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Larison's Turkey Farm is now....

My boyfriend lives in Chester, NJ and I was able to make out the sign today. I believe they are getting ready to open soon under the name "The Black Pudding Inn" and "Toppers Pub". I read on Rosie's column in NJ Monthly or heard from Rosie on The Restaurant Guys' podcast (can't remember which) that the Inn will be more expensive but you can get less expensive alternatives at the pub (much in the style of Black Horse Inn/ Tavern and Gramercy Tavern/ Tavern Room, and Ryland Inn/ Bar menu). We'll definitely try it once it opens, since it's literally around the corner, so I'll keep you posted! I'm very excited/intersted!

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  1. I haven't thought about or been to the turkey farm in years. Sad to see it doesn't exist anymore. As a kid we would go there pretty often with the grandparents. Wait in a long line, look at the turkeys on death row out in the back, then enjoy a great turkey dinner. I'd say that was about 36 years ago! I guess place changed. If it were the same as it was back then, it would still be around.

    1 Reply
    1. re: michele cindy

      It's been bought several times now and always failed. I'm glad they are changing it to something completely different. There seems to be a curse in the name.

    2. I just passed by there yesterday. I believe the restaurant is actually going to be called "The Pudding Stone Inn".

      1 Reply
      1. re: flourgirl

        Thanks.. It was hard to read that plastic banner...

        1. Thanks for the update. It will be interesting to see how it does. There is a real dearth of better dining in Chester. This will only help, if it's good.
          I was in the "new" Publick House a few weeks ago. I liked the look, but I was curious what others think about the food. I'm not going to show my hand right away . . .

          1 Reply
          1. re: bropaul

            We went to Publick House about a month ago for lunch and everything was over-salted. We're willing to give it another try, but when the crowds die down.

          2. I also have fond memories of Larisons...My dad actually stayed in one of the two rooms upstairs while he was hunting. Yes that is how far my memory stretches.

            Many many wonderful memories there. I still kinda wish it would remain a turkey farm whereby you just got a turkey dinner

            I no of no such other place that offered this...

            Is there anything comparable?

            1 Reply
            1. re: jeanc

              Hinck Turkey Farm. I haven't been there since I accompanied my now-grown-up daughter's nursery school class on a tour there. No food on that tour. However, they do serve turkey dinners.

              http://www.hincksfarm.com/

            2. The Pudding Stone Inn and Toppings Tavern will open for dinner on Wednesday April 25. There was a party this past saturday for town officials and local merchants. Tasty hor'dourves were passed around and draft beers and house wine was poured for the attendees. The food was great, the drinks were great, and the atmosphere of the restaurant is a blessed transformation from what it used to be. I think it will do very well and can't wait to taste some of the menu items.

              11 Replies
              1. re: TasteBud21

                TasteBud21, thanks for the update. A couple of weeks ago I was wondering if the new restaurant had opened yet. I was going to post a message but never got round to it.

                I think we'll give the place a month or so to get settled and then go.

                  1. re: bropaul

                    Has anyone been to Dinner at the PuddingStone Inn yet??? Dying to hear the reviews?????

                    1. re: jsayre

                      We had lunch in the pub on Saturday. We asked to sit in the pub area because we were wearing jeans and tshirts. We were seated in the far table and then promptly ignored. I had to get up and get the bartender to get us drinks and take our orders. After that, however, we were paid attention to. I ordered the Mango Curried Turkey Salad and BF ordered a turkey sandwich with stuffing on it, one of those Thanksgiving Day sandwiches. The food was pretty expensive ($12), but that's what we were expecting. My salad was well prepared and thoughtfully arranged. I wasn't too hungry, so I mostly ate the meat. I enjoyed it. BF says his sandwich was ok, that he thinks it needed gravy. He thinks it was more not to his taste than bad. He's a picky eater. He also wanted more fries on his plate. We'll probably go back there for dinner at the pub and then try the inn when we're feeling like trying something a bit more upscale. We're saving for a wedding and a house, so our spending is a little limited right now.

