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The Fireplace in Paramus

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Would love to hear CH's take on this place. It's been around forever--I used to go there as a kid--but is is any good? What, if anything, would you recommend?

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  1. in all the years we drove past that place during my childhood, never once did we actually eat there! i can't wait to see what CHers have to say about it. i did manage to dig up a couple of old threads that claim they have great fried chicken, burgers & steak sandwiches...
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/186156
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/187407

    1 Reply
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      Thanks...I figured there must have been prior threads about this place, but was hoping for some more specific info. I too drive past this place almost daily, and I'm sure my not-too discriminating kids would love it but was wondering if it was something special It's apparently been around for 53 yrs, so they must be doing something right!

    2. A resounding "fair". If you occasionally want a quick char-broiled burger. Hot dogs awful, fries pretty gruesome. Rest of the menu, forgettable.

      Basically, a place you don't want to go to more than a couple of times in a year.

      For a place of similar ilk with much better quality food, take a ride to Rte 46 west in Clifton to the Hearth.

      2 Replies
      1. re: menton1

        it's sort of like cafeteria food. good for little leaguers, but not for discerning adults.

        i should note that they no longer serve fried chicken. you'll have to go to popeye's up the road for that fix.

        1. re: tommy

          Although a NJ travelers landmark.....the Char broiled burgers aren't too bad...but .the rest of the menu is forgetable at best.

      2. Oh well...thanks for the feedback!

        1. burgers had a nice charbroiled taste, but were very rubbery !!

          3 Replies
          1. re: ellen4441

            the burgers are dreadful. as i suggested, they are cafeteria style. there's nothing exceptional about them, and if anyone thinks there is, i'd like to hear some other recommendations by those people so everyone has some perspective.

            great for 12 year olds. not good for discerning adults. or discerning children for that matter.

            1. re: tommy

              How dare thou smite the honor of The Fireplace! The BurgerLord takes umbridge at your uneducated opinion. Here's the breakdown of Northern NJ Burgers:
              White Manna- Fried on a flat grill-- instant penalty. Plus they're served on a potato bun- yuck!
              Bobby Flay-- decent but price prohibitive. Plus they don't let you put together your own burger.
              Five Guys- Not up to the hype. Again instant penalty because they're fried on a flat grill. They taste like they've been frozen at some point. Dried out.
              Iron Horse Grill-- They don't toast the bun! This is a no brainer that they lose a lot of points for. Also, they cheese in the middle is more a gimmick than anything. Meat is decent though.
              The Hearth-- Are you kidding me? They don't toast the bun either. Also meat tastes like it was frozen.
              Johnny and Hanges-- Burgers are dog food. Hot dogs are decent.
              Falls View Grill-- Basically a step up from Johnny and and Hanges...but not a big step.
              Fireplace- Close to Nirvana. You need to ask for the burger medium rare. They toast the bun. Meat is not frozen and doesn't taste dried out. Grilled on the spot for you. Add a few half sour pickles with some onion rings and vanilla shake. You can get a bigger burger at a bar but that's not the FP experience. FP is good food quick where as at a bar you have to wait 15 minutes for a burger.
              Green Martini, when was the last time you ate there?
              So sayeth The BurgerLord, let it be decreed!

              -----
              Iron Horse
              20 Washington Ave, Westwood, NJ 07675

              1. re: burgerlord

                God I miss New Jersey.

          2. The onion rings are the only redeeming aspect of the Fireplace and even they're just OK. Most people that go there are probably just numb from the entire shopping experience that is Paramus so food is secondary to their quest for a better lawn mower at Home Depot

            1 Reply
            1. re: NJ food dude

              Or that the nearest restaurant is Applebee's!!

            2. The Fireplace is an institution in the area - the food was better in the past (10+ years ago), but I still like their Texas Wieners and the sliced steak sandwich. Fries, rings and the best of all, the free pickles!

