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Worst Restaurants in NJ

Saw a post on the NY thread that I found intriguing regarding "Worst Restaurants in Westchester County," and wondered what the result would be with a similar thread regarding my home state. Don't want to pile on or vilify any restaurant or eatery not deserving of it, but I guess anyplace with consistently bad food and/or service would qualify. My preference would be for North/Central NJ since that's the area I'm most familiar with, but for the purposes of this thread, anyplace in NJ is fair game. So...

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  1. It's all personal preference when it comes to food.....
    what is the worst place for one person is the best for the next.............only way is to try it yourself I say.

    1. As always I'm going to swim against the tide at this point and I will nominate what I consider to be one of the worst restaurants in New Jersey.

      The Lincroft Inn.

      While they have a nice banquet room, which I have held a few holiday parties at over the years, the food is mediocre at best, and the ala carte dining room is simply miserable. I have lived in the area 20+ and they have re-done the menu and style of the dining room at least 5-6 times during that period and the food remains horrible.

      Since the owners live upstairs and have owned it forever, I assume they can survive on the bar business alone. The bar and bar food (burgers etc) is acceptable, that is the only aspect of the place that does any business.

      Perhaps the fact the owner is Debbie Harry's (Blondie's) sister has some financial benefit.......but overall I would have to rate this as one of the worst restaurant in NJ.

      1. The worst restaurant in the state "was" Larison's Turkey Farm. Or Pal's Cabin. Or Ichabod's. I can't decide.

        3 Replies
        1. re: coldbeer

          I was a regular at Pal's for years. If you stuck to their strengths everything was fine. They really knew how to grill the big steaks and their burger was wonderful. Their fries would make a chain operation ashamed. Problem was the last generation of management - they didn't, really. And, yes, service, especially toward the end, really sucked - unless you were a regular.

          1. re: coldbeer

            I never had anything other than a burger at Pal's Cabin, and in my opinion, for my likes, dislikes, etc. -- it was a good burger.

            1. re: coldbeer

              Pal's Cabin burger was great -- nice and juicy. And they would cook it to a nice medium rare as requested. Also the mushroom soup was not a modern take on mushroom soup, but it was classic.

            2. Any of the McLoone's except for the old Rum Runner....most of the Chain Restaurants...must be more...but this is just off the top of my head....

              1. First meal we ever had out when we moved here from Long Island almost 19 years ago was Carlos O'Connor in Redbank. We were so excited that we had gotten a babysitter and were happy to get out. Food if you want to call it that took forever to be served. The waiter said the chef had called out sick. I never tasted anything this bad in my life. It literally tasted like S---t. Really can't believe this place is still in business.

                1. Just had a meal at:

                  Stella Marina---Asbury Park

                  last weekend that was horrendous. Found the same thing here that seem to be constants with most bad restaurants: poor service and poor management. In my case, both were contributing factors.

                  Know this is a place that many like, but I will never set foot in there again. A complete waste of time and money!

                  1. Arthur's tavern in Morris Plains. Got dragged there by another couple and they insisted I order the 24 oz steak, the house specialty for $ 24.Got exactly what I deserved, jaw exercise. The place was packed with customers having large plates of greasy food and pitchers of beer.
                    Glad to report the other couple enjoyed their meal.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: angelopat

                      I'm not going to say you are wrong regarding your experience at Arthur's. What I am going to say is your friends should have set your expectations appropriately before taking you there.

                      Arthur's puts the "k" in Kwality of their meat, however if you go into it knowing that and knowing you are getting a huge cut of Kwality meat for $24, it makes it much easier to swallow. They have been doing the same thing for over 25 years now, you just have to know not to expect much.

                      1. re: jrvedivici

                        You're correct.A lot of people love a bad meal

                        1. re: jrvedivici

                          A steak is an indulgence for me. It's probably been more than a year since I had one. It doesn't have to be Morton's, but I don't want an experience like angelopat describes.

                        2. re: angelopat

                          One visit (anywhere) isn't sufficient to make any sort of judgement really. Arthur's happens to have the finest burger in it's space. Has for years. It also has the most miserable excuse for potatoes I've ever experienced.

                          1. re: wgrobinson

                            I respectfullly disagree. For my money one visit is sufficient to make a judgement. The responsibility is on the establishment to provide a good and consistent experience. Whether they provide a good or bad meal or somewhere in the middle I am still expected to pay the bill.

                            1. re: angelo04

                              Really? Everything and everybody has an occasional off day or night. Waste-product happens. If the reviews and recommendations don't line up with my personal experience I do have to question the larger dynamic. If you have consistently crap reviews I'll never come through your door (on my own dime).

                          2. re: angelopat

                            I couldn't agree with you more, by far Arthur's Tavern was one of the worse places I've eaten in. I ordered the 16oz, was told I could not substitute the potato's for a different side. The meat was tough to chew, I didn't even bother trying to finish it, plus, it was unseasoned. The potato's were so mushy a toothless baby could gum them. Will not be a return customer there.

