How lucky are we? The LHT doesn’t just run through spectacular woodlands and wetlands, but through bustling town centers and business districts. We wanted to shout out some of the incredible small businesses off our trail in a series of mini-itineraries. Here now: our Village Park and Mercer Meadows-Pole Farm segments.
Masa 8 Restaurant
Masa 8 Restaurant, a beloved sushi spot, is tucked away in the Manors Corner Shopping Center. The restaurant was opened by Owen and Iris Chen back in 2006, with a focus on traditional Japanese cuisine with a modern spin. Masa means straight forward in Japanese — and their offerings fit the bill: ultra-fresh ingredients including produce hailing from Terhune Orchards or the Trenton Farmer’s Market plus imported Japanese seafood are their hallmarks. Pick it up to go or eat-in: the restaurant is clean and modern, allowing diners to really focus on the beautifully-prepared food. There’s wonderful sushi, of course — but don’t sleep on their sandwiches, vegetarian options, hibachi-grilled entrees, and hearty noodle soups.
Masa 8 is located at 160 Lawrenceville-Pennington Road in Lawrence
Amalfi’s Kitchen & Bar
Amalfi’s Kitchen & Bar wears many hats. It’s a great Italian restaurant for date night or spaghetti with the kids; it’s a fantastic choice for real-deal pizza — whether you eat it in-house or take it home; it’s a fun place for sandwiches and bar snacks and Sunday football; and it’s a fabulous option for your private party — birthdays, engagements, showers, or otherwise. Amalfi’s is run by the Moriello family, who opened the restaurant in 2001 — after many years of patriarch/proprietor Ciro serving much-loved pizzas in and around Lawrenceville. Menu highlights include that thin (but not too thin) crust pizza, classic pasta dishes with house made sauces, Italian-inspired sandwiches, steaks and chops, a variety of antipasti, wings, and a full bar. And check out their family style take out feasts.
Amalfi’s Kitchen & Bar is located at 146 Lawrenceville-Pennington Road in Lawrence
China Chef opened all the way back in 1992; and is now run by the second generation of the Yan family. The house specialties are classic Thai, Cantonese, and Szechuan dishes — and favorites include the hot and sour soup, famously loaded with mushrooms and tofu; the spicy Thai curries; the beef chow fun; Peking duck rolls; a ton of different dumplings; and the fried rice, which is rich with eggs and barbeque pork. Like all your favorite Chinese restaurants, China Chef does brisk take-out and delivery business (their impressive eight-mile delivery radius covers Lawrence, Ewing, and Pennington); but don’t miss the charming, softly lit dining room. There are comfortable booths, a few large tables for bigger gatherings, and it’s BYOB.
China Chef is located at 160 Lawrenceville-Pennington Road in Lawrence
Penlar Pharmacy is truly your old-fashioned, neighborhood pharmacy. Independently operated with a real focus on personalized customer service, Penlar’s naturally offers all your standard pharmaceutical services (including immunizations), plus a range of personal care and over the counter products, and even medical equipment. But they also have a delightful assortment of gifts, candy, stationery, and candles — a throwback to your old corner drug store. But they offer modern conveniences, too — priding themselves on short wait times with an option to request prescription refills and ask the pharmacists — Maulin Patal and Priya Patel — questions through the shop’s website.
Penlar Pharmacy is located at 160 Lawrenceville-Pennington Road in Lawrence