• Gabriel Donio

Hammontonians & restaurants: a perfect match


Restaurant Week takes place in Hammonton from February 23 to March 6. (THG/MarySusan Hoffman)

I was working late on February 18, stopping by restaurants to sell advertising for this week’s biggest ever Gazette Dining Guide. My work brought me to several local restaurants.


All of them were packed. Cars overflowing the parking lots, people filling the bars and tables filled in the dining room.


It felt good to see it again. My mind flashed back to the dark, tough days of 2020 and 2021, when restaurants were closed, or putting up tents or seating people at every other table.


I remember the first time I saw plexiglass installed at some local restaurants.


This is surreal, I thought then.


At the moment, it’s all a memory. So are the masks and other restrictions.


What a wonderful feeling it was to see people sitting right next to each other at the bar at the restaurants I stopped into this past weekend, with four and six people at a table, all enjoying each other’s company and the delicious food and drinks being served by whatever restaurant I visited.


In a testament to the human spirit and its resiliency, people had gone right back to doing things the way they used to—living life the way they had—before the pandemic. It felt like the way people shovel out after a blizzard and go right back to doing whatever they were doing before the storm.


Hammontonians love their food.


The town has a huge number of people who can cook at home.


We’re also a social group of people. We love coming together, particularly for a meal, whether it’s a Sunday dinner or dining out with family or friends.


The last two years made it difficult—and in some cases impossible—to come together in that way.


Here we are in February 2022. For 19 years, The Gazette has sponsored Restaurant Week in Hammonton (February 23 to March 6) and published a keepsake Dining Guide to celebrate both Hammontonians’ love of food and the restaurant community of the Hammonton area.


This year, it feels like it’s even more than a celebration of those two worthy aspects of our town. It’s also a celebration of being able to go out and celebrate at our favorite restaurants again, with the people we know and love. These restaurants have been the backdrop of so many special moments in our lives, and now they are again.


Everything feels reconnected. It’s a good feeling.


We want to thank all the advertisers who supported this year’s Dining Guide. It was the largest Dining Guide we’ve ever published.


You may also notice in print and online that in addition to supporting and promoting our own Restaurant Week, we are supporting and promoting the Hammonton Education Foundation’s Taste of the Town: “One Bite at a Time.” The event has a new concept this year—people will head directly to the restaurants. It is being held from April 1 to May 31 and I am sure it is going to be an outstanding success for the foundation and the restaurants that are being promoted.


Let’s go out to eat in the coming days. Enjoy a plate of something you haven’t had in a while. Have a glass of you favorite wine, beer or spirit. Celebrate, because it’s a good time to celebrate. This past Presidents’ Day Weekend, it looked like people were already enjoying themselves.


It feels like people are ready to have a good time at all the local and area restaurants.

So am I.


Gabriel J. Donio is the publisher of The Hammonton Gazette.