BERGEN COUNTY, N.J. -- Pumpkins aren't just for carving. Every Fall, a host of Bergen County eateries zest up their menus with this seasonal gourd. What follows is a list of where to find everything from muffins to cocktails.
- Benny's Luncheonette, Fair Lawn: Come Saturday or Sunday, there's nothing sweeter than Pumpkin Streusel Pancakes -- a weekend special. Need something sooner? There's pumpkin ice cream at the bakery. Taste Fall: 11-04 Saddle River Rd., (201) 791-0730.
- Franco's Metro Restaurant & Bar, Fort Lee: Indulge in Franco's Pumpkintini made with fresh pumpkin puree created in house, Stoli Vanilla, RumChata' and Amaretto di Saronno. It's served with a dash of cinnamon and a little mint leaf for garnish. Taste Fall: 1475 Bergen Blvd., (201) 461-6651.
- Ho-Ho-Kus Inn & Tavern, Ho-Ho-Kus: Come for Sunday brunch and enjoy pumpkin spice crumb cake at the restaurant's popular buffet. Taste Fall: 1 Franklin Turnpike, (201) 445-4115.
- Midland Brew House, Saddle Brook: Say "Cheers" to pumpkin brews such as Pumpkin Cider, Brooklyn Pumpkin and Schlasly Pumpkin. Taste Fall: 374 N Midland Ave, (201) 797-0070.
- Mr. Cupcakes, Hackensack, Oradell: Sweeten your day with a pumpkin cheesecake cupcake -- yellow cake with pumpkin pie filling baked inside with pumpkin cream cheese icing. Taste Fall: Shops at Riverside, Hackensack, (201) 342-2293; 385 Kinderkamack Rod, Oradell, (201) 483-8897.
- Park West Tavern, Ridgewood: A special at the moment: a roasted mini pumpkin with shrimp risotto, green peas and pecorino cheese. The eatery also has a Harvest martini with pumpkin spice in it and an Oktoberfest beer on tap. Taste Fall: 30 Oak St, (201) 445-5400
- Stray Cat Brew, Maywood: You'll be able to satisfy your pumpkin fix with either pumpkin frozen white hot chocolate, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, pumpkin macchiatos and more. Taste Fall: 108 W. Pleasant Ave., (201) 682-6306.
- The Barn, Closter: Save room for dessert. Pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin cheese pie (half cheese, half pumpkin), and pumpkin tea breads are on the menu, offering a taste of the season. Taste Fall: 570 Piermont Rd., (201) 768-1438.
- The Shannon Rose Irish Pub, Ramsey: Eat pumpkin and do good. From Thursday, Oct. 20 to Wednesday, Nov. 2, the Irish pub will donate a dollar from every item sold from its pumpkin-inspired menu directly to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The menu selection includes Spiced Pumpkin Soup (creamy pumpkin soup seasoned with fall spices, herbs and apples), Pumpkin & Mascarpone Ravioli (pecan cream sauce and fresh sage), Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie with Oreo crust and Fireball Whisky caramel sauce and a Pumpkin Martini (Skyy vanilla vodka, Hiram Walker pumpkin liqueur, Fulton’s Harvest pumpkin liqueur, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg).
- In other pumpkin news: To raise additional funds for St. Jude's, The Shannon Rose is hosting its third annual Punkin’ Chunkin’ competition on Friday, Oct. 28 at 6 p.m. Participants are challenged to launch their pumpkin as far as possible within a designated area known as the “Chunkin Patch” for a chance to win prizes while raising funds for a worthy cause. Taste Fall: 1200 NJ-17, Ramsey, (201) 962-7602, www.theshannonrose.com/ .
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