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Snuffy's, Scotch Plains

  • h

At the risk of dating myself, I haven't heard anyone on these board (especially Jersey folk) discuss Snuffy's in Scotch Plains. Feeling rather nostalgic these days, I remember the original "shack" called Snuffy's where our parents would buy hot dogs and burgers for us kids, and then head over to the restaurant for a "grownup meal."

I haven't been to Snuffy's in at least 30 years. A visit to the website details their wedding and catering service but I was wondering if anyone been to Snuffy's lately for brunch, or the seafood buffet? Yay or nay as a dining experience?

Thanks.

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  1. HillJ, all I can say about Snuffy's reputation these days is from what I hear around locals - which is that it's a joke around here. Well, as far as a "fine dining" experience goes anyway.

    Nobody I know in town eats there. A good friend of mine that lives in Fanwood hasn't eaten there since she was probably a teenager - just not the kind of place she wants to spend her cash.

    A lot of people have very fond memories, as you do, of it from years past. One of my best friends used to go there during his college days, after tough night's of partying to finish up the night. I'm dating myself obviously too, this was not the main restaurant part, it was probably the other shack you speak of.

    My husband and I have been living in SP for 6 years. Not once have we felt the need to go in there, based on comments we've heard from our neighbors. Ok, well maybe we've felt the need to go just to be able to be in on the joke. It just looks so garish and overblown, the kind of place I'd run from. I just wouldn't expect it could possibly have anything worth eating inside - probably just a glorified diner at this point (althought, I suppose that wouldn't be so bad if the food were good).

    If anyone else has an opinion I'd be interested too. I could be swayed to walk in and give it a go but it would have to be some really high recommendation or maybe for some real kitsch value.

    1. If you want to feel like it is 1980, then go. The place is so dated and the menu is so dated as well. I went to a shower here last year, and I felt like I was with my parents out for dinner waiting for a booster seat! :)

      It needs a total revamp. Just my 2 cents!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Angelina

        Ok, not a high recommendation LOL. Guess we'll be staying away as we expected too :-)

      2. sivy & ang-you both gave me a laugh! I haven't lived in county for 23 years-moved south...I guess we'll pass on Snuffy's...especially if it hasn't changed in three decades! thanks :)

        better to keep the childhood mem's (wink) in tact.

        1. How about when the owner would have himeself paged on the intercom every 10 minutes?

          "Paging Mr. Pantagis, Mr. Pantagis you have a phone call."

          Do you remember that? My sister was cracking up when I even mentioned this place. She reminded me about the whole paging system.

          Hilarious!!

          1 Reply
          1. When I moved to P'field about 9 years ago, Snuffy's was one of the first restaurants I heard of because our real estate salesperson's office was across the street, and their literature used it as a landmark. But since then I've never met anyone who has been there, so I've never been there either. The one constant description seems to be "glorified diner", which I find interesting as a commentary on New Jersey's approach to chow. There are endless threads on this board and others that expound on NJ's preeminent role as a locale for diners, in all their stages of evolution, from the authenticity of places like the Bendix (is it still there?), to the near-iconic status accorded to Mastoris. Yet, restaurants such as Snuffy's, which try, on some level, to escape that orbit, are never entirely successful in making the transition from diner to restaurant, and are stuck in some kind of middle ground where they are not taken seriously as either.

            Charlie

            2 Replies
            1. re: albinoni

              I guess that is because they continue to serve "diner" food, in a "restaurant" setting? Nothing wrong with diners, and NJ sure has plenty of great ones (we're quite partial to the Scotchwood on 22 in fact, they have these great mini chocolate chip cookies at the front desk to take w/you when you leave, although I think they mucked with the recipe in the last year or so, they used to be better).

              Something about the name "Snuffy's" bothers me too. Doesn't sound like the kind of place I'd want to have a fine dining experience in. I just keep thinking of waiters sneezing in my food :-)

              1. re: albinoni

                alb, very interesting observation. When I was a child Snuffy's was diner-ish. Both the "fast food" shack (known as Snuffy's Jr.) and restaurant offered family style dinners at good prices.

