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Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” made headlines this week when he jokingly attempted to bribe free-agent-to-be LeBron James to come to the New York Knicks by offering him a brown bag filled with grub from the famous Manhattan burger-stand Shake Shack. As someone who has frequented Shake Shack at both the Madison Square Park and Citi Field locations, let me just speak for Nets fans everywhere that we can not only offer LeBron a better supporting cast of young talent than the Knicks, but also some better food and fun if he comes to New Jersey, or potentially, Brooklyn. Seriously, why would someone try to lure the greatest basketball player on the planet to their team by selling them on a burger stand where even on a slow day, you’re waiting a good hour just to get a tiny little burger and a shake. Instead, let me try to tempt you with some of these indulgences:
From New Jersey:
- A Hot Dog From Rutts: You like hot dogs LeBron? Do you like deep fried food? Well, at this Clifton eatery you can get a hot dog that’s dropped in a vat of hot oil and deep fried until the casing bursts and crinkles. Top it off with some of Rutt’s spicy-sweet relish.
- A Pork Roll and Egg Sandwich from Mastoris: I don’t know which is better – a good old fashioned pork roll (aka taylor ham) and egg sandwich that’s a Jersey staple or going to this Bordentown diner for their gigantic size version of the sandwich. I mean seriously, it's the size of a basketball. Everyone says you’re built like a football player LeBron. With a sandwich like that you can eat like one too (and if you can polish of three of them you could eat like Michael Phelps).
- A Deep Fried Calzone from Pizza Town: You might have heard that Jersey has some pretty good Italian food. In fact, you might have seen some show on cable where a bunch of Italian guys went to pork stores to get cappy ham and vinegar peppers on a hero. Well, if you go to Pizza Town in Elmwood Park, you can get one of there ham calzones deep fried. Do they serve calzones in Ohio? Either way, prepare to get your mind blown.
- Sonic: So if you end up going to New York to play on the Knicks and eat Shake Shack, you’re going to notice a lot of commercials for Sonic. They’re going to entice you with their cherry limeades and tater tots and you’re going to be waiting for your burgert in Madison Square Park for 45 minutes and you’re going to be like, “I should just go to Sonic. They’re on TV all the time.” Here’s the problem, there are no Sonics in New York. Seriously. They just like to buy ad time there. Hasbrouck Heights, NJ on the other hand. Sonic.
- A Steak from Peter Lugers: Simply put, it’s the best steakhouse in the area. While the wait staff at this world-famous steakhouse is known for being terse, I gurantee they’ll treat King James with the royalty he deserves. And seriously, why get a hamburger when you can get a giant porterhouse steak for four.
- Pizza at Grimaldi’s: In a city filled with amazing pizza (and Jersey is great too!), one of the region’s most famous is right next door to the Brooklyn Bridge. This isn’t the Domino’s you’re probably used to in Ohio, LeBron. This is a perfectly baked crust with a nice bit of char to get that real coal oven flavor. There’s also a great cheese to sauce ratio.
- Nathan’s Famous: In your travels, you’ve probably seen a number of small Nathan’s franchises. In fact, Penn Station next to MSG probably has about a dozen of them. But why get the red-headed stepchild of an American classic? You and Brook Lopez can go down to Coney Island. Brook can ride the Cyclone a dozen or so times until he gets sick, while you can hit the original Nathan’s for one of their perfect hot dogs.
- Beer and video games at Barcade: Speaking of bonding experiences with Brook Lopez, you could really make his day if you take the L train over to Lorimer Street to hang out at Barcade. There, you will find a ton of beer on tap plus dozens of old school arcade games from yesteryear like Pac Man, Donkey Kong, Q-Bert and more. Sure, when you’re hanging out in your crib in Manhattan you could probably pop in Halo on your Xbox, but why do that when you can hit a nice, dank bar in Brooklyn, grab a pint of Dogfish Head, and play the original Punch Out before Mike Tyson or Mr. Dream were ever created.