                      1. re: njeggy1

                        Thanks soo much for your reply! I am looking for good places to take groups of seniors for "Dinner On The Town" in the Hackettstown, Long Valley, Chester, Washington Areas. They like non-chain, nicer places. If you or anyone else has any suggestions - I would appreciate it.

                        1. re: jsayre

                          LaStrada in Randolph is very good. www.lastradarestaurant.com
                          We also really like Bell's Mansion in Stanhope. http://www.ardore.com/listing.asp?r=b...
                          Tewksbury Inn in Oldwick -

                        2. re: njeggy1

                          Have you tried the Prickly Pear in Hackettstown? That may be a good place for your "Dinner on the Town" group.

                          1. re: jo6353

                            Sorry I have been away for a bit -

                            Yes, we did try the Prickly Pear - very good and Cara Mia which was excellent! Both places catered to us like kings and queens...Cara Mia even more so... Very impressive. I have heard of Bell's Mansion but never been...I will check out that site... Thanks for all the suggestions - keep them coming if you think of any others.

                            Thanks again!

                            1. re: jsayre

                              I recommend both the Lamplighter & Redwoods in Chester, as well as the Long Valley Pub & Brew. Second on LaStrada - elegent dining (waiters in tux, pianist on Saturday nights) for little more than a dinner at Alexis diner.

                                1. re: njeggy1

                                  you might want to try the mendham pub. i have always enjoyed the food there.

                1. We ate there on Saturday night and will probably never be back. The food was OK, but not great, and very pricey - my fish & chips cost $16 and my wife's trout "catch of the day" was $25. The service was indifferent (we asked for water & got 1 glass between us, we shared a salad and got no individual plates, there was no offer of fresh pepper) and when my wife had half of her meal packed to take home, they only gave her the fish, not the vegetables or potatoes that were on the plate (discovered the next day). Practically unheard of in this day and age, there is not a single vegetarian entree on the menu (unless you count a green salad). Also, the place is very noisy - all hard surfaces.

                  1. We just had lunch there again, and I have to agree with you. BF ordered a burger and I ordered a vegetarian platter. It was 2:30pm and we were the only people in the restaurant. It took a really long time for our food to come out, especially for there not being any other customers. The burger was burnt on the outside. My vegetarian platter was just a salad with a cup of hummus, a cup of pesto, and a cup of pica de gallo, and four small slices of "artisan" bread. My bread was stale! It looked like it was toasted, maybe it was just not toasted enough or something. Anyway, $12 for that?? The staff is friendly, but the food is definitely not worth the price. If you're paying top of the line prices, you should really be spot on with everything.

                    1. I was at the Puddingstone on Tuesday July 17, 2007 at 6:00pm. After reading the reviews here I was ready to cancel the dinner engagement with my Mother and go someplace else, but I have been going to Larison’s for over 20 years, even after they sold it, so I was ready to give the new owners the benefit of the doubt.

                      I arrived in the parking lot and drove around the place. I noticed that the grounds have not been kept up: the grass needs cutting, there are weeds, and it generally doesn’t look as nice as it use to be. Ok… so they painted the building…. well half of it. I got out of my car and saw 2 people sitting outside who turned out to be the hostess and my waiter. I got an overwhelming feeling that they were dying for customers and quickly jumped on the chance to greet me; it was a bit awkward. We walked in and the place pretty much looked the same to my Mother and me. Yea, they might’ve hung different things on the walls but it just seemed like we were at Larison’s again- no difference to us. Our waiter (Ryan) promptly came out to greet us and continued to provide great service throughout our meal – kudos to Ryan.