                I don't recall the year Snuffy's remodeled but it was well publicized and county "news" at the time. The reopening was far more "glitzy" and the advertising that followed focused on catering services. As a matter of fact, for years I thought the location was event only.

                Upon visiting the website I was surprised to learn they offered a Sunday brunch.

              2. My husbad and I went to a wedding there 16 years ago and it was definitely high "Wedding Hall" style -- overdone, gaudy, and trying very, very hard to look "high class." The food was average banquet hall quality (meaning not great). My husband, having grown up in the area, laughed when he heard that's where the reception would be. It was just a joke for him growing up.

                1. From all that's written here, I find it hard to believe they have managed to stay in business all these years!

                  We always notice big loads of buses dropping off crowds of old folks. We think it's a stop-over to Atlantic City or something from farther northeast reaches maybe :-)

                  1. sivy, I can't even begin to count the number of restaurants that remain opened on sheer reliability! You know what to expect, you have the menu memorized, you know its going to be there. Gosh, Coach and Four (Cranford), Hofbrahaus (Atl Highlands), Spirito's (Elizabeth) come to mind immediately. Some close, some are about to and some will remain with us forever. Irregardless of today's culinary standards certain establishments fly on the memories the conjure alone.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: HillJ

                      I'm proud to say I haven't eaten at any of those :-)

                      1. re: sivyaleah

                        Darlin' (grin) you've missed out!

                        1. re: sivyaleah

                          Siv,

                          Please DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT diss Spiritos. This place is an institution and if you should not be "proud" never to have been, especially if your standard is the Scotchwood, OMG. If you search the name on Chowhound you will find that Spiritos is not only an institution but a landmark in NJ.

                          Before you state you are prouder than having one of the best Italian meals of your life, try it. You will find that it blows the doors off the Scotchwood, which in my NJ days was not worth the drive.

                          1. re: jfood

                            Jfood, I was just responding to HillJ's comment that certain restaurants mentioned in that post, were flying on their memories. My assumption, perhaps made incorrectly, was that all of the restaurants mentioned were not of a high caliber.

                            However, I have been corrected many times over about Spiritos since I wrote that in January and have made mention on other threads that I intend to seek it out.

                            And I never said my standard was the Scotchwood for cripes sake! I just said as far as diners go, I was partial to them and I liked their cookies!

                            If you read my posts here you'd know that for sure. You've totally taken that post out of context and I think you need to go back and reread it.

                        2. re: HillJ

                          Hasn't the Coach & Four been gone for quite a few years? I seem to recall that a Spanish restaurant moved into that space a number of years ago.

                          1. re: Ted in Central NJ

                            Don't know about the Coach & Four, but Hofbrauhaus closed recently.

                          2. re: HillJ

                            Hofbrahaus (Atl Highlands) is gone. The land is sold.

                          3. So, I'm reading this thread when it suddenly dawns on me that we've actually been to this place for dinner. Once -- a very, very, very long time ago (30+ years?). I have this vague memory of driving up to the place, but that's it. No recall at all of our dinner there. We don't live in that neighborhood, so there must have been some reason for us to make what is at least a 40-minute trip. True, back then, our palates were not as educated as they subsequently became, so we used to eat at restaurants whose doorsteps we would never even consider stepping through now. But is it possible the food at Snuffy's was good at that time?

                            Btw, here's their website: http://www.snuffypantagis.com/

                            1. 30 years ago, speaking as one who grew up in the area, the original Snuffy's was a family-style restaurant that attracted large groups at reasonable prices. No longer in the area, I can't vouch for the "new Snuffy's" but I'm going to go in the near future to find out for myself.

                              The way I figure it, memory lane alone is worth a few bucks and if the place was in anyway hurting patrons it wouldn't still be standing decades later.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: HillJ

                                Good for you HillJ! You are one brave Chowhound! Please let us know how it goes. My husband and I always joke about going in, but haven't quite gotten up the nerve - then again, we don't have the memories that you do from childhood to back us up.