              38 Replies
              1. re: bfowlernj

                You guys are off your rockers!!! Cafeteria food? Please, The Fireplace rocks! Where else can you get a cheeseburger medium rare cooked to order then go to the condiment bar and pile a sliced onion and as many pickles as you want on top. My fav is their buffalo chipolte burger (spicy) with cajun fries and onion rings (spicier) washed down with a birch beer. I actually have to debate with myself the merits of whether I should have a cheeseburger, hot roast beef (which is incredibly thin and rare) or treat myself to a steak sandwich which rivals any NYC steakhouse. I've never had a philly but those things are HUGE and kick off so much steam that I want to put my face over them and clear my sinuses. I love how they keep the classics-- burger, fries, shakes-- but then add new items like the guacamole chicken I had the other day. You guys are WAY OFF but that's OK, you must know something that every else who has been going there 54+ years doesn't know. Less people on weekends so I can find a seat a little easier.

                1. re: brewpubber

                  100 million people go to McDonald's for years also, but that doesn't mean it's good food.

                  Fireplace is a mediocre burger, enhanced by the open flame grilling so it tastes a little better. The self serve condiments are OK , until you see someone drop their sleeve into the relish.

                  The fries are brutal, industrial-grade frozen. Other menu items: forgettable.

                  C'mon, man, you can't think Fireplace food is that great. It's pretty mediocre at best. Good for a quick burger and out.

                  1. re: menton1

                    Then what is the best burger in NY / NJ in your opinion in this category? And don't give a pub type burger-- that is in a total different category and not comparable in this instance. While you're at it, best fries please.

                    1. re: brewpubber

                      http://beefaficionado.blogspot.com/20...

                      1. re: Tapas52

                        See you guys really don't know burgers. You can't compare a $15.00 burger (yes, $15.00) from Keens with a $3.00 burger. They're two different categories. Why not just compare a $175 Kobe burger from Wall Street Burger Shoppe served with truffles and Gruyere cheese with a $3 Fireplace burger. The $175 burger is better? Of course it is.
                        Keens burger should go up against the likes of Porter House or other Pub burgers. Burgers from burger joints go up against similar style burgers-- the Shake Shacks, Good Burgers, Corner Bistros, Fireplaces, Anthony Waynes of the world.

                        -----
                        The Porter House
                        125 N Kinderkamack Rd, Montvale, NJ 07645

                        1. re: brewpubber

                          I dont feel $15.00 for a quality burger is outrageous at all, being a premium XT Burger King burger is upwards of $7.99...you get what you pay for. But, as a kid, in the 70's Elizabeth NJ.. White Diamond on Bayway Ave was always my favorite. Today for a cheapie The MIRACLE Bar in Toms River has one of the Best Burgers around..

                          http://miraclesportspub.com/

                          -----
                          White Diamond
                          1208 E Grand St, Elizabeth, NJ 07201

                  2. re: brewpubber

                    so the steak on the sandwich rivals Peter Luger? that's unlikely.

                    1. re: tommy

                      I can see you are quite literally-- a literalist. Is The Fireplace steak sandwich better than Peter Luger? Probably not. Is their steak sandwich better than other high quality steak restaurant's-- a la Keans, Porcelli and Malloney, P.J. Clarke's-- steak sandwich for 1/2 the price? Yes. Is is better than other NJ steak sandwiches-- That I've had.

                      1. re: brewpubber

                        i can't wait to sink my teeth into this steak sandwich to see if it rivals the dry-aged prime steak sandwich at Wolfgang's. that'll be tomorrow.

                        how would you suggest i order it, to maximize the rockingness of it?

                        1. re: tommy

                          What else, medium rare. If you want a meat-tastic meal get a hot roast beef too. That starts getting pricey but with drink you'll still get out of there around $15.00 for lunch and be engorged.

                          1. re: brewpubber

                            so the steak sandwich, m/r. anything on it?

                            1. re: tommy

                              I don't get anything on it, my friend usually gets fried onions which they give for free, but that's not my thing.
                              I get a side of cajun fries and chocolate shake or birch beer.

