Manhattan joints are so bad because there is endless foot traffic, which ensures that there will always be another customer in the door, and because almost nobody has a car and therefore they are limited by practicalities to whatever is within a very short distance of their home or office. Nobody's going to walk more than four blocks or one avenue for breakfast at the office. Same goes for a generic weekend brunch. Thus, despite being full of so many choices and people, the choices are illusory and the people are actually the same 10,000 or so who are within a reasonable walking radius.
Hence, the offending venue has no genuine need or incentive to improve the food or service. The food can be dog-doo on a plastic clamshell, dished up with a snarl, and they know that there'll be another wallet walking in the door within two minutes.
By contrast, in the suburbs or in a smaller city, all restaurants have to be on their A-game all the time because otherwise people will simply vote with their steering wheel and go elsewhere. The physical and time constraints are almost eliminated. It doesn't matter whether I drive one mile or three miles or five miles, so long as I'm not walking then it's not much of a difference. Most customers would rather drive five miles in the suburbs for a good meal than one mile for a crappy meal.
That's why so many Manhattan food venues suck, and why it will never improve, not so long as walking remains the only decent way to get around most of the time.
Not much available in North Jersey - not a destination for these populations - your best bet is to go pan-Eastern European and take what you can get.
You can get some essentials, like smoked kielbasas and good hams/cold cuts, at Kochers in Southern Bergen County (Route 63), and especially at Pulaski Meat Market in Linden (down near where 95/Garden State Pkwy/1 & 9 all come together, southern tip of Staten Island). Pulaski is the sine qua non of proper European deli options in North Jersey, as far as I can tell.
Cevapcici available at a Macedonian butcher store in downtown Hoboken, near Willow & Newark (forgot the name).
Better option is to go to Polish places for the smoked meats and cold cuts, and go to a Turkish place to find stuff that tends toward the Mediterranean.
Of anywhere I've been in the 7 years that I've lived in this area, Pulaski in Linden is your best bet.
Note -- the Competitor is open on Sundays -- you can swoop in on your way to the Shore for some grilling kielbasas.
Might be N. Wood instead of S. Wood, said the wife.
Had to recommend a good source for kielbasas, smoked ham and other lunch/deli good stuff, plus more.
Pulaski Meats, on S. Wood Ave. in Linden, NJ, just past the railroad viaduct as you enter town from the NJ Turnpike and 278 West. (Turn right at S. Wood.) Look for the red awnings. There is parking behind the building.
Where is Linden? Along NJ Turnpike, exit at 278 West, and you're within about a mile of the target.
Wife, mother-in-law and I have been going here for more than a year, driving down from Hoboken approx. bi-monthly. M-i-Law is born & raised near the Slovak-Polish border, so she knows her smoked meats. She likes this place.
What do they have? A wide range of smoked kielbasas, many types of European deli meats that you won't find anywhere else (not even in Wegmans), plus an assortment of pastries, rye and pumpernickel breads, a small fresh butcher counter in the back, and lots of Eastern European boxed and canned goods. Also, various forms of smoked trout, salmon and mackerel. The deli meats are wonderful -- bacon loaf, many forms of smoked hams, headcheese (hey, I like it), etc.
Pulaski is closed on Sundays. They have a Competitor right around the corner with an even better assortment of sausages, but smaller deli section and more cramped aisles. I very much recommend the competitor's "grilowa" sausages, which are perfect for grilling and eating on a hoagie roll. I can't remember the name, but you can see them, kitty-corner on the side street as you look across S. Wood.
I'm a dedicated omnivore. When I eat meat, it's usually off the bone. I like anatomy -- it yields lots more flavor. I'd rather eat tofu than boneless chicken breast.
HOWEVER, I agree with the vegansexuals, for this reason -- you can smell meat on a carnivore's breath. It's true. I quit cooking meat at home for about 1/2 year following the WTC attack (up close and personal). By the end of it, I could actually smell, or even sense, meat when I was in a deli/restaurant, distinguish it from anything else, regardless of the ventilation, etc.
For a vegan, this could probably be a big turn-off. Yes, even as someone who cooks oxtail and lamb shank, I am going to take the side of the the vegans.