Jun 21, 2021

The Best Rats In New Jersey

Rat's Restaurant
Hamilton, NJ
While we were exploring Grounds For Sculpture, we accidentally stumbled into the back entrance of a beautiful restaurant called Rat's.  We were both pretty hungry, and everything looked and smelled delicious.  However, when we asked one of the servers where to go to check in and be seated, we were told that you can only get a table if you have a reservation.  She did say that we could check at the front desk to see if there was anything they could do.

Would you have given this fuzzy hippie a table?

If I'm being completely honest, I didn't expect that they would accommodate us.  Everyone was dressed smart casual or better, and here I am - an unshaven long haired goofball in a tie dye Fangoria t-shirt and ripped jeans wandering through the outdoor patio of a well-respected French restaurant asking if I could get a table.  But, I figured "what the hell".  We were here, and the worst they could say is no, so I swallowed my anxiety and headed for the front desk.  I explained that I didn't know there was a restaurant on the grounds, so I didn't make a reservation, and I asked if it was possible to have lunch there.

Much to my surprise, they didn't dismiss me right out of hand.  In fact, they were incredibly nice and checked their reservation schedule against the available tables in the restaurant and called for a host to show us to our table, where we had a wonderful meal.  My wife had steak, which she enjoyed very much, and I had the Rat's Burger, which I assure you was all beef and bacon.  Everything was delicious, and everyone who we spoke to was incredibly kind.

The restaurant and its surroundings were designed by Seward Johnson to feel like something out of Claude Monet impressionist painting.  The style is also heavily inspired by The Wind In The Willows, which was one of Johnson's favorite books.  The restaurant is named after Ratty, and the entrance to the building looks like Toad's caravan.

Our table had a very cool and peaceful vibe.  It was inside the building, as close to the patio by the lake that you could get without being outside.

If you're reading this and you do decide to pay a visit to Grounds For Sculpture (which you really should), make lunch reservation at Rat's.  The food is outstanding, the atmosphere is beautiful, the staff are genuinely kind and wonderful people, and even the prices are very reasonable for what you're getting.  I know I will definitely be back.