                              2. Yes, sadly Coach & Four and Hofbrauhaus have closed. My family and I were one of those classic portraits captured in the restaurant albums. Me in my Coach & Four hat in one and german-styled pigtails the other..back in the day!

                                I will post my Snuffy's sojourn this month. Oh and the restaurant that now stands were Coach & Four once stood was very enjoyable Spanish cuisine.

                                1. Here is another oldy but goody in that area:

                                  Septembers on the Hill.

                                  Located on Bonnie Burn Road in Watchung.

                                  Remember?? Now it is a country and western place.

                                  I remember we used to go to September's all the time! Weddings, dinner (with my mommy and daddy of course..hee hee!)

                                  Now, does anyone else remember? Especially that wicked hill?

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: Angelina

                                    Angelina, I remember! We just called the place The Hill. Great sled riding back in those wooden areas when I was a kid. Can't say I remember attending a wedding/dinner there tho.

                                    1. re: Angelina

                                      Angelina, I always wondered what that C&W place was all about. I've only lived in the area about 6 years. I love hearing about what all these places were in their prior incarnations :-) A friend I made in the area told me my house sits on used that used to be farmland owned by some guy that used to have some famous orchards in the area I think. Alas, long gone...

                                      BTW, Bonnie Burn Road is a lot of fun to drive on, especially in a convertible with the top down on a summer day :-), lots of twists and turns, that hasn't changed.

                                      Sorry for going off-topic all!

                                      1. re: sivyaleah

                                        siv, if you haven't noticed already, food makes me very nostalgic! A number of my relatives lived on Lambertsmill Rd and co owned the country club, I grew up with food underlining just about every childhood memory. SPlains is one town that holds great food stories for me.

                                        1. re: HillJ

                                          Food makes all of us nostalgic, I think that is why we're Chowhounds :-)
                                          If you have any other SPlains stories to share, please do - start another thread maybe? My husband and I love hearing about the town. We love living here/there (I'm writing from work) and even after living in the area for all these years, we still feel like we don't quite know "home" well enough.

                                      2. re: Angelina

                                        Is that by chance the place my family use to go to when I was a kid that was called "Wally's"?

                                      3. Ahhhh...Scotch Plains :)

                                        I went to High School at Union Catholic :)

                                        Memories.....

                                        1. > BTW, Bonnie Burn Road is a lot of fun to drive on, especially in a
                                          > convertible with the top down on a summer day :-), lots of twists and
                                          > turns, that hasn't changed.

                                          My son still speaks of the "elephant" we met on Bonnie Burn Road, seems Mommy couldn't negotiate the wet road and lost some mils of brake crossing to the other side and returning of one of said curves. Very happy traffic was light that day. And yes, the road still is horrible but the best way to get to 78 in the area.

                                          1. I long for the Scotchwood Diner. I grew up in Berkeley Heights and haven't been back in years. Never actually ate at Snuffy's.

                                            Has anyone been to the Scotchwood Diner lately? Is it still good????

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: puppymomma

                                              http://www.scotchwooddiner.com/

                                              puppym, if you crave nostalgia give it a visit.
                                              NJ diners hold a special place in my chow heart.

                                              1. re: puppymomma

                                                We go occassionally, but haven't been in several months. We enjoy it a lot. I'd say I've had better diner food elsewhere, but it certainly is a solid choice, never had a "bad" meal there and service is always good.

                                                We especially like the little mini chocolate chips they have at the counter when you pay. Unfortunately they changed the recipe some time ago - a change of chef's I think. They used to be a lot better, a bit crispier which we prefer but hey, free mini cookies are always a pleasure and they still are a nice treat to take with you when you leave :-)

                                              2. Was just talking to my husband about Snuffy's! I remember my grandmother use to go to the shack?? (all I remember is that it was across the street) and pick up for Friday night clam chowder, breaded fish fillets, loaves of round italian bread. And for picnics the best hotdogs! I think we had eaten at restaurant part back then, but don't remember.

