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Coming to Matawan/Aberdeen

The chain Loving Hut Vegan Cuisine is coming soon a couple of doors down from Shanghai Bun. (I hope they're open on Tuesdays, because SB isn't!) Bliss Mediterranean Cuisine is coming soon at the other end of the strip mall that has D.A. Subs and the Doctors Office. 25 Burgers is opening (has opened?) a branch in the L-shaped strip mall across from Peter's Fishery (at the opposite end from Starbucks). And a branch of 18 Burgers is now in with Philly Cheesesteak at Routes 79 and 516.

So I guess soon you will be able to eat the entire spectrum from healthy to heart attack without even moving your car. :-)

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Peter's Fishery
921 State Route 34, Matawan, NJ

Shanghai Bun Restaurant
952 State Route 34 Ste 6, Matawan, NJ 07747

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  1. That's quite an assortment! Found this for 18 Burgers.. apparently it's owned by the Philly Cheesesteak/Paco's Taco's folks:

    http://18burgers.com/

    It does indeed say on 25 Burgers website that a location in Matawan is coming soon (also Brick!

    )

    http://www.25gourmetburgers.com/direc...

    The announcement of the vegan place would have excited me much more about 18 months ago, when I was actually vegan. :)

    15 Replies
    1. re: MarlboroMan

      The nice thing about a vegan place is that even "meatarians" can eat there once in a while, while vegans are not likely to drop in to a BBQ place....

      Speaking of which, does anyone know what happened to Matawan BBQ, which definitely seems defunct?

      1. re: eleeper

        Matawan BBQ is permanently closed, they weren't bringing in enough money to stay operating unfortunately.

        1. re: cleverwon

          The location of Matawan BBQ just may be the place where "Big Harlie's Barbecue" is supposed to go.. no idea on opening date, though.

      2. re: MarlboroMan

        We tried "25 Burgers" today. I thought, for a fast food type place (comparable to Five Guys.. in fact, the interior is a LOT like Five Guys - but not nearly as sterile looking.. I guess I mean more like color scheme and red checkerboard patterns), it was an exceptional burger.

        You walk in, order and pay for your food, and they give you a buzzer. When it goes off, you go up to get your food. I was able to order my burger medium-rare, and that was how I got it. The meat was well-seasoned and delicious. I had the Maui burger (with pineapple), and my wife had the Trenton burger, with pork roll. My wife loved the burger as well (which is saying a lot). We also had a hot dog each.. I had the Texas weiner.. with chili, mustard, and raw onions. Loved it. They serve a Thurmann's pork/beef dog, but an all beef is available upon request. My wife got a dog as well, and was pleased with it. Our daughter had chicken nuggets. Wife and I also split an order of cheese fries, which were excellent. The fries seemed fresh, not frozen. All of this, plus 2 sodas came to $33 and change.

        They bake their own buns in the kitchen as well. We'll definitely be back. I have 24 more burgers to work through. :)

        1. re: MarlboroMan

          I tried the slaw hot dog a few days ago and really enjoyed it. Very clean establishment. I thought the prices were very good. MM what you ordererd for $33.00 sounds like a delicious deal to me. I hope 25 Burgers does well.....I did wonder why it's not 25 Burgers and Hotdogs though...they offer a great many ways to enjoy a hotdog.

          1. re: HillJ

            I returned this afternoon so my husband could give 25 Burgers a try. He ordered #2 Bullseye BBQ Burger with fries and a soda, while I enjoyed the #22 Gryro Burger. Both were prepared really well and I didn't realize how large these burgers are, wow. Good deal for under $20.00.

            1. re: HillJ

              How large are they? Could two people split one?

              1. re: eleeper

                Depending on which burgers you ordered. I know some of the combos were topped with enough interesting combos that I could easily split one. Take a look at their menu.

                http://www.25gourmetburgers.com/beefb...

                1. re: HillJ

                  The beef burgers are 7 ounces each. Rather large for the price.

                  I can't rave about this place enough. I've been there 4 times now. Each time rivaled the last.

                  Went last Friday night, had the Bullseye Burger. Wow, just wow. Raved about it to my in-law's, so we went on Sunday night to the one in Bound Brook. Peanut butter shake was out of this world. I got the Bullseye burger again. Oh, the one in Bound Brook has a number of different items on the menu than the one in Mataway... BB location also has breakfast. Great onion rings, too.

                  In-laws loved it as well. Mom had a basic cheeseburger, Dad had a blue crab burger.

                  Today, we stopped at Wendy's. My wife thinks their new burgers are as good as 25 Burgers. Sorry, not even in the same league, but it was okay. All major chain fast food burgers pretty much taste the same to me. 25 Burgers is in a league of their own, though.

