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Bahama Breeze Toms River ....anyone?

Anyone experience this restaurant as of yet...in the OC mall parking lot. here's some food pics..



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  1. Actually, I like this chain. I was first introduced to it down in FL, and I enjoyed. Nice theme, environment, very good service, and the food was better than and a good/better alternative to stereotypical pub-grub, wings and things, and so forth. When I got home to NJ, I checked their website and saw the nearest one to me wasn't that far (about 35 to 45 minutes), and while I didn't specifically go out of my way to go there -- when I was in the area and wanted to eat, I went there. Same thing -- same as above.

    We are not talking fine-dining here. I don't go there for high-end type of food, lobster, gourmet seafood or pasta dishes, etc. I've had salads, many appetizers, and a few entrees. I like the place, and I like their business model. The locations I've seen seem to do well, busy, crowded, good repeat customers, etc.

    They just opened another one -- right near my office in Paramus and they are doing well (from what I can see). Give it a shot, you might like it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ELA

      ELA thanx for the review.... I will have to get there for lunch and check them out.

    2. We visit the BB in Atlanta, GA probably twice a year. What stands out for us is the size of their portions- gigantic. Order a rice bowl, expect 2 lbs of steamed rice in that bowl! They make some fun cocktails. My dh loves their Asian chicken dish. I wasn't aware a location opened in TR actually...dare I mention this to dh..

      1. I've been to several of their locations. It's run of the mill, probably most comparable to Ruby Tuesday (and both chains have a preference for malls.) It's a little more thematic and colorful than other chains if you're looking for a place for a social gathering. They also accept Olive Garden gift cards.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ebchower

          Same as ELA, we first tried one in Florida this past January. For a chain, we liked it a lot, and they were very kid friendly. Been to the one in Woodbridge (at the mall of course) once and that was fine as well. The wings are really different, and quite tasty. If given a choice, I'd pick it over a lot of other chains.

        2. I haven't been there yet but two of my coworkers went on separate occasions and raved about it. They eat out almost every single day, though, and are perfectly happy with chain restaurants and buffets so I don't put too much stock in their recommendations. I figure we will get there for lunch eventually when we are heading to Target or Lowes.

          1. Bahama Breeze is one of the Darden Restaurants chains (as are Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Longhorn Steakhouse). So my expectations weren't high when I visited one in Orlando. But it was OK. The service was shaky (they brought the wrong dish to one of our group), but the food was reasonable and very inexpensive.

            1. In a word ... Meh!!! I've been a few times for lunch and have had the chicken and fruit salad. Service has been inconsistent while the salad has been overdressed at times. Considering the lack of lunchtime options in TR, I would consider a try though don't go with high expectations.

              1. 1 item worth it - jerk chicken wings. at least the ones i tried in one of their Tampa, FL locations.

                2 Replies
                1. re: harrison

                  Tried them in FL and I liked them. I think for what it is, they were good wings. They seemed to be pretty popular. I just don't remember if I saw them on the menu here in NJ.

                  1. re: ELA

                    They are going in at Market Fair in Princeton. Not sure when it will open. Seasons 52 is opening there as well, another Darden chain. I'm not familiar with it.

                2. With all the deliciousness that independent restaurants have to offer in the Tom's River area I would have a hard time supporting a food chain.

                  For each dollar spent in a ma and pa restaurant well more than half stays in the local community. For every dollar spent at a chain well less than half even stay in the state.

                  We need to encourage growth of independents who are really the ones who create great food.

                  I'm not a restaurateur, but the big guys are putting a hurt on the small guys in SJ. I'm sure you will pass 5 passionate restaurant owners on your way to Bahama Breeze which microwaves there pre-portioned frozen food?

                  17 Replies
                  1. re: shoeman

                    I honestly don't know of much independent deliciousness in this area... Il Giardinello, Serenity Cafe, and, um, that's it. We like The Office for lunch or prime rib. Otherwise we stay home.

                    1. re: Njchicaa

                      What's the story with Tiffany's on 37? It was well covered in the APP they were losing their liquor license. Are they remaining open or closing? (this is not an endorsement of the place just an inquiry)

                      1. re: jrvedivici

                        as far as I know, they are planning to stay open but I don't know how long the place will last without a liquor license. Their food is abominable.

                        1. re: Njchicaa

                          Agree wholeheartedly about Tiffanys, Njchicaa. My hubs and I ate there once years ago. It was horrendous.

                        2. re: jrvedivici

                          Did they lose it? I heard the same thing, but I didn't look into it, ask around, etc. Thanks.

