all make cameos during the season.  Let this handy list of the Top 10 Jersey Shore Foods be your guide to understanding the culinary choices available to the cast.

10. Mack & Manco Pizza


Pizza is a staple of Jersey boardwalk fare, and Ocean City’s Mack & Manco is the best on the promenade.  This is a decidedly NYC-style pie — the big floppy kind that you can fold in half and chow down on while you walk. Unlike the trash that drifts down to Jersey to participate on the show, this is one NYC import we can all enjoy.  (Photo: Infinite Jeff)

9. Dippin’ Dots


The future of ice cream!  Or so they’ve been telling us for the past twenty five years.  At what point will the future actually get here so I can throw out my Ben & Jerry’s?  These ice-cold globules used to be a “special occasion” item that you would see for sale at the shore.  These days, I can buy them from a machine at the mall.  Kinda takes the charm out of it. (Photo: newwavegurly)

8. Salt Water Taffy


All the nutritional value of a conversation with Mike “The Situation,” these chewy treats are the bane of brace-wearing children everywhere.  Each box always includes some bullshit story about how the taffy was invented when candy fell into seawater, but you’re mostly just interested in getting the good flavors and shafting your siblings with the banana and licorice. Corn syrup + artificial flavoring = awesome. (Photo: Live?Laugh?Love)

7. Boardwalk Fries


These things are so good that they made a mediocre fast food franchise out of them!  The signs that say the fries are cooked in “100% peanut oil” were tantalizingly exotic to a third grader in the 1980s (yeah, my horizons have expanded since then), and the fact that they sliced the potatoes on premises made it even more fun.  The medium-cut sticks are great for the most part  — the fries that you get from the center of the potatoes are long and perfectly cooked — but the unfortunate slices that are nicked off the edges invariably lead to a pile of deep-fried potato skins in the bottom of your paper cup.  Bummer. (Photo: roboppy)

6. Binge Drinking


Sure, it’s not technically a food item, but it does account for approximately 56% of the total calories consumed at the Jersey shore.  In fact, I think that national Beer Pong Championships are held in Wildwood Crest. (Photo: C o l i n)

Next: Top 5 Jersey Shore Foods

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  • ML December 9, 2009  


    I had Mack & Mancos on Monday night. There isn’t anything else quite like it.

  • charley December 9, 2009  

    Mac an mancos is way to low on the list…….and what about johnson carmel popcorn?????

  • gansie December 9, 2009  

    i cant even believe you ranked mac and manco as 10th. it is by far my favorite thing to eat in ocean city, and well, all of the shore.

  • SAG December 9, 2009  

    what gansie said.

  • Maids December 9, 2009  

    wow …. I can’t believe salt water taffy is from Jersey! who knew!

    Oh and, FYI, Dipping dots are disgusting. They are an abomination. They are NOT the future of ice cream.

  • gansie December 9, 2009  

    agree w/ maids on dipping dots. i get absolutely zero satisfaction with those hard dots of unflavor.

  • BS December 9, 2009  

    can’t believe dipping dots still exist. they are definitely the ice cream of the past.

  • Alex December 9, 2009  

    i love dippin’ dots. Well, I did the last time I had them, which was probably fifteen years ago. And, for the record, they were ALWAYS available in my Southern California mall.

  • KeepingitKlassy December 9, 2009  

    i take issue with the philly shore bent to this Top 10! That aside, I would respectfully like to add some trashy Seaside flavor with the ol’ Pork Roll, the classic, if not obvious, sausage and peppers hero(a la “the situation”), and the oil and vinegar drench on every hero.

  • Liza December 9, 2009  

    Did WAWA originate in Jersey? Cause that’s my favorite place to eat when I go to the Jersey Shore – no lie.

  • Maids December 9, 2009  

    @ Liza, um no. Wawa is a jewel of the midatlantic. Thanks!

  • exit98 December 9, 2009  

    Chili cheese fries at the Windmill post bars…always a great idea.

  • Don December 10, 2009  

    One note about the participants in “Jersey Shore” – except for one from Hazlet (mid-north NJ) and one from Rhode Island (how the hell did he get in the mix?), they are all from New York. New Jersey can’t take too much blame for this wretched bunch.
    Being from the Philadelphia/South Jersey area (and a visitor to the South Jersey shore: Atlantic City south to the Wildwoods), I disavow any connection to or responsibility for anything you may see on this program. That being said, as a railroad fan I AM fascinated by train wrecks. 😉

  • Tim December 10, 2009  

    Great article, but…

    No cheesesteaks? They’re a true staple of any NJ boardwalk and the good ones will stand up to the best Philly has to offer.

    And let’s not forget another gem from the original Jersey Shore, which was a single episode of True Life. “WHERES MY F*CKIN CHEESEBALLS?!”

  • Tim December 10, 2009  

    Hell yes, KeepingItKlassy. TAYLOR PORK ROLL. God, I wish I had one right now.

  • dosdos December 10, 2009  

    @exit98 good call!!! I miss those 2am runs for Windmill cheese fries! No chili for me, just ketchup and EXTRA onions! Yummmmm

    Also, why does MTV continually pick one of the trashiest places on the shore for their shows? Remember when the Beach House was in Sleaszside??

  • KeepingitKlassy December 10, 2009  

    @dosdos – i remember it dearly – It was 1998, the day after my prom, I was enjoying Moninca and Brandy battle it out in That Boy Is Mine, and signing a waiver so I could be in the background. Don’t judge.

  • dosdos December 10, 2009  

    @Tim Main Street Cheesesteaks in Belmar has awesome steaks. A great place to ride your bike to after a night at the bars (such as DJAIS if you really want to get your Guido on, but who would want to do that??) …I will now answer my previous question by expressing my gratitude to MTV for not polluting the “safe” towns with those grease balls.

    Another- I don’t remember how good it was but I remember eating Three Brothers Pizza back in the days…

  • LisaC December 10, 2009  

    Kohr Brothers chocolate peanut butter swirl keeps me awake at night with it’s taunts. It simply can’t be bought anywhere else. I love it. Truly. I’ve never even eaten Dippin’ Dots because I am too busy at Kohr Brothers.

    And what are you talking about? Banana salt water taffy is awesome!

  • Jaci December 14, 2009  


  • Janny May 25, 2010  

    What about Taylor Pork Roll?! We ate fried porkroll sandwiches on the boardwalk in Ocean City and Atlantic City.

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