                      I knew ahead of the time that this place was going to be a bit more expensive, but I didn’t realize just how overpriced the place is.. … I mean, blatantly overpriced as though the owners said “Hey this is Chester, we can charge a lot more because everyone has a lot of money”. For the prices these folks are asking I would’ve thought the menu would be 5 lbs. and made of leather, not 2 sheets of paper and put in a clear plastic folder!

                      We attempted to pick an appetizer but nothing appealed to us, so we both decided to get the Flat Iron Steak entrée, which is of course Ala Cart (everything is) … just another way to get more money from us. I ordered the Manhattan Clam chowder which came promptly and was nice and hot… not much to write home about but it was decent. The meal came out and it was on a nice big plate with each of the foods separated and not touching each other. I was expecting a bit more style in the presentation and more thickness to the steak. The taste was alright, not spectacular but decent. The steak was small and pancake thin and the veggies, mash potatoes and egg were basic but tasted OK.

                      The cost of this meal for two people was over $ 50.00 and that’s with ordering one of the least expensive entrée items.

                      To sum up our experience and thoughts. Between 6 and 7:30 there were only 2 other couples eating in that huge restaurant – the place was a ghost town. To survive in the restaurant business you must rely on repeat business. That building is a landmark and people used to come there to eat from ALL over the tri-state area NOT just the Chester/Mendham area. They are pricing themselves right out of business and I doubt that they will survive 2 years. I will NOT go back there unless they publicly announce a reduction in their overpriced menu! I don’t see the value in the prices – the entrées all seem to be a lot more than they should be. Sorry, I don’t drive a Jaguar or Mercedes and I suspect soon that they will be the only types of cars you will see parked there, if anyone continues to go there at all. They need to lower the prices and pack the place! BTW – who advertises a website on a huge sign outside when it’s not even up and running – that should give you a good understanding of how well they are thinking things through.

                      The website is supposed to be puddingstoneinn.com.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: BiggieB

                        It was a supreme disappoinment . The restaurant was pricey, but the food did not compare many other pubs at lower prices. The soup was not warm and tasted like it came our of a can. The music was loud and annoying. Three meals at our table, all poor, and to think we made a special trip to dine there. Of well lets wait for the next owner and hope for the best. 2 adults and 1 childs menu no desserts $70.00 for lunch. It would be Okay if the food was memorable , not woth a second trip for our family.

                        1. re: DanBH

                          In a message above, it's mentioned that the current owner also owns Sally Lunn's Tea Shoppe in Chester. That place always received favorable comments so it seems as if the owner is in over her head with a larger, full service restaurant.

                      2. Today's Daily Record has an article (not review) about this restaurant. It sounds appealing, but unless (real) people start posting positive reviews I can't see myself dining there anytime soon. Although I really enjoyed Sally Lunn's desserts when I was younger...

                        http://www.dailyrecord.com/apps/pbcs....

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: viperlush

                          Viperlush, couldn't agree more! These bogus, positive reviews are an insult. If the owner of the restaurant has anything to do with them, she should be ashamed of herself.

                          I know several people who have gone here (and don't post on chowhound) and none of them are going back.

                          Too bad as Chester really needs a good restaurant.

                          1. re: viperlush

                            Went to Sally Lunn's yesterday and was not impressed. I was there to pick up items for my sister's tea party shower. I was told that I could get decorated sugar cubes there on Tuesday. To my disappointment, there was only one package of 8. I had a peach scone to go which was very good. I was offered cream and jam with it, which I accepted, but I didn't get a knife to spread my jam, so it was useless. I had a cup of tea to go wasn't offered any lemon, sugar, or cream. I asked for lemon and honey and asked her to put a teaspoon of honey and a little bit of lemon in there. She put three lemon wedges in my tea and kept them in there. I had to fish them out with my fingers. I was so disappointed. Then I tried to drink my tea about 10 minutes later and my mouth got badly burned. I let it cool off for about 30 minutes (we were in the car and i couldn't take the lid off) and the lemon taste was so overpowering. I was really really upset. I hate giving negative reviews for places :(. I think it was more that the staff was too inexperienced than the quality of the product though. I wonder if they use local fruits in their scones though? That would be nice. The scone WAS very good.