                  1. re: MarlboroMan

                    We've taken two couples from the Union county area to 25B with us now and a bunch of our nieces and we all leave satisfied. So far we've enjoyed the gyro, cheese, turkey, veggie, taylor ham and crab burgers. We've ordered strawberry shakes, onion rings and sweet potato fries. Have always enjoyed our meals as well and the last time the place was packed with the 5 o'clock crowd and the timing on orders was still super. Yeah, MM this is a real welcome change from the various burger joints that have opened in the last 5 years or so.

                    eta: I also really appreciate that 25B offers a soft onion roll has a "bun option."

                    1. re: HillJ

                      Tried 25 burgers today. I got the #5 Trenton burger. Wife got the fried cod special and the kids got the chicken fingers. All items were great; i especially enjoy the buns they used. The price and portion are certainly reasonable. Will definitely return.

                      1. re: yCf

                        Did they change the special burger of the month yet. It's been portobello mushroom burger since they opened. Just curious.

                        1. re: HillJ

                          IIRC, it was still portobello burger.

                          1. re: yCf

                            The burger of the month at 25 Burgers is now a beef patty and fried mac and cheese patty combo. My husband ordered one, I took one bite and ordered my own. Enough caloric intake for a week but man was it worth it! Haven't had anything but a great burger at this place.

        2. re: MarlboroMan

          The 18 Burgers sign is off the Philly Cheesesteak place--I wonder if 25 Burgers got after them.

        3. Add to this that La Mexicana in downtown Matawan has a sign in the window saying "Sorry Closed Under New Management". It was getting dark and I was driving on the other side of the street, so I have no other details as to what the new management is planning.

          3 Replies
          1. re: eleeper

            Has anyone been to the Brick location on Rt 70?

            1. re: eleeper

              I should have updated this before. I saw a sign a while ago in the window that said it would be a Mexican restaurant named Pancho Villa's.

              1. re: eleeper

                Drove by last night, it was open.

            2. Loving Hut says they're opening Friday, 11/11. I checked out the menu on line--it's a bit limited, but we'll definitely try it. I'm not sure about a vegan "cheese steak" though--in my opinion, vegan food does best when not trying to pretend to be non-vegan.

              1. Loving Hut, 952 Route 34 Matawan, 07747

                There is an irony that you come into Loving Hut and you immediately see on the walls pitches for vegan and vegetarian life styles. "Help save the world." That sort of thing. On one wall there are pictures of famous vegans. You order from a menu of all vegan items and when it is served you realize that somebody has experimented and labored very hard to give the impression that the vegetable protein you are eating will seem just like some poor dead animal.

                They actually serve a fairly tasty assortment of dishes--albeit a rather small selection. Most main courses are $7.95 or $8.95. I had a dish called Golden Charm. It features "flash fried soy protein seasoned with lemon grass bell peppers, and red chili flakes." My wife had stir-fried noodles. (Actually we had ordered the other way around, but to the restaurant's credit when they said the dish was spicy, they came through, mostly by virtue of the pepper flakes. We traded so I could get the spicy dish because I enjoy dishes that are agonizingly spicy.) The stir fried-noodles were a lot like I have had in Japanese restaurants and the Golden Charm was a whole lot like chunks of chicken, deep fried and seasoned with a combination of oil, salt, garlic, lemon grass, and pepper flakes not unlike what I have had on some dim sum dishes. The imitation of chicken was so good that bits got caught between my teeth just like real chicken would. The problem is the oil. There may be more than I would like. This dish comes with brown rice and some sweet pickled vegetable. It was not bad for the price, but not a bargain. On the way out they had small samples of their carrot cake. Tasty, but again it felt like it left oil coating the inside of my mouth. Vegan is not necessarily healthy.

                5 Replies
                1. re: Mark Leeper

                  I like that the web URL for the Loving Hut in Matawan is http://lovinghut.us/matawan_01/ .. with the URL format designed to accommodate a matawan_02, matawan_03, etc. as the Loving Hut franchises proliferate in Matawan.

                  1. re: drongo

                    Well, glad to see people are liking 25 Burgers, but for me it wounds my heart to see such a place spring up out of the ashes of Terra Christa's, a fine restaurant that was my family's favorite for many years. We still haven't found a place that combines their great food with awesome service.

                    [pours out a 40 on the ground for passed homies]

                  2. re: Mark Leeper

                    I had Monday off, so I decided to stop at Loving Hut in Matawan for lunch -- only to find that it's closed on Mondays (the web site still has the restaurant's hours listed as "Coming Soon").

