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Red Robin Eyeing Brick Plaza Spot

Red Robin in Cherry Hill
Red Robin in Cherry Hill
Gourmet hamburger chain Red Robin is hoping to open a restaurant at 56 Chambers Bridge Road, in Brick Plaza, and is now inquiring about the availability of liquor licenses.

Two liquor licenses are available in Brick, said Township Clerk Lynette Iannarone, who received Red Robin's inquiry in a Dec. 20 letter.

Red Robin is in the "due diligence stage of building a new restaurant," wrote Jake Schlueter, senior licensing manager of Red Robin, in the inquiry to Brick.

Should the township proceed to sell a liquor license, the process would be a sealed bid, with the highest bidder likely awarded the license.

Councilman Dan Toth brought up the inquiry at today's council meeting, suggesting a license could fetch $500,000 in one-time revenue for Brick.

The outgoing councilman suggested such a sale be routed into the township's surplus, instead of being immediately used in an operating budget for Brick. Toth said treating non-recurring revenue as surplus was a good fiscal policy and urged the incoming council to consider continuing it should the liquor license sale go through.

Iannarone said the clerk's office had responded to Schlueter to let Red Robin know the process should the township decide to sell a liquor license.

"Red Robin is extremely excited to open a location and we are confident will be a positive addition to your community," Schlueter wrote, saying that less than 10 percent of gross receipts at Red Robins typically include alcohol sales.

The Colorado-based company is looking to join a vacant existing spot in Brick Plaza, a heavily trafficked property that already includes Applebee's and Quaker Steak and Lube. Recently Joe's Crab Shack and Smashburger opened in the plaza.