                              1. re: brewpubber

                                The steak sandwich at Fireplace is pretty awful, IMHO. They load some tenderizer on it so they can use the cheapest cut of meat and it tastes soft. It's not even open flame-broiled. The roast beef is some composite that rivals Arby's ilk of RB. Fries suck. It's just not a really good place to eat.

                                For this type of joint, Hearth in Clifton is miles above Fireplace in every category. Better burger, edible hot dog, flame broiled steak without tenderizer, and better condiments. Better sanitation as well.

                                Have you been to the Hearth, BP?

                                1. re: menton1

                                  Oh my God, I can't disagree with you more, Menton! To me the Hearth is a blatant ripoff of the Fireplace in every way including the food and the name. I eat there occasionally and after the Fireplace started serving buffalo burgers, a few weeks later the Hearth starts serving them.

                                  The only way I think you can say the Hearth has better sanitation is because the place is tiled from the floor to ceiling and you feel like you're in a giant bathroom with all the geriatrics that hang out there.

                                  You can say you don't like the Fireplace, but don't say the Hearth is better. Their burgers taste dried out, they barely sell any steak so if you order one it's cold, dried out and sliced in large inedible chunks.
                                  Personally I like the Fireplace's roast beef--rare and thin-- and I've seen them turning the steaks on the open grill. You might be right about the hot dog, though. Haven't had one in a while.

                                  1. re: menton1

                                    In the way of follow-up, for the record, I didn't bother spending a meal at the Fireplace today as planned, based on menton1's comments, a contributor whose input I've been following for about 8 years. I think I know the answer given my past experiences and menton1's input.

                                    1. re: tommy

                                      Well... they do have pretty good onion rings..thin and crisp.

                                      1. re: tommy

                                        In the way of follow-up again, I had a burger at the Fireplace, and it was inedible. It didn't taste like beef. I couldn't finish it. It was actually disgusting.

                                        1. re: tommy

                                          Follow up: The Hearth, Clifton, Rte 3 West. And for a hot dog, head over to Papaya King in the Corrado's complex.

                                          P.S. Tried the "all beef" hot dog at the Ehmer pork store in Hillsdale last week, actually pretty good, except for the uncooked bun. If they toasted or heated the bun it could be classified in the top tier of NJ hot dogs.

                                          -----
                                          Papaya King
                                          600 Getty Ave, Clifton, NJ 07011

                                          1. re: menton1

                                            The Hearth is on Route 46, not 3, yes? It too is unexceptional.

                                            1. re: tommy

                                              Definitely unexceptional. Just a lot better than Fireplace. And yes, it is on 46, I had a little lapse... But we're certainly not talkin DB Bistro here.

                                              White Manna is probably the best of the fast burger ilk around here. (Did someone diss that place above?) But there's a lot of schtick to get through about the place, and it ain't very comfortable...

                                              1. re: menton1

                                                Smashburger is much more enjoyable, and tastes better, than White Manna.

                                                1. re: tommy

                                                  I'll have to try it, haven't been yet. Less schtick and more burger? Did it make Holly Moore's list of grease stains? :)

                                                  1. re: menton1

                                                    Less schtick than what? I haven't found much schtick in the recent upscale-fast-food-burger places (Bobby's, Elevation, Five Guys, etc).

                                                    1. re: tommy

                                                      I was referring to White Manna and the whole little performance at the grill, the way you have to order, and the general buzz there as the "schtick"

                                                      1. re: menton1

                                                        Well it's certainly more comfortable at Smashburger.

                                  2. re: tommy

                                    To follow up, I had a cheesesteak at this landmark, and I cannot see how one would order it to a specific temperature. It's thinly sliced (very likely comes in to the restaurant pre-sliced), not much unlike you'd find at sub shops or Tony Luke's. I was decent for what it was, but comparisons to Wolfgang's are absurd.

                                    On the bright side, it was edible, unlike the burgers.

                                    -----
                                    Tony Luke's
                                    625 Highway 33, Trenton, NJ 08619

                                    1. re: tommy

                                      Wow, can't believe you went into the Fireplace.