                    I went back for lunch today. The place was busy. Most people appeared to be eating hearty sandwiches of various types, but I chose the curry rice plate. This had tofu, potato, carrot in a yellow curry sauce, served with brown rice and a side of greens (mustard greens?). The tofu looked to have been fried to crisp it up a bit, and was good -- not soggy, and with a decent flavor. The yellow curry sauce was mildy-spiced and tasty. I didn't notice oiliness (as mentioned by Mark Leeper) in my meal.

                    A good lunch, with a lot of food for $8.95.

                    1. re: drongo

                      I went back and tried it. It was less oily, but I touched a paper napkin to it and it clearly picked up oil. Part of the problem is that the menu is very limited. And just being vegetarian does not make it healthy. All dishes seem to have more carbs than I would want. They also mostly have sodium, and as I suggested oils. I might be applying a double standard. It has none of these things nearly as much as 25 Burgers does. It is just I think they make some pretense of being healthy food.

                      1. re: Mark Leeper

                        I have to agree on the oil and sodium. It may be partly that we are used to things without much oil and no added salt at home, but I found my udon noodle dish to be incredibly salty. And there are really only two items on the menu that even appeal to me. (I like vegetarian food, but IMHO it shouldn't pretend to be non-vegetarian. In particular, a vegan "Philly Cheese Steak" is just not a good idea. :-)

                  3. Just got back from Pancho Villa and I had an amazing meal. The place was empty, but it had your typical Mexican restaurant decorating. We filled up on their starter chips which were crispy and hot, topped with a pinto bean sauce and served with 2 kinds of salsa. My boyfriend ordered the Picaditas, which are tortillas topped with salsa and beef. The tortilla was some kind of thick dough and the beef had a lot of flavor. He had the chorizo soft tacos, and I had the Costillas en salsa verde (pork ribs in green sauce) which I thought was great. Our server was so friendly (he might have been the owner) and brought us out home made tortillas for my pork. I could only eat a couple bites of my pork ribs because I was so full. My boyfriend loved his chorizo. We will definitely be back.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: SammyTheSeal

                      I'll recommend the pozole (not on the menu, but often on the specials board). The owner seemed really happy to see "gringos" in the restaurant--I suspect that he would like to see business pick up a bit, and branching out to Anglos would help. (As it is, I suspect most Anglos go to Aby's--which has, IMHO, gone downhill a bit lately, with smaller portions and beans that are more sauce than beans.)

                      (Calling ourselves "Anglos" just seems wrong--neither of us have any Anglo-Saxon/English heritage whatsoever. In fact, I'm half Puerto Rican, but look totally Anglo.)

                      Anyway, another plug for Pancho Villa's.

                      1. re: eleeper

                        Is it my poor memory, or has Pancho Villa's changed its menu? I no longer see individual tacos, but more of the platters, etc., and the prices seem a notch higher.

                    2. They former location of Philly cheesesteak factory is now a farmers market/produce store.

                      Unfortunately steakzillas/ted's cheesesteaks In Woodbridge is also long gone. There was a sign on the door citing a family illness for awhile, now a bagel place is in it's spot

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: coldsolderjoint

                        And now the produce store appears defunct: It has been closed every time I've gone by in the few weeks, and now it looks like they have ripped out everything inside and are working on it for something.

                        1. re: eleeper

                          Talk about a jinxed location. It's not like it's a bad location the Bagel place across the street does a good business, I guess it's finding the right product for demand.

                          1. re: jrvedivici

                            That location is definitely jinxed. The other jinxed location is on 35 North in South Amboy that was once Martini's. I finally lost count of how many times that place has changed hands.

                            1. re: Jerzeegirl

                              Yes, I went there when it was Atlantic Grill and enjoyed it, but it was obvious there were having problems early on. I was there on a Friday night around 10pm and they were just getting a liquor delivery then, which was obviously COD since the delivery guy hung out at the bar a good 15mins waiting to get paid.

                              I understand something else has opened there but haven't heard anything about it. Looks like it's your turn to take one for the team Jerzeegirl!!!

                              1. re: jrvedivici

                                It's called Mara's now, I think in between Mara's & Atlantic Standard it was something else for about a week. I checked out Mara's menu & saw a few things I'd like to try. Hey, I took one for the team when Tilted Kilt opened last year, but Mara's is close by, so we'll go check it out eventually.

                                1. re: Jerzeegirl

                                  Just checked out Mara's menu on their website. I haven't been, anyone care to offer an opinion?

                                  http://marasrestaurantnj.com/?page_id=68

                          2. re: eleeper

                            This Farmer's Market seems to be open or closed at odd hours!
                            I talked to the fellow running the place about that and he mentions that he picks up the stuff all by himself. Unfortunately Samaha Farm on Texas Road is his major competition....

                            I had lunch a couple of times with my young grand daughters at the Philly Cheesesteak Factory, it was really good, sorry they closed. But then again - competition, there is Stewarts across the street!