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Wayne back in the day

Posting about Pinto's in Hackensack last week made me nostalgic. I was essentially raised in Wayne, and when we ate Italian out as a family or got a pizza, it was from Gabriel's on Rt. 23 (this would have been 1960's/early 1970's). We moved when I was about 15, but Gabriel's is still there when I occasionally drive by on Rt. 23, and I am wondering how it holds up? I liked it well enough as a kid (with less developed, less discriminating taste than I have now as a middle aged adult), but even then, I never thought it was the greatest Italian food, but there was an ambiance about the restaurant itself that I always liked--- the building seemed like it had been there forever, a feeling that was augmented by old photographs...I remember one of the Dionne Quintuplets (I think they were Quintuplets)... they put up on the walls of its dark interior. I ate there once in the mid 1980's as a young man, but it didn't impress at all then, and am wondering if it has gotten any better (or worse)?

Also remember a place nearby (I think in Lincoln Park) called...if I remember right..."Sam's Maple Grove." All of my peers seemed to love the place. I remember eating there once with my family when I was really young...and being very impressed...but my parents weren't all that impressed by it, and that's the only memory I have of our dining there.

Anyone else remember this place? Or know what happened to it?

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  1. Long ago, Sam's Maple Grove had big crowds on Friday and Saturday evening. It was just off Route 202 along the river in Lincoln Park. I remember seeing pictures of it, probably the 1984 flood, when you could only see the roof. It was an amazing photo. Everyone loved their "Italian cuisine", but I bet it wouldn't measure up anymore. My mom would order the shrimp scampi....what were my folks thinking taking us kids to a riverbank restaurant like that? Maybe they liked their "whiskey sour" on a Friday night after working all week. Gabriel's looks a bit long in the tooth...they advertise musicians that I've never heard of. I used to like an ice cream parlor called Buxton's on Route 23N.....excellent place to hang with friends back in the day.

    5 Replies
    1. re: maryanne06

      Thanks for the quick response, Maryanne06. When you mention that area along 202 for Sam's, that's where I remember it being as well. There's another restaurant in the general vicinity now that's been there for years, but always changes names and ownership, and isn't particularly memorable (hence my inability to remember the name). I remember Buxton's as well. Right near where the Nagel's Candy Story is (and always was, in my memory). They served a peanut butter ice cream with chocolate chip that I used to love, and which I haven't been able to find since. When my family moved to central NJ in the mid 70's, there was a Buxton's in Pluckemin (or Bedminster, not sure where the lines of demarcation were between individual towns in that area), which I was happy to see, but we never went to it as much as we did the one in Wayne. I think it folded in Bedminster sometime in the late 70's, and if I remember right, it folded in Wayne at approximately the same time. It's a shame. I can remember Rt 23 when it was a 2-lane road; now it's nearly a super highway, and has become a strip mall wasteland.

      1. re: legsdiamond12

        that restaurant right on 202 near Ryerson Rd is now Maggie's something or other [can't remember the rest of the name]. they advertise wings and beer.

        As for Nagel's, i was surprised and pleased to find a branch out in Randolph on Rt 10 when i moved out to Hopatcong for a few years.

      2. re: maryanne06

        I was the manager of Buxton's for the first two years it was open in Wayne. Ice cream cones were 25 cents for a 4ouncecone and 45 cents for a double dip. It was a popular place with good food and good service. That was the era of Woodstock.
        I also remember going to Gabriel's for a cold beer. A glass of draft beer was 15 cents back then.

        Alan Jacobus

        1. re: IDaman

          Hey I am curious, what was the full contents of a Big Bux, my family disagree on it a bit.

        2. re: maryanne06

          We went to Sam's often, and while not gourmet, it was tasty. As a teen I would get their pepper steak or veal parmesan plus a steak sandwich. I would love to have their pepper steak recipe as it was good enough to stand the test of time. I still can't figure out how they made such a simple dish taste so good.

        3. If you turn down that road on 202 in Lincoln Park and drive to the end, you'll see the outline of where Sam's once stood. Fond memories of that place. it wasn't great, but it filled up an italian-american family for very little money and made good martinis [at least, that's what my dad said!]

          I'm absolutely drawing a blank on the restaurant that's now in Buxton's [great ice cream!], it's a family place that actually has decent homemade chicken soup.

          Gabriel's also has fond memories - i remember the bitterness of the sauce to this day. it wasn't unpleasant, but it wasn't like anything we had at home. I drive past there a lot, but i haven't been in there since I was a little girl. It doesn't look as if it's changed at all.

          remember Dan's Steak House? before that center section of the highway was demolished?

          1. Not really a restaurant, but I remember a bar called the Waterfront which I have a feeling is long gone.

            3 Replies
            1. re: ebchower

              The Waterfront was on Lake Drive West in Packanack Lake, right on the west beach. Darts, pool table, mostly a beer crowd.

              1. re: maryanne06

                I think the Waterfront is still there. At least it was up until a couple of years ago. I don't remember ever eating there, but I did stop by one afternoon a few years ago for a few beers (and I got hellaciously drunk there with some friends about 20 years ago; a friend's mother had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and we wanted a beer or 2 or 3 in our despair--- before we knew it, the bartender was buying us drinks, and the brother of a guy I went to Packanack Lake School with was buying us drinks, and someone else was buying us drinks, and the rest, as they say, is entirely predictable...). Beautiful (and nostalgic, since I grew up in Wayne) setting right on the lake. If it does serve food, I can't imagine it's anything other than glorified bar food, but I suppose I could be wrong. And if it doesn't still exist, that's a shame. For me, the epitome of a neighborhood watering hole.

                1. re: legsdiamond12

                  I found a listing for a Lakeside pub on Lake Drive West. That's probably what it is now. I had only gone to it once because my friend had a DJ gig there one night in 1993.

            2. Does anyone remember a place called Bojangles? Thanks in advance.

              5 Replies
              1. re: ELA

                Was Bojangles the "make your own pizza" place on Rt. 23?

                1. re: Sdenred

                  No, it was a bar/club. I don't remember the location or details though.

                  1. re: ELA

                    Ryerson Avenue in Wayne. It's no longer there. That street has taken a beating with the flooding over the past 8 years.

                    1. re: maryanne06

                      Thank you...did it become another place after? Did anything else ever open or go in there? Thanks again.

                      1. re: ELA

                        I know that it was a pizza/sandwich/convenience store for quite a while. I also know that it was for sale, too. I don't know what happened to the liquor license. As you may know, it's in a very difficult location these days.

              2. My favorite place in the world when I was a kid was Anthony Wayne's right on what was the 23/46 circle. Best small burger ever. I damn near cried when they closed.

                1 Reply
                1. re: wgrobinson

                  I remember the Anthony Wayne place too. I liked the food, and my immediate memory is of how dark it seemed inside. Last time I drove by, I think the entire building had been razed to the ground. Sad how few restaurants seem to last from one generation to the next.