Hat City Kitchen

4
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245 reviews
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$30 and under
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American

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About

At the corner of Valley and Forest streets, (459 Valley) in the shadow of Our Lady of the Valley Church, HAT CITY KITCHEN is a new restaurant in an old building with a new vibe.



"Our emphasis is on quality and integrity. We offer American Comfort foods with an influence from the south and New Orleans or, as we say Creosoul. By focusing on a simple menu, we have the ability to perfect an artisanal process, creating the best food imaginable. We have created an experience that has broad appeal to families,traditional food lovers and critical Epicureans at an affordable price."



All profits from Hat City Kitchen go to support revitalization of the Valley neighborhood; true to Orange's history as a small city where culture and commerce meet in the street. Hat City Kitchen is a happy collaboration of art, urban planning, food and music, playing for the neighbors late into the night.
Dining Style
Casual Dining
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Cuisines
American, Creole / Cajun / Southern
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Hours of Operation
Dinner: Sunday: 2:30pm - 9:00pm, Tuesday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 10pm, Friday - Saturday: 5:00pm - 11:00pm
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Phone number
(862) 252-9147
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Payment Options:
AMEX, Diners Club, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress Code
Smart Casual
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Executive Chef
Patrick Pierre-Jerome
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Neighbourhood
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Cross street
Forest Street
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Parking Details
There is adequate street parking as well as our exclusive use of the Church lot diagonally across from the restaurant.
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Public Transit
Highland Avenue Station NJ Transit
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Entertainment
Hat City Kitchen is a speakeasy-style restaurant and live music venue. We opened in mid-January 2010 to showcase artists like blues guitarist Billy Hector, Al Gold another regional favorite as well as nationally known artists and guitar icons such as Leslie West of Mountain. Our fall season is almost fully booked with local, regional and nationally known artists, ranging in genre from jazz, blues, rock, acoustic as well as larger orchestras. We showcase CD release parties and other special events.

Please note: seating in stage area subject to a cover and minimum for live events.
Additional
Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Counter Seating, Dancing, Entertainment, Fireplace, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining , Outdoor Smoking Area, Take Away, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 245 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
4.0based on all time ratings
4.0
Food
3.9
Service
3.8
Ambience
3.9
Value
Noise · Moderate
94% of people would recommend it to a friend
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D
New York Area
1 review
Dined on 15 April 2017
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

My third time. Food and the Afro fusion band were outstanding! We will definitely come again.

OT
New York Area
8 reviews
Dined on 1 April 2017
Overall4Food4Service4Ambience3

Food was delicious! Stuffed catfish with crab meat was awesome! Band not as good as previous visit.

OT
New York Area
8 reviews
Dined on 31 March 2017
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience4

Everything was delicious and flavorful! Started with Crab Puppies. Entrees were fried shrimp & fish and seafood paella. Can't wait to go back! Live band was good.

SD
Atlantic City
2 reviews
Dined on 24 March 2017
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

AWESOME place great atmosphere. delicious food. will definitely be returning again! music was also very nice!

GS
New York Area
81 reviews
Dined on 11 March 2017
Overall5Food4Service5Ambience4

I having surgery so my friends took me out

DM
New York Area
1 review
Dined on 11 March 2017
Overall4Food4Service4Ambience4

This place deserves credit...Always good music, above decent food with interesting menu! I love this place! Wish there was some parking...

JR
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on 11 February 2017
Overall3Food4Service2Ambience4

I think their dining area can be a lot cleaner. There is one waitress who is SUPER nice and sweet and the others the opposite. Somewhere a long the line they lost the special touch in the food.

c
New York Area
1 review
Dined on 10 February 2017
Overall2Food3Service2Ambience2

I arrived announcing that I had a reservation.

The young lady offered a table nearest the stage although my reservation clearly stated I wanted to be furthest from the stage and near the ladies restroom.

I told her I wanted to be further away from the stage, so she gave a table further away.

However, there was a horrible draft from window and it didn't seem as those there was any heat being given.

I told my server that I was freezing and wanted to move my table.
There was a table available, which she said was a reserved table and it had to be for the 6 prople.

This is not true because the table I had the very same table only the week before!

Anyway, I ended up moving to another table that still exposed me to the draft, so I was cold all night.

And, the table the server refused me remained empty the entire night. I know this because I was there until closing @2AM.

Thinking about it now, I saw several people with their coats on throughout the show, so apparently they were cold as well.

The day after a significant snowfall and temperatures well below freezing, one is well within their right to expect heat.

There are so many really nice employees there, which is the major draw for returning.
Still, improvements are in order.

I have been there 3 times in the last w weeks.
2 of the 3 times I had some unpleasant experiences.
That is not a good ratio.

