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Matawan Cafe, a.k.a. Chopped Salad Shoppe, a.k.a., Philly Cheesesteaks, a.k.a. 18Burgers, a.k.a. ...

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eleeper Apr 11, 2012 09:09 AM

This seems like a restaurant that cannot find its identity. Currently there are signs hanging up outside with three different names. (I think they actually dropped the 18Burgers, possibly with some encouragement from 25Burgers down the road. In any case, their menu lists only 14 burgers.)

On another note in the same strip mall (at Routes 79 and 516), it looks like "Chelsea's Creamery" has finally opened as Chelsea's Ice Cream, after years of a sign saying it was coming soon.

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    Jerzeegirl RE: eleeper Apr 11, 2012 09:22 AM

    I saw that Matawan Cafe sign. I think that's about the 5th or 6th place in that spot in a couple of years. Is Chelsea Creamery going where Brain Freeze was?

    5 Replies
    1. re: Jerzeegirl
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      eleeper RE: Jerzeegirl Apr 11, 2012 10:03 AM

      Yes on CC's location. I'm not sure if Matawan Cafe is actually a different company/owner than the previous incarnations, or whether they just keep re-positioning themselves looking for a market.

      1. re: eleeper
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        Jerzeegirl RE: eleeper Apr 11, 2012 10:58 AM

        Just checked their menu. Reminds me of the Babu episode in Seinfeld with a little bit of everything. I tried it when it was strictly cheesesteak/Italian Hot Dogs & was not impressed.

        1. re: Jerzeegirl
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          MarlboroMan RE: Jerzeegirl Apr 12, 2012 07:29 AM

          Maybe they should try sushi.. or korean tacos! :)

          1. re: MarlboroMan
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            eleeper RE: MarlboroMan Apr 12, 2012 12:42 PM

            Already have several sushi places nearby, but any Korean would be nice.

            (I remember when we first moved to NJ in 1978, there was one Indian restaurant in Fords, and the next closest was in NYC! Thai? Forget it. Korean? Not a chance. And now we're so spoiled we complain that the closest Korean restaurant is in East Brunswick.)

        2. re: eleeper
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          eleeper RE: eleeper Oct 14, 2012 10:26 AM

          And now Chelsea's Creamery has closed, after only 6 months. For rent/lease sign in window.

      2. jrvedivici RE: eleeper Apr 12, 2012 02:57 PM

        Too funny I was at the light of 516 turning left (south) onto 79 and noticed the new sign today also. I think it is under new ownership since it seems as if the interior has changed as well. I was only in the place one time to pick up lunch when it was Philly Cheese Steak (just after Uncle Philly)...anyway I couldn't have been less impressed. The cheesestake wasn't good or exceptional at all. Never been back. I don't think that is a great location for an eatery of any kind...too much deli/burger competition in the immediate area in my opinion. I won't bother trying the new place.

        1. jrvedivici RE: eleeper Apr 18, 2012 06:32 AM

          Ok so for those of you Chowhounders that keep score I guess you can count this one against me since I said I wouldn’t give the place another try……and…. Well…. I did go there yesterday. Sadly I have little good to say about the experience…..although the food was one of the good things. I was in the mood for a salad and Salad Works has annoyed me with their increased prices and smaller portions so I caved and gave this place a try.

          There were 3 employees (one grill man and two counter people) and there were a total of 5 customers including myself, three at a table and one person in front of me for take out. With that said it took a long period of time to even place my order I would say 10mins or so. They were having issues with their credit card machine which left the person before me for take out unable to pay for his food which he abandoned and just left lunch-less.

          I “created” a salad and all ingredients were fresh/good. The portion size was fair about the same size as Salad Works……only complaint about the food was I specifically asked to have the dressing mixed in but it was separated on the side in a container. No biggie. However as I was sitting at an un-cleaned table and looking around…..for a location that has only been there 3/4(?) years it is just a not well taken care of place. The floors are not washed daily…..they are layered with old dirt…..as I said the table I was sitting at had crumbs all over as did a few others…..the vents and ceiling tiles are caked with grease and dust balls….it’s just a very un-kept establishment.

          Ok so the salad was good/decent….I can’t complain about that….the salad bar area looked very “clean” kept up……but it is new…..but over all I say….I will not be back!! This time I mean it !!!

          1 Reply
          1. re: jrvedivici
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            Barzillai22 RE: jrvedivici Apr 18, 2012 08:09 PM

            Salad Works is always clean. I also like the salads at Houlihans.Thanks for giving us a report on your experience.

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            eleeper RE: eleeper May 14, 2012 07:13 AM

            Latest update: seems to be defunct. At any rate it has been closed the last several times I've driven by, with stools up on the counters, etc. The good news is that people around here must be fairly honest, because all their outdoor tables and chairs are still there.

            5 Replies
            1. re: eleeper
              jrvedivici RE: eleeper May 14, 2012 08:01 AM

              I passed there at 2:45pm on Friday May 11th and it was closed which I found to be odd for that time of day. I was going to post about that but I didn't want to make it seem like I was trying to pick on the place. As my previous post pointed out......I'm not surprised at all.

              1. re: jrvedivici
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                eleeper RE: jrvedivici May 26, 2012 06:56 PM

                Passed there today about 2PM and the door was open with people milling around (but apparently not customers--maybe the owners?). It may yet return, or mutate into something else.

              2. re: eleeper
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                Jerzeegirl RE: eleeper May 14, 2012 09:39 AM

                I couldn't figure out why they put those tables & chairs out there to begin with, especially since your views are either the auto repair shop directly across from the tables, the oil tank removal place across 516 or the bagel joint diagonally across.

                Last time I went past there, it was 5/5 at around 1:30 pm & it was closed.

                1. re: Jerzeegirl
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                  eleeper RE: Jerzeegirl May 14, 2012 07:22 PM

                  Maybe it's like Starbucks, which must have a rule about having a few outside tables. The one on Route 35 in Middletown, for example, has a great view of the traffic light....

                  1. re: eleeper
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                    Jerzeegirl RE: eleeper May 15, 2012 06:28 AM

                    There's a Starbuck's in my office building. Their tables are located next to the building's loading dock.

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                Jerzeegirl RE: eleeper Jun 30, 2012 12:18 PM

                Just drove past there today on my way to an appointment. There's another sign up. A big one. For sale or lease. Nothing ever seems to last in that place.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Jerzeegirl
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                  MarlboroMan RE: Jerzeegirl Jun 30, 2012 04:40 PM

                  On a semi-related note, I was in that area on Thursday.. went to 25 Gourmet Burgers for the first time in quite a while.. and the place is STILL excellent. Anyway.. drove past the old Charlie Brown's restaurant.. lots of activity in the parking lot, construction, plumbing truck, etc. So I wonder what's going in there...?

                  1. re: MarlboroMan
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                    Jerzeegirl RE: MarlboroMan Jul 1, 2012 04:52 AM

                    I live near that area & keep forgetting about 25 Burgers. I'm going to have to try it one of these days. I read the Charlie Brown's will be a Portuguese restaurant.

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