In November, Red Robin opened a Cherry Hill location and also has a Mays Landing spot.
Irina January 01, 2014 at 06:10 PM
Red Robin is horrible, as horrible as Joe's Crab Shack. Best bet go to Shop Rite and buy a lobster there. They'll even cook it for you free of charge (Their on sale this week $5.99 a lb). Microwaved Seafood is plain GROSS.
Joey Joe January 01, 2014 at 06:24 PM
Just wish somebody would open a "real" crab house type restaurant, similar to what they have in Ocean City, Md. It would have to be seasonal so that good NJ Blue Claws could be served. Imagine walking in to lots of booths and having your table covered with a piece of old fashioned brown paper, the floor covered in peanut shells, and a waitress bringing you a huge pot of fresh crabs and a pitcher of beer....daaaym my mouth is watering... bet they'd clean house !!!!
Donnie Brasco January 01, 2014 at 08:14 PM
Joey couldn't agree with you more. We do have bum Rogers in seaside park that offers crabs. But we do need something closer. In fact for living at the shore, we do not have any good fresh seafood restaurants in my opinion. I have eaten better seafood in many other states.
Linda Maloney January 01, 2014 at 08:46 PM
I'll triple that emotion @Joey Joe and @Donnie Brasco! Blue claw crabs are my favorite food in the world! I've always wondered why there aren't many places where you can sit down, roll up your sleeves, newspapers on table, mallets, nutcrackers and cold beer to wash them down. When I was younger(years ago) my grandparents had a small boat and we go on the Metedeconk River and catch bushels of them using a simple drop line or box nets. Now just talking about is making me crave them, I know it's a seasonal thing, but there's no excuse for not having better seafood restaurants in the area!!!
Spooner January 01, 2014 at 09:35 PM
...you mean we don't have enough! How about a Bobby's Burger Palace to go with Red Robin?
crow January 01, 2014 at 09:44 PM
if it fills an empty location, go for it. Bring in money and jobs. The food isnt bad either. I do go to the one in Hamilton and it is good.
TuesdaySunshine January 01, 2014 at 10:58 PM
I agree God Forbid we get a Whole Foods or a Trader Joe's or Wegmanns .... I don't care what the town higher ups say, there is a market for it. Enough with the gross fast food and chain restaurants.
Spooner January 01, 2014 at 11:56 PM
Would love to see a Wegmans where the old Foodtown was on Route 70 in Brick, if it could be built. Create a lot of good paying jobs...
Linda Maloney January 02, 2014 at 12:49 AM
Well @Spooner, There is certainly enough room there for ample parking, as opposed to that Shop- Rite parking lot further down. Do you really think it would create good paying jobs or just a bunch of minimum salary jobs? I still would rather see the hotel/convention center there, but that has been nixed!
Joey Joe January 02, 2014 at 05:41 AM
I bettin Wegmans has already looked into Brick..and given the fact that they've not jumped in they've probably decided there just isn't enough need to warrant the investment. So many people eat out now, be it a restaurant (word used loosely) or picking up the phone and ordering "take out." Another thing wrong with our society these days IMHO...Mom works, Dad works, and there isn't time to cook a regular sit down family meal. Just have to wonder what the stats are re: daily sit down home cooked meals these days as compared to years ago. Back to my suggestion for a Crab House... @Donnie B & Linda Maloney -- glad to see there are others who know what I'm talkin about. Bum Rogers does have some decent Crab in the summer, but as you say - it's a PIA to get there. I'd really love to see a OC, Maryland style Crab House that is easily accessible and perhaps it wouldn't have to be seasonal if some thought was given to a "crab offseason" menu... One that had FRESH seafood, a good steak or two, and home cooked style "what Mom use to cook" specials. Throw in some great appetizers and deserts and a beer only liquor license (if they are available - if not forget the bar and make it a BYOB if ya had to) and I'm betting "whoever" would have a gold mine. It would also produce jobs for waitresses/waiters, kitchen staff etc and if they did as well as I think they would and the owner wasn't greedy, they could afford to pay more than the min wage. I for one travel to OC, Maryland just for this type of dinner at least 4-5 times a summer. Places w/Great food at an affordable price always make out... Daaym, just thinkin about a table with brown paper or newspaper as the table cloth, peanut and crabs shells all around, butter stains on the paper, fresh corn on the cob ears all over, pitchers of beer, mac&cheese, cole slaw, a good salad bar, good bread, good seafood soups, good deserts.....man I just gained 20lbs thinkin about it. COME ON SUMMER !!!!!!!!!!!! Oh it's supposed to snow tonite...LOL
Glenn Cantor January 02, 2014 at 08:32 AM
Red Robin should consider the empty restaurant in Lanes Mill Plaza, on Rt. 9 in Howell....hint, hint. They would face less restaurant competition than they will in Brick. Quite selfishly, that would bring their great onion rings close to my home.
Spooner January 02, 2014 at 10:56 AM
@Linda- actually Wegmans has a low employee turnover (around 3%) Last year Fortune magazine ranked Wegmans # 3 out of the best 100 corporations to work for... ___________________________________________________ https://www.wegmans.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CookingTechDetailView?langId=-1&storeId=10052&catalogId=10002&productId=685359
Mike M January 02, 2014 at 11:01 AM
The issue of Wegmans and Whole Foods has been discussed and they will not come to this area (Brick). It has nothing to do with politics- it is entirely their decision. The initial redevelopment agreement for the Foodtown property called for a grocery chain, possibly Wegmans, but they declined. This redeveloper (Jack Morris- M&M Realty) has past experience with Wegmans so this may have been a good indication that they are dead set against coming here. Whole Foods probably uses the same criteria for new store locations and Brick doesn't meet them. Regarding the Foodtown site, the most important thing we can do right now is to let the Council and Mayor that the current proposal from M&M that calls for a 190 unit high-end gated condo project and nearly 100 apartments built on top of 35,000 square feet of new retail space is unacceptable. Check out the website of Friends of Forge Pond, NJ (http://www.friendsofforgepondnj.org/) and their Facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/groups/friendsofforgepondnj/ ) for more info on this.
Spooner January 02, 2014 at 11:08 AM
@Joey- miss the old restaurants: like Evelyn's up in Belmar for sea food, the Southern House in Point Beach for BBQ ribs and their onion loaves, and Peterson's $9 in change prime ribs au jus dinners on Friday nites, complete with their creamy cheese cake for desert. . ."AH The Good Old Days"
Bricktown Lew January 02, 2014 at 11:11 AM
@Mike,it almost sounds as if there plan to do something with that old Foodtown lot in this century.
TuesdaySunshine January 02, 2014 at 12:42 PM
Mike and I wonder WHY they don't consider this area???Could it possibly be the potential Brucktucky clientele ?? Lol