                                                I didn't know that it actually had a "restaurant" now. I thought the whole place was just catering.. weddings, etc.

                                                1. Gotta revive this thread.

                                                  I recently moved my mother into assisted living facility. She complains bitterly about the food they serve there--she says it is chronically overcooked and bland, and although she is no longer as active as she used to be, she can still distinguish good food from bad--I can verify that. In fact, one of the reasons I am discovering more restaurants in the Westfield-Cranford area is because she wants to go out to eat whenever I visit her. She has vetoed second visits to a number of places we've tried, and I agree with her in every case.

                                                  Anyway, last week, the facility scheduled lunch at Snuffy's, and she signed up and went. Last night I asked her how it was, and much to my surprise, she said it was really good. She had a rib steak, and she wants to go back. So, I may be offering my own first-hand experience on this board sometime in the near future.

                                                  6 Replies
                                                  1. re: albinoni

                                                    Please go! One of us has to bite the bullet already!

                                                    1. re: sivyaleah

                                                      Good gracious CH's I've been six times already. Had a blast each time. Still love their rice pudding and the dinner menu is wonderful. I still don't understand the hesitation to try this place. It's a "tad" over dressed in the decor department but I love their staff. Dive in!

                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                        Rice pudding? Why dincha say so in the foist place!!

                                                        1. re: albinoni

                                                          HillJ, I thought you said you were going to report back! Glad to here it's ok, guess we'll have to give it a try - I LOVE rice pudding!

                                                          1. re: sivyaleah

                                                            sivy, you're right I got sidetracked and then noticed albinoni's entry.
                                                            we've had gigantic salads with fresh greens that we enjoyed very much..rice pudding is a must...steaks & pork chops were fork tender homestyle with mashed and spinach, lovely. shrimp cocktail generous size..Snuffy's is good home cooking and the brunch buffet is worth twice the price. Why it has this stoggy rep is just an undeserved shame. Just more rice pudding for me :)

                                                        2. re: HillJ

                                                          This brings back good memories ..I went to Snuffy's as a Kid on special occasions ..Now I live south of union co ..in ocean co ..Have not been back in 45 years .. Is it worth the trip thanks

                                                    2. Moved to Scotch Plains in 1969 and Snuffys & Snuffy Jr's was in full swing. I remember all the "talk" when they wanted to build it up, way up, because Scotch Plains has an ordinance on building heights, somehow sombody knew somebody so there it was... HUGE!
                                                      Recently moved back to Scotch Plains, buying the house I grew up in and was part of the Scotch Plains Fanwood 1980 class reunion committee...guess where we had our 25th! Partly because of the memories and partly because of the price. I remember the "swinging Monkey" behind the bar & it's still there! For the reunion venue, it was very nice, food average, but what you'd expect for a reunion buffet. We went to the brunch the next morning as well. Pretty good. Ironically, I will be there after a funeral Saturday for lunch....I'll report back!

                                                      1. i drive by Snuffy's a lot.. and well.. the only thing I can say is WOW... the place looks like a glorified diner... No one I know has ever eaten there.. but the parking lot is always full.. maybe its a well kept secret...but I doubt it... I dont like factory food...and the only good diner is Union Plaza..( great chicken Parm)

                                                        1. Went to a wedding there over the summer, First time ever being there and I can honestly say that every part of the food that I ate.....ever dish, ever appetizer, was absolutely horrible and tasted like it had been under a heatlamp since the day before. Just awful barely edible.

                                                          Honest to god I'm pretty easy to please and it's hard to get me to say food was absolutely awful, i'm not a tough critic!

                                                          1. So I take the Woodbridge Ave East exit off of 287 today when what do I see? "Pantagis Diner" The building has been under many names the past few years and I'm wondering if this place is related to Pantagis Renaissance, anyone know?

                                                            http://www.pantagisdiner.com/

                                                            Website says all baking is done on premesis. I think I'm going there in the morning to try it for breakfast.