                          1. re: ELA

                            According to the Asbury Park Press, yes they are/have lost their liquor license. I was just curious if they were going to give being a BYOB a try or just close up and cut their losses.

                            I have only been in the place one night looking for something to eat. I looked over the menu but at 9:30 on a week night it was obvious that I was not "welcomed" by the locals.

                            I decided to finish my drink and just leave, it was one of those scene's that nothing good was going to come out of my staying.

                            1. re: jrvedivici

                              It wasn't ever really clear to me whether the place would retain a liquor license or not. The court ruling was that it had to be sold but I don't know if it could be held by someone else yet kept in that location.

                              If it is gone from that location for good, then I give Tiffany's less than a year before it closes. The owner's other local place, Tuscan House, is now called Tuscan Bistro or something like that and, from what I heard, is also trying to scratch its way up the wall to keep heads above water.

                              1. re: jrvedivici

                                "I have only been in the place one night looking for something to eat. I looked over the menu but at 9:30 on a week night it was obvious that I was not "welcomed" by the locals.
                                I decided to finish my drink and just leave, it was one of those scene's that nothing good was going to come out of my staying."

                                I don't understand this. Would someone please explain?

                                1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                  Well you have to follow the thread up a bit, it was in reference to Tiffany's restaurant on Rt. 37 in Toms River. This thread started on the local NJ board then the mods moved it to the Chains.

                          2. re: Njchicaa

                            You may want to search the board as I just did for "Tom's River". You would be surprised how many favorable reviews there are for the area. As many different cuisines?

                            1. re: shoeman

                              I've lived in this area all my life and am speaking from experience when I say that there aren't many independent mom and pop type of restaurants that are worth visiting. I have been hearing good things about Three B's in Lakehurst so we plan to check it out soon.

                            2. re: Njchicaa

                              Don't forget Siam Spice in TR. It's probably the best food in the county.

                              1. re: bgut1

                                That is one that I know about from this site but I never think to actually visit. My husband and I will have to make a point of going there soon. We are happy to patronize places with good food. We dropped a sick amount of money in Vegas eating amazing lunches and dinners. We just choose to stay home around here most of the time because I can make most things better at home (breakfast and Thai aside) for a lot less.

                            3. re: shoeman

                              Hilarious, protectionist, nonsense. As a 30+ year resident, I can categorically and enthusiastically say that TOMS River (no apostrophe) is a food wasteland. "Independent deliciousness?" I almost stopped reading.

                              Bottom line is, no amount of "passion" is a guarantee your restaurant will succeed; serving a product that the customer wants to buy will. If your beloved ma and pa restaurants were any good, would there be any need for such an establishment?

                              1. re: shoeman

                                Folks, this sub-thread is getting a little far over into the arena of 'discussing the discussion of food' and away from actually discussing food. The should we or shouldn't we visit chains conversation is one that's a huge issue on Chowhound, and neither that conversation nor the one about local restaurants benefits from having it happen in the middle of this kind of thread. We've left these posts up since there is some discussion of other options in Toms River buried in them, but we'd ask that people let the philosophical part of the conversation go, and concentrate on sharing experiences with the chow at Bahama Breeze (or other Toms River options). Thanks!

                                1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                  Just for those who want to search the town.... it is Toms River not Tom's River.

                                  1. re: Njchicaa

                                    Drat. You caught us. We fixed one of reference to Toms River but not the other!

                              2. We've been to the one in King of Prussia, PA a couple times. the food was pretty decent as I recall, I wouldn't be distressed to go again. my main objection is the long wait we had each time to get a table.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: jujuthomas

                                  Yes, there can be waits. Interesting -- every location I've been to, any time, they are very busy to jammed pack. As I said, whatever location I've been to, they seem to do well.

                                2. I've been to the one in Atlanta a small handful of times. It's quite good for a chain restaurant, in fact, it's probably my favorite chain restaurant.
                                  Sometimes when I'm in a beach-y mood here in Phoenix, I wish we had one.
                                  Give it a try, you probably won't be disappointed.

                                  1. My mom is obsessed with this place. She's lives in central FL and we've been to the Tampa location. It definitely didn't live up to my expectations from her descriptions but it's perfectly decent food and I'd go back. I wouldn't make a special trip to eat there but if I needed a quick lunch, it's a fine option.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Hobbert

                                      As chains go, BB is pretty good, IMO. Whenever I'm in Orlando for a conference, and staying on International Drive without a car, it's my go-to place. Yes, it's crowded, but I can usually get a seat at the bar. Lots of variety on the menu, and consistent (as chains tend to be).