                          2. anybody know the address & phone?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: chesterg

                              Don't know phone, but it is at the corner of 24 and 206.

                            2. Reading the reviews here almost kept me from trying out this place...and besides, I was afraid that it was somehow connected to the former Larison's which was, to be charitable, pretty pedestrian at best (for a place that had "turkey farm" in its name they sure didn't know how to cook turkey...it was cheap, but not very good).
                              My impression of Puddinstone? Well it's not a fine dining kind of place, but I doubt that it's trying to be. The service on the day of my dinner visit (a Friday night in early August) was attentive and helpful (maybe they've been reading the reviews). The steak I had was quite good, maybe not on par with The Palm in NYC, but a far sight better than you'd find at a place like Arthur's and a lot of other places that call themselves a "steakhouse".
                              This was a decent cut with a minimal amount I had to trim off, and it was done quite nicely...and the mashed rutabaga was a nice and welcome change from the usual bad mashed spuds or dried out baked spud you get in most restaurants.
                              The kitchen may be taking some time to find its flow, but by the same token, if I want fast food I'll go to a place that cranks out prefab stuff like Friday's (and suffer the consequences).
                              The Puddingstone may take some time to hit stride, but I think it has a lot of potential if they can ride out the shakedown period and take notice of potential problem areas. Yes, I waited for my meal, but I really can't say that it was an inappropriately long wait. The bar, by the way, has a really nice draft beer selection that has some thought behind it, and that provided a nice enhancement to what I thought was a pretty good meal. To be honest, I take reveiws on sites like this with a grain of salt and in this case, the reviews almost seemed like a review of a different eatery than the one I went to. There's room for improvement at this place, but I am very suspect of the extreme negativity expressed in the reviews here so I thought I'd weigh in. I say give it a spin and decide for yourself. I had a great time. Definitely worth the drive from Metuchen.

                              1. We went by this place on Sunday around lunch time. There was a big sign in front advertising their Sunday brunch. We drove into the parking lot where we counted exactly 8 cars. Not exactly a resounding endorsement so we pressed on to another restaurant.

                                I really want this place to succeed but the signs are not good. Very disappointing.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: mountebank

                                  I know how you feel, if there isn't any activity it's hard to go in, but, if you really want the place to succeed why didn't you go in? Without customers, they are not going to make it. If you went in and enjoyed it, then you can spread the word.

                                  1. re: michele cindy

                                    You're right, but the circumstances were these..

                                    We had guests from out of town and we were looking for a good lunch or brunch spot. I was all for going in but was outvoted 3-1. I must say it was very discouraging to see so few cars in the parking lot at that time of day.

                                2. Has anyone been to the Sunday brunch at Puddingstone?

                                    1. re: RPMcMurphy

                                      Hey, RPMc, I posted the same info. several days ago and got exactly zero responses. Perhaps there are no hounds in or around Chester!

                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/570318

                                      I'm hoping this is good news because I never know where to eat when I'm in Chester. There's a decent little Italian spot but I'm really up to here with Italian food. Mendham has a couple of places too but that's about it.

                                      1. re: ambrose

                                        Has to be good news. Puddingstone was a disapointment. I live in between Chester and Mendham and will check it out once it is open. Good dinning is a challenge in Chester. I usually end up in Bernardsville or Morristown. Peapack Gladstone also have a couple of very good establishments

                                    2. It's now a "Steakhouse" - but the menu is much more diverse. We dined there recently and loved it. Cozy front room with fireplace, attentive service, fancy martinis made to order, entrees from $13-$40 (we loved our luscious lamb and splendid seafood for around $20 each), and for dessert we enjoyed a huge platter of local artisan cheeses (actually, we enjoyed it for a couple of days - too big to enjoy in one night.)