                                      FWIW, I had a terrific sliced steak sandwich at a Ridgewood deli, Wilkes Deli on Glen Ave. (different mgmt than the one on Pleasant with the same name). It was nicely marinated, thinly sliced. and damn good for a deli. Nice surprise.

                                      1. re: menton1

                                        I really couldn't believe how bad it was the first time. I figured I had to be missing something. I really wasn't. The place is fine if you don't care much for good food.

                                        1. re: menton1

                                          I'll have to try that ... Wilkes is just up the street from me, and as a mom I'm well aware how much local kids love its sandwiches (blue-collar workers, too, judging by the constant presence of commercial trucks and vans there). My son swears their tuna salad is the best ever, and for awhile, Wilkes' buffalo chicken sandwich was all the rage with my kids and their friends. Maybe menton's post will start a run on Wilkes' steak sandwich ...

                                          Also, we tried the Fireplace when we first moved to Ridgewood -- it LOOKS like a classic roadfood joint -- and our experience was similar to Tommy's.

                                          1. re: melissa511

                                            Bear in mind that the Wilkes' I refer to is on Glen Ave. The one on Pleasant was sold and the food is totally different...

                                            The steak was definitely marinated for many hours, very unusual for a deli. I was very pleasantly surprised, I'll be back there again, even though it means making a crazy U turn on Glen-- (no parking on one side of the street).

                                            1. re: menton1

                                              Marinated in what? I think I like mine with s&p

                                              1. re: tommy

                                                It's hard to tell, it's got a latent agreeable slightly fermented taste on the back of the tongue, but I realize that's not a good description. Probably some put-together vinegar-based marinade, but you need to try it. Maybe you can get a better handle on the marinade...

                                                1. re: menton1

                                                  Soy sauce and Worcestershire.

                                                  1. re: tommy

                                                    Lol. Perhaps. Seemed slightly more complex than that. But it's still a nice sandwich...

                                        2. re: tommy

                                          This is an amateur remark. Where can you order a cheesesteak to temperature? Nowhere. I'd like to see the looks at Pat's or Genos if someone ordered a philly medium rare. You order a sliced steak to temperature which is different from a cheesesteak.

                                          1. re: brewpubber

                                            tommy: how would you suggest i order it, to maximize the rockingness of it?
                                            brewpubber: What else, medium rare.

                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6930...

                                            The Fireplace sucks.

                                            1. re: tommy

                                              I understand you don't like the restaurant which really doesn't make a difference to me. But if you claim to be a food expert you should know the difference between a Philly cheesesteak and a sliced steak for your future posts.

                                              1. re: brewpubber

                                                I will take this under advisement. LOL!!!!!!!!

                          2. I grow up in Paramus and this place was an icon in it's day. We used to go there after football games. The place was packed.

                            1. As a born and bred Bergen County girl, I have to say that The Fireplace is indeed what it is. It used to be swell. Everybody went there. All the time. After shopping at Altmans and Lord and Taylor (the original fashion center with FAO Schwartz and Brooks Bros), it was the place to go for lunch.

                              The pickles (free) are great. If only they would be allowed to light all those fireplaces! Still, not a horrible burger, and a decent shake.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Picnicchef

                                I agree....in the 60s, yup the 1960s, the FIREPLACE was ahead of its time and competition.....There was no competition then. Now with the over assortment of choices, maybe with some burger eaters, it does not measure up. For over 50 years, there is a lot of tradition there, and a rite of passage for many local kids. As soon as you passed your your driver's test, go to the Fireplace.

                              2. Anyone have a report on Cubby's in Hackensack? I hear it's the same idea as the Fireplace but a much higher quality of food. Is that true?

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: menton1

                                  Cubby's BBQ? BBQ infinitely better than all of the Fireplace's food, but not very good at all.

                                  1. re: tommy

                                    Wow, that seemed like an "oxymoron" answer... But I suppose it really means "Stay Away". And besides, "BBQ" is a loose term they have no smoker.