No doubt you’ve hit the Stockton Market at some recent point. As farmers markets then food halls sprang up all over the Delaware River towns, there was the Stockton Market, always at least a step ahead of the next trend.
Even now, it remains a rare outlet for both local growers and suppliers and artisan chefs and makers. Pull up any time on a Saturday or Sunday, year-round, and the open space is teeming with savvy shoppers stocking up on grass-fed steaks, small-batch teas and honey, and a rainbow of macarons—most munching on something from one of the rear restaurant stalls or the café as they meander and wait in line.
Which is what makes Friday nights there so special. It’s quieter—all of the restaurants are open, but there are fewer vendors overall. And the weekenders have yet to realize that dinner is served from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. every week. The locals who are well aware also recognize that it’s a golden opportunity to eat one of the widest-ranging and most-satisfying meals you’re going to find around here.
The key is showing up with a plan because you don’t want to find yourself stuffed one or two courses in and relegated to watching everyone else for the remainder of the evening. So, here’s a simple field guide to help you parcel your appetite accordingly.
We’re not suggesting that you start with Market Pizza, but it would be a smart move to make that your first stop. Or, even better, call in your order before you leave the house. At most times of the night at just about any point in the year, the wait averages no less than an hour. (Yeah, it’s worth it.)
Conveniently, Metropolitan Seafood’s stall is then just a few steps to your right. Nothing there tastes like it wasn’t fished from the ocean that morning, but Friday evenings are for oysters. Now would be a good time to mention that the revered Stockton Fine Wines & Spirits sits next door to the market. That should be your actual first stop. (The market encourages diners to bring their own drinks of choice.)
You could go in one of a couple directions next. If you’re partial to barbeque, hit Pulled Fork in the next stall over. If cheese feels like a more natural interlude, scope out Highland Gourmet Market’s and Da Vinci Italian Gourmet’s extensive offerings. Between them, you’re bound to find something in your wheelhouse, or, if you’re becoming more adventurous, outside of it.
We’re partial to the avocado toast at Toast, which sits in the market. It’s not your average slice of toast with mashed-up avocado piled on top. It’s quite massive. But it’ll still leave a sliver of room for tacos from El Mariachi, which you owe it yourself to sample before your pizza’s plucked out of the brick oven.
If you’ve left any room for dessert, that’s some Olympic marathoner-level pacing. What’s your weakness? Sciascia Confections has Belgian chocolates and French macarons. Sweet Melissa’s Patisserie does next-level cookies, cupcakes, and pastries. And Brie & Tiffany’s Corner is where you’ll find the artisanal ice cream and gelato. Hard to go wrong, right? Which is how every meal should end. Good luck, though, finding a menu with that kind of selection.