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Branchburg’s Best Serves Up From-Scratch Farm-to-Table Fare in a Cozy, Community Atmosphere

Branchburg’s Best, the latest breakfast/lunch hotspot on U.S. 202 North, serves home-cooked meals with heaping portions of homespun hospitality.

“We know everyone’s name and the names of their husbands and wives and children,” says Nicole Kravitz, who, along with her fiancé, Pat Tucker, opened the establishment in July of last year on the site of a previous eatery. “We treat everyone like family.”

Indeed, the café has made such an impression that Tucker says, “we have some people who like the food so much that they come in two to three times a day.”

The couple, who consider it an honor to put in 16- and 17-hour shifts seven days a week, serve farm-to-table dishes using produce and meat from Hillsborough–based Norz Hill Farm & Market and locally made foodstuffs, such as honey and honey-preserved apples from apiarists in town. 

“We make everything in-house, down to the salad dressings and home-fried potatoes,” Tucker says.

For them, Branchburg’s Best, which is the home of the hearty Biggie (bacon, pork roll, sausage, ham and American cheese with two eggs and hash browns served on a thick-cut brioche) and the brash Jersey (pork roll, American cheese, hash browns and tomato served on a Kaiser roll) as well as the svelte Goddess (egg whites, turkey bacon, light Swiss cheese, avocado, spinach and green goddess dressing on multi-grain toast) is a labor of love.

The couple, 30-year-old natives of Central New Jersey, met six years ago through a mutual friend. 

“We just clicked,” Kravitz says.

Tucker adds that “people always ask us when we’re going to have kids, and we always tell them that we already have this big one called Branchburg’s Best.”

The employees, Kravitz explains, are like their extended family.

“We want to start serving dinner and add more catering,” Tucker says. “We have a dining room space that can be used for events like cooking and painting classes. And we’ve even talked about hosting off-site events and opening a second location.”

Oh, there’s something else: Branchburg’s Best wants to being selling Etsy-style products made by local artists and artisans, turning the café into a community center of sorts. Tucker and Kravitz have issued an invitation for product samples, asking interested parties to drop by and leave their business cards.

“We named it Branchburg’s Best because we want to bring the best of Branchburg together all in one spot,” Tucker says. 

View the menu at branchburgsbest.square.site.

Elvis Bread

Inspired by Elvis Presley’s infamous diet, this moist banana bread is filled with peanut butter chips, crispy bacon and topped with toasty marshmallows.

4 large, overripe bananas (the browner, the better)

1/3 c unsalted melted butter

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 pinch salt

1 c sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 large egg

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour

Reese’s Peanut Butter Chips 

Bacon crumbles

1 c marshmallows

Preheat oven to 395° F and prepare a 4 x 8 loaf pan using butter and flour.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas until smooth. Stir in the melted butter.

Add the baking soda and salt, then mix. Stir in sugar, vanilla extract and egg. Mix in flour. Fold in peanut butter chips and bacon crumbles and cover the top with marshmallows.

Pour batter into the pan. Place in oven for 7 minutes, then turn the temperature down to  350° F for 40 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick stuck into the center of the loaf comes out clean with crumbs only. Loosely place foil over the loaf if it looks dark on the edges but remains wet in the center.

Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove the bread and cool completely before serving.

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