A “heritage of hospitality” is the tag line for Pal’s Cabin in West Orange, NJ, and given the long history of the restaurant, heritage is the right word. The restaurant has an old-school feel, which works perfectly with the Cabin’s heritage.
Founded in 1932, in the teeth of the great depression, Pal’s Cabin has been a favorite of locals for decades. What began as a 10’ by 12’ “cabin” (shack, if you prefer), is now a complex of dining rooms with eight seats of counter service. From appetizers to desserts, the same menu is available at the counter or in any dining room.
I sat at the counter, next to a picture on the wall of a 1943 Navy baseball team that included Ted Williams, Johnny Sain, and Johnny Pesky. I was told by a local patron that another ballplayer in the picture, Wendell Wear, was a Penn State football star and a coach at the West Orange Mountain High School.
Celebrities that have eaten at Pal's Cabin include Bob Hope; it was a favorite place for Jackie Gleason and Babe Ruth. The Piano Room still houses the piano played the house piano player for a time, a young Liberace.
I ordered one of the Pal’s Cabin originals – a foot-long hot dog served with steak fries and coleslaw. It was a substantial dog, not just a skinny foot-long - this one made a meal. The hot dog was grilled, the bun was toasted, and fried onions came on the side. The food was well-prepared. The service was more leisurely than fast, so if you’re in a hurry, you better head to a fast-food joint.
I enjoyed my time at Pal’s Cabin. If you’re interested in the more pricey entrees on the menu, grab a place in one of the dining rooms. Otherwise, the soups and diner-fare were well-received at the counter.
Pal’s Cabin in located on Prospect Ave. in West Orange, near I-280.