I love the place and would simply like to have one flawless experience.

Also, there were many times throughout the show were the noise levels from the bar area outvolumed the band. Not cool!

It is not my intention to extend a poor light on this establishment.
I am simply giving truthful account of my experiences.

I travel quite a distance to patronize Hat City Kitchen, so it should be obvious that I want to lend to it's success.

BS
New York Area
12 reviews
Dined on 22 January 2017
Overall4Food4Service3Ambience2

Very lively with live jazz on stage, kids loved it. Nice that the dining room is separate so you can still sit & eat & talk while the live music is on. Food was great. Very very slow though.

OT
Charleston
10 reviews
Dined on 19 January 2017
Overall4Food5Service4Ambience3

Food was excellent. Go for the fried chicken and Mac n cheese and collard greens. Delish!!! One negative was that the place itself was cold temperature wise. Not sure how loud it gets during open mic which starts at 9: 30.

OT
New York Area
29 reviews
Dined on 16 December 2016
Overall4Food4Service4Ambience4

Temperature in restaurant was cold. Server didn't explain correctly.

S
New York Area
1 review
Dined on 1 December 2016
Overall5Food5Service4Ambience5

I always come to HCK but this time was special because we were celebrating one of my best friends bday .!! It was amazing and fun

CB
New York Area
1 review
Dined on 4 November 2016
Overall5Food4Service5Ambience3

My friends and I have come to Hat City Kitchen to see Micheala McClain several times. The food and the service are always exceptional. The servers are always on point refilling drinks and are super friendly and solicitous without being a constant presence. I have recommended Hat City to several friends and plan to go there again in the near future.

ML
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on 21 October 2016
Overall3Food2Service2Ambience4

We went for the music. It's a really cool spot for sure. Great beer and drink menu. Food was ok - not great or outstanding. My mac n cheese came with the top cheese layer cold... The food service is super slow - don't go hungry. I would go back for the music and a drink but eat somewhere else.

LJ
New York Area
72 reviews
Dined on 14 October 2016
Overall4Food4Service4Ambience4

Hat City is always a great local place to go for comfort food in a lively atmosphere.

OT
New York Area
29 reviews
Dined on 14 October 2016
Overall3Food3Service3Ambience3

The noise coming from the other room was excessive, the sliding glass door was wide open although was cold outside, and even after I closed it, it was still cold in the room. The server brought me the wrong appetizer (it was one that someone else had ordered). She also brought the wrong side dish to my husband. She also overcharged for the side dish. My food was extremely spicy and I can't eat spicy food. The menu did not indicate that those items were spicy. The food took a long time to come. The server told us that it was her first day and ours was her first table.

l
New York Area
41 reviews
Dined on 1 October 2016
Overall3Food3Service4Ambience3

One of our late-nite go to places. The modestly priced southern creole dishes are good and tasty. Service friendly. Great live music on weekends can make the place loud. Nice casual neighborhood find.

DP
Detroit
1 review
Dined on 23 September 2016
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience4

If you are a Seton Hall parent, this is a great close by but off the beaten path place to take your student and some friends to dinner

CL
Philadelphia
36 reviews
Dined on 11 September 2016
Overall4Food4Service5Ambience4

Good food, good music, great service. Homemade chocolate chip cookies.

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on 26 August 2016
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Enjoyed the evening first time would definitely come again .

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on 20 August 2016
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

The band and vocalist was excellent . We enjoyed ourselves!

JR
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on 8 July 2016
Overall4Food5Service3Ambience4

I live 5 blocks away from Hat City and never stopped in. I was amazed and blown away by the food. I will definately stop in again. Amazing mac & cheese!!!

B
New York Area
10 reviews
Dined on 29 June 2016
Overall4Food3Service4Ambience5

Good southern food & jazz jams make this place a fun spot to visit. Food was good, with our favorite side being the Mac & cheese. Ribs were a little off, but everything else was good. Go Wednesday for as Jazz jam.

A
Baltimore
17 reviews
Dined on 25 June 2016
Overall4Food4Service3Ambience4

Get the Mac and cheese. You won't be disappointed!!!

v
New York Area
1 review
Dined on 17 June 2016
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

The featured band, LT and the Ripple Effect Band, did a phenomenal Jazz performance, truly a crowd pleaser.

l
New York Area
41 reviews
Dined on 3 June 2016
Overall4Food4Service4Ambience2

Enter through the bar. There's seating by the stage and the main dining room is up a couple of steps. It's quite a loud place when the band is playing What we like is that they serve past 11 pm, after the band stops and the place 'quiets' down a little. The food is a step or two above the casual surroundings. Service is friendly.

