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Feb. 8, 2012

Vol. 112, No. 7

Campus Notebook

Off-campus eateries: Here today, chain tomorrow?

By Jennifer Altmann
Published in the February 8, 2012, issue

There have been many changes to the Nassau Street restaurant landscape, with the ­56-year-old Carousel becoming the latest eatery to close. It will be replaced by a chain restaurant, one of several that have opened in recent years. Here’s a snapshot of selected eating spots along Nassau Street, past and present.

Photo: Historical Society of Princeton

50 Nassau St.
Now: Ralph Lauren
Known as Wicks — and located at various locations along Nassau Street in its 70-year history — this Princeton landmark started as an ice cream parlor and hosted hamburger-eating contests in the ’50s. 

Photo: Frank Wojciechowski

80 Nassau St.
Opened 2003
This classic Greek diner serves salads and souvlaki to its many fans, including members of the University’s staff.

Photo: Historical Society of Princeton

82 Nassau St.
Now: Paper Source
This tiled-wall classic (full name: the Baltimore Dairy Lunch) was a student haunt for more than four decades. Now it’s a fancy stationery shop. 

Photo: Frank Wojciechowski

5 Witherspoon St.
Now: vacant
Albert Einstein ate lunch here, and it was the place your parents took you for shrimp cocktail and rack of lamb when they visited. It closed in 2010. No word on what will replace it.

Photo: Frank Wojciechowski

100 Nassau St.
Opened 1996
The coffee mecca competes with local favorite Small World Coffee on Witherspoon Street.

Photo: Frank Wojciechowski

110 Nassau St.
Opened 1973
Decorated in orange and black — and festooned with ­banners from Princeton and its Ivy League brethren — Massimo’s dishes up pizza and pasta to hungry students. 

Photo: Frank Wojciechowski

128 Nassau St.
Now: Princeton Sports Bar & Grill (shown above)
The beloved Annex — with its stained-glass roaring tiger and old football-team photos — was replaced first with Italian restaurant Sotto, and is now a burger-and-nacho joint.

Photo: Frank Wojciechowski

136 Nassau St.
Opened 2001
This spot finds students munching muffins and checking email using the free Wi-Fi.

Photo: Frank Wojciechowski

138 Nassau St.
Opened 1995
Behind the lively bar — a favorite hangout for Princeton staffers — is the seven-barrel, stainless-steel brewery where craft beers are made.

Photo: Frank Wojciechowski

140 Nassau St.
Opened 2011
This newcomer — a national chain — dishes out huge burritos to ­students on a budget.

Photo: Frank Wojciechowski

154 Nassau St.
Opened 1962
Students huddle in line under heat lamps on weekends; once inside, they carve their names in the wooden tables, if they can find an empty spot.

Photo: Frank Wojciechowski

180 Nassau St.
Opened 2011
This chain calls its pizza “all-natural” with “no freaky chemicals”; students perch on outside benches, since there’s no seating.

Photo: Frank Wojciechowski

182 Nassau St.
Opening spring 2012: Cheeburger Cheeburger
A favorite of Cornel West *80 and other faculty members, this breakfast-all-day diner — known for the carousel horses in the window and ­originally located farther east on Nassau Street — is giving way to a burger chain with a ’50s motif.

Photo: Princeton Alumni Weekly, April 4, 1990


179 Nassau St.
This natural-foods restaurant — later known as the American Diner — was destroyed by a spectacular fire in 1990.

Photo: Frank Wojciechowski

183 Nassau St.
Opened 1990
Outdoor tables make this Greek takeout spot a draw on sunny days.

Photo: Frank Wojciechowski


242 Nassau St.
Opened early 1970s
The ultimate student hangout, known for serving the cheapest, greasiest sandwiches around; there are crowds here at 2 a.m. Says James Paddon ’88: “Anyone who does not say Hoagie Haven (is their favorite place to eat in Princeton) should have their degree revoked.”


Tell us about your favorite place to eat in Princeton, then and now, in the comments section below.

Post Comments
5 Responses to Off-campus eateries: Here today, chain tomorrow?

L. Chapoy *69 Says:

2012-02-06 15:30:16

The chains are a disaster. There are all you want on Route 1. That is one big strip mall. Mezzaluna is great.

Charles Saydah p'99 Says:

2012-02-06 16:49:45

As an undergraduate, I had some friends at Princeton, which was a nice place to visit, but no place to live (no women; it distorted the whole experience). This was during the mid-'60s. My friends lived in a suite with a bunch of guys who liked rhythm and blues, soul, Stax/Volt, Atlantic Motown, and the kind of smooth ballads that distinguished the performances of headliners (Billy Ekstein, Arthur Prysock) at the Apollo on 125th Street in Manhattan. Music had been pretty much segregated by then: A good deal of this music never made it onto the Top 40 of AM radio at the time. It was only at this suite in Princeton University (first it was in Dod, then 111 1937) that I could hear it uninterrupted. I came to enjoy it and for three decades after that time, every time I visited Princeton on the job or passed by along Route 1 and saw the trees along Washington Street, I thought of rhythm and blues and Stax/Volt and Mussel Shoals and Atlantic. It was an odd connection, to be sure. Then, in the mid-1990s, my younger kid went to Princeton and we discovered Teresa Caffe on East Palmer Square, right under the Nassau Inn overpass. It was a place where we first had an olive-oil bread dip worthy of the name, overpriced by very good house wines and a festive atmosphere -- particularly around the bar with people waiting for seats or, even better, taking Italian meals that had some taste. Now, for better or worse, I associate Princeton with Teresa's, and I get hungry. The place still carries an association with R&B, which makes me smile and want to dance. But Teresa's makes me hungry. Two primal forces, both coming from Princeton. And neither have anything to do with nuclear energy. Who knew?

Russ Stratton '60 Says:

2012-02-06 16:51:51

There was another oldie on Nassau Street, Viedt's, run by Mr. Goldstein, where I used to take my homesickness with breakfast during my first year. Later I came to appreciate Lahiere's and am surprised it was allowed to die, considering the wealth of the town.

Bill Rosenblatt '83 Says:

2012-02-09 09:32:40

I notice you omitted Iano's Rosticceria. To those of us who were there during the '80s, it was Victor's. They served much the same fare as Hoagie Haven, but their location made them much more popular. In those days, Hoagie Haven was mostly a hangout for students at the nearby E-Quad who were pulling late nights in the computer or engineering labs. Intoning the immortal Hoagie Haven line "Nahmber Wahn, lettuce tomatoes onions peppers?" pegged you as an engineering geek.

Sun-Young Park '03 Says:

2012-02-17 17:24:15

My freshman year revolved around Einstein's Bagels (since taken over by Zorba's Brother). I will never understand why they deserted me. These days, no trip to Princeton is complete without a caprese sandwich and double fudge brownie from Olive's!
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