Mike M January 02, 2014 at 09:22 PM
@Bricktown Lew: There is definite movement on the redevelopment of the Foodtown property. The problem has been with the redeveloper, M&M Properties (which happens to have Jack Morris as an owner), and their revised plan to build the condos, apartments and retail space. The good news is that town Council has shown an interest in listening to residents in an attempt to come up with a plan that will actually be an asset to the town, not just another thoughtlessly planned strip mall with unmarketable condos. If you have constructive ideas join in on the conversation. We'll be having a residents' meeting later this month.
Mike M January 02, 2014 at 09:24 PM
@Judi: I think the decision was based on the demographic data for the area (I don't use the Bricktucky label) and traffic patterns leading to the property.
Joey Joe January 02, 2014 at 10:01 PM
@Spooner - yes indeed...I agree with you... amazing that with all that ocean out there we don't have any real good seafood restaurants. While I'm not into stuffy places (that's why I like the Ocean City, Md crab houses) I very much like variety and a decent price for a decent meal. They can keep the liquor license as long as my Wife and I can bring a bottle of wine in with us I'm happy...
Bricktown Lew January 03, 2014 at 08:21 PM
@ Mike, that is encouraging to hear. However, with all those thoughtless plans (I agree) we've heard about in the past, it's also kind of scary to think about what would happen if something is built there (the old lot). It's almost like a "be careful of what you wish for" scenario. Since we have so many strip malls in the town with so many empty stores, plus the added traffic on that part of 70, another strip mall isn't appealing. Another thing about this town is that we really don't have a "center of town." The closest thing to that is the intersection of Drum Point where the Walgreen's and CVS are. It would be nice to have a town complex in that lot that would be environmentally and bike friendly where there would be a nice clock and civic related activities..but then that's just someone tired of highways and abandoned commercial property.
Mike M January 03, 2014 at 10:12 PM
@Bricktown Lew: You're right to say that there is no spot in Brick that can be identified as a center of town or a downtown and that's a shame. I can remember walking to downtown Bloomfield back in the 1960's and being able to shop with my parents in a wide variety of locally owned businesses. Even used to ride the old Newark city subway to shop at Bambergers. It would be great if we could take the Foodtown property and develop it into something that would serve as a central gathering spot where people can actually get out of their cars and spend some time in a clean, pleasant outdoor environment. The redevelopment proposal that was presented to the Council in the Fall by Friends of Forge Pond, NJ and the Citizens Redevelopment Advisory Board included wide walking paths with pocket parks and passive recreation areas stretching along the entire perimeter of the property. In my opinion it would be great to turn the entire property into a park but in this day and age this isn't economically feasible. But if we can combine some revenue producing assets such as a midscale hotel and combine it with a community asset like an aquatic center that would be beneficial to all of us and produce enough revenue to support itself then maybe it can all work.
Linda Maloney January 03, 2014 at 10:27 PM
@Mike M What happened with the hotel/convention center proposal? ....and does this property also include the heavily wooded area behind it?
Linda Maloney January 03, 2014 at 11:39 PM
...or is that a conservation area (around the golf course)?
Mike M January 04, 2014 at 09:16 AM
@Linda Maloney: The original proposal was for a full service hotel and full service banquet facility and it was determined to be economically unfeasible. The problem with the proposal is that they were aiming too high- there is not sufficient demand here for a top shelf hotel or a large banquet facility. A smaller scale, mid range hotel like a Hampton Inn or La Quinta would be more appropriate and does economically work. It would take less than 3 of the 11 acres so there would be a large amount of remaining land for other beneficial redevelopment projects. The wooded land behind it is not included but if you look in the back there is a wide clear path that is a BTMUA easement running up through the golf course that could be used as part of a continuous walking path. Just an idea we've been kicking around.
Linda Maloney January 04, 2014 at 09:34 AM
Thank You! @Mike M I wasn't quite sure what had happened with the original plan. I heard so many conflicting stories. It does make more sense to put a smaller, mid range hotel there.
Bricktown Lew January 04, 2014 at 10:16 AM
@Mike, I like the aquatic center idea. What if it was expanded? An aquatic center as well as other activity sport related places, like something fishing related and biking related (for example) where people who used to do those things but don't have equipment, bikes, friends, can have access and can sign up for rentals? It could be exclusive to only residents of Brick or Ocean County to keep out the hordes of "gorilla/bimbo Benny element" that make us not want to go to the beach. There could be events like "Ever want to try biking? Or Golf, swimming, fishing? What about some small club houses and sporting bars for people that have an interest in other sports than baseball, NFL Football, etc? Personally, I would love it if there was an old world British style soccer pub to get away from all of that nauseating UFC stuff. I know all of this is a pipe dream because some hotel to house more Benny flocks will go up, but it would have been nice to be able to have a sporting complex in this town where one could actually think about getting fit instead of getting a heart attack from all of the junk food chains.
Mike M January 04, 2014 at 11:12 AM
@Bricktown Lew: I would personally like something like the community center they have in Bethlehem PA: http://www.bethlehemtwp.com/btcc/ This is something we (Friends of Forge Pond NJ) have discussed.
suzanne February 22, 2014 at 07:53 AM
SO let's put another YUCKO fast food chain in Brick..."Red Robin" & put the better places in town out of business.Did u all know SIMKO'S is gone?... AND regarding the old Foodtown location> a better place to shop for food.."Whole Foods or Wegman's would add a lot to this community.
Mike M February 22, 2014 at 08:42 AM
Even though there seems to be a lot of people who want a Wegmans/ Whole Foods on the Foodtown property it is not going to happen. Wegmans already was looking at it and said no. If they determined that the area and location wouldn't be ideal I would think Whole Foods would say the same thing. If you'd like to be part of the conversation about what we (the residents) would like to see there come to the meeting that Friends of Forge Pond is sponsoring at the library on March 19th from 7:30PM to 8:30PM. (https://www.facebook.com/events/583949825021512/)
Penn Cross February 22, 2014 at 06:08 PM
Whole Foods just announced they're going into Allaire Plaza in Wall Township.

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