A
Baltimore
17 reviews
Dined on 20 May 2016
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Such a great find!! Fantastic Cajun cuisine, I HIGHLY recommend the shrimp po boys. They have a stage and live jazz music. The main room gets loud, so if you like it a bit quieter, ask to sit in the side room.

OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on 1 May 2016
Overall3Food3Service4Ambience4

great ambiance.
food was hot but just ok. not great! paying for sides wasn't great either. the black eyed peas were straight outta the can. not a drop of seasoning! rubs could've cooked a Lil longer. not impressed. gumbo watery not enough okra & shellfish. if I return, I'll stick to easy appetizers. Maybe then we wonb disappointed. loved the look of the place.

PM
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on 8 April 2016
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

We went to see the Blues Tribute to Albert & Freddie King on 4/7/16. Great show! Great Food! Volume level of the band was perfect. We sat at the back of the Bar and could see the stage clearly. Food was excellent!

SM
New York Area
15 reviews
Dined on 4 April 2016
Overall4Food5Service1Ambience4

There appeared to only be one waitperson the night we were there. She was wonderful in every way except she had too many people to serve, and no help. When you could get her attention, you got everything you asked for, but the food was slow in coming; unusual from our other times there, but disappointing just the same

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on 19 March 2016
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Great find! Hat city restaurant is cozy but has a vibrant vibe about it. The food is your usual comfort food with a twist. The menu has a good mix of your traditional southern cooking like the Cajun catfish fritters to the smoky BBQ ribs. Carribean cooking is also quite evident. The place is easy and laid back. Pricing is reasonable and in big portions! The servers are great looking and very attentive! I will surely be back again. Keep up the good work!

M
New York Area
8 reviews
Dined on 18 March 2016
Overall4Food4Service4Ambience4

Have been here many times and always enjoy the music (Blues, Rock, Reggae). Brought friends this time around and they also really liked the music, good service and great food (Fried Chicken is fab!). Parking was easy too!

OT
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on 18 March 2016
Overall5Food4Service5Ambience5

Finding a great place to see live music isn't so easy. We were so excited to go to Hat City Kitchen and they didn't disappoint! Food was good, music was great and the service was outstanding!! Great night out!!

CL
Philadelphia
36 reviews
Dined on 18 March 2016
Overall4Food4Service5Ambience3

Going to a concert at the NJPAC, looked for a place to eat, and was happy to find this place! The locals come in, exchange pleasantries and sit at the bar. But, everyone orders food! No one is there to just drink. The gumbo (soup) was excellent. My wife's fried chicken and ribs platter was out of this world, and I don't usually eat fried chicken or order ribs! I enjoyed a perfect fried chicken breast.

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on 11 March 2016
Overall3Food3Service3Ambience3

Resturant was pretty good overall, food was ok, not a slam dunk. Prices could have been better, space was tight however, the live entertainment was pretty good and had an ok time with friends.

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on 2 March 2016
Overall3Food2Service2Ambience4

I brought my husband here for date night. While I did enjoy the live music it was very loud and made it a challenge to talk at dinner. As for the dinner itself, I did enjoy the cajun theme but some dishes were more successful than others. I would order the gumbo again for sure. But the BBQ Shrimp and grits were a no for me.

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on 28 February 2016
Overall4Food3Service3Ambience4

great place to meet friends. lively bar scene and often live music

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on 27 February 2016
Overall2Food2Service2Ambience2

We made a reservation but they did not have it when we got thee - we got a table after a bit of wait but it was all the way at the other end squished in a corner - not where we requested ...a little away from the band but in view.

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on 13 February 2016
Overall3Food4Service3Ambience2

Good food. But didn't care for being subjected to a cover charge for the band. Didn't know anything about it until the check arrived.

A
New York Area
23 reviews
Dined on 6 February 2016
Overall4Food2Service4Ambience4

My wife and I and two other couples went to Hat City Kitchen for the first time for dinner and to listen to the band. We had a a lot of fun. Had a NYC downtown small club vibe to it. An eclectic miss of people, young, middle-age and older, some dressed nice and others very casual. The place is a a bit small and seating is tight. Also a bit grungy, but it fits. You definitely want to sit in the main dining area by the stage if you want to fully enjoy the music, but be forewarned it is loud and makes it difficult to hold a conversation. You can sit in an adjacent room and you can still hear the music, but can't see the band. Only drawback was the food. The entrees were mediocre at best. The fried chicken was almost tasteless and very heavily battered I also tried the jambalaya and thought it was bland. The appetizers were better. The po-boy sliders were the best. I would go back to enjoy the music and just stick to appetizers and drinks. Perhaps the po-boy sandwich would be a better choice next time.