If you want to get away from chains, I'd travel about 2 miles south of the EB border to Monroe/Jamesburg. Basile's on Rt 522 (Monroe - Buckelew Ave) is really good, so is Fiddleheads in Jamesburg (not Italian, though! Small, but really great food) There are also several small Italian restaurants - two in the WaWa strip mall on Applegarth (one on each side of Prospect Plains), and two others in strip malls on Spotswood-Englishtown Rd by Bakers Nursery. All four have good food and are reasonable. We go to Garvey's a lot - it looks like a dive from the outside, but is very family friendly and has a cozy atmosphere. The food is okay, and I like giving business to non-chains that are family businesses! Also...not usually crowded - except St. Patrick's Day! It's tucked away, and the outside probably scares some people off. We've been going there for 20 years...good pub fare. The food is not as good as Olde Silver Tavern, but it's quieter and closer.