                          3. easy.
                            the golden pub in saddle brook. outrageously atrocious.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: yogi70

                              Care to expand on that for those of us who are not familiar with this restaurant? Just naming a place with no reason why doesn't really tell us much.

                              1. re: ttoommyy

                                the sign outside actually says authentic memphis bbq. what they serve is not authentic, nor memphis bbq. its just a horror show. bbq chicken was borderline spoiled and grey. when you walk in, a seafood raw bar is sitting in a rack by the bar, on ice, but still kinda gross. place looks like it was last updated in 69'. waitress was miserable. the flies seemed happy though...

                                1. re: yogi70

                                  Sounds... Horrible. Thanks for getting back.

                            2. Rooney's Long Branch gets my vote.

                              Dined here numerous times since before the condo city was built. Drawn in by the ocean breeze, sand and drinks. Every time we told ourselves what a waste, yet we returned. Finally we learned our lesson.

                              The Lobster House in Cape May comes in a very close second. Seafood factory. Tourist trap maximus.

                              1. The worst restaurant in NJ is the one that has a one hour wait to fulfill your reservation you have been holding for two weeks, is so noisy you cant hear each other speak , is so dark you cant read the menu without your iPhone, the food is delivered and no one is to be found as soon as you take a bite and realize it is not as described or desired and when you leave no one even notices...unfortunately there are too many of these places taking our dining dollars....

                                1 Reply
                                1. It was Murphy Style Grill in Red Bank.

                                  Worst restaurant is a very arbitrary thing....

                                  Worst meaning bang for your buck? overall expereince? crappy food? Not worth the hype? THeres a million ways to declare something the "worst"

                                  Easiest way to find the worst restaurant... hang outside a Restaurant Depot and see who is loading up their van with 3 cartloads of frozen food. Usually a tell tale sign

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Lcdsoundsystem

                                    That's pretty funny, I was just in RD last week and I saw the owner of a local establishment, one I have been very critical of on here.

                                    He did everything in the world he could to avoid making any eye contact with me. He went about his business making sure to avoid me at all costs. I won't disclose him or his restaurant, but it was EXACTLY the scenario you are speaking of.

                                  2. The Portuguese Grill in Forked River is not so good. Captains Inn pretty uneven, also in Forked River. I would never return to either place.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                      I think you're looking for the thread "Worst Resataurant Town in NJ".

                                    2. For a long time it was Rupperts on Route 23 in Riverdale (or Bloomingdale). It mercifully closed last year, but I never understood how it stayed open for so many years.

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: briansnat

                                        As I recall Ruppert's drew a large after-work crowd that was happy to just drink. Been years.

                                        1. re: briansnat

                                          I don't know if I would call it "the worst" but in my opinion, yes, it was not good at all. I don't know about the happy hour/after work crowd, but whenever I went there at other times (only 3 times), the place was empty. The food was not good at all.

                                          I remember going there once many years ago, on a Saturday night, and it was a nice (size) crowd.

                                          I have no idea how they stayed opened and survived for so many years, considering the food was bad for many years. Were they related/affiliated with the Rupert's in NYC?

                                          Anything on the new place that replaced it? Thanks.

                                          1. re: ELA

                                            Yes, I went to the new Blu Ale House that has replaced Ruperts and I would say that it is about the same foodwise. I had a burger which was requested, but not delivered medium-rare and was swallowed up by the bun.

                                            1. re: Sdenred

                                              I've been to Blu several times and though not great, it's head and shoulders above Rupperts. The burger was the worst of all the dishes I tried. I asked for it rare and got medium and the bun was stale. I've had some other dishes at Blu that were pretty good though.

                                              1. re: briansnat

                                                I use the burger as the litmus test in a pub.

                                          2. re: briansnat

                                            Years ago Rupperts was great and always packed....that was years ago. The service got really bad and then the crowds stopped going. Once the crowds stopped the food became bad too and then no one went so eventually it closed.
                                            Blu Ale has terrible rude service and ok only ok food but overpriced. They are new so they are busy but if they don't work on their service the same will happen to them. You can't keep a clientele just because of the ice strip on the bar to keep your beer cold!

                                            1. re: briansnat

                                              I went to Blu a while back -- I was talked into it by a friend -- on a Saturday night. We did not eat there and the reports I've heard on the food are "fair at best" to "not good" -- so it doesn't sounds like any change from Rupert's.

                                              Anyway, late night Saturday night, the place was crowded. Very mixed, young, crowd. Too crowded actually. A lot of power-drinkers, young "kids" being a bit loud and rowdy, etc.

                                            2. Whatever is at the Meyersville Inn is usually substandard.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: coldbeer

                                                Good call! I live 10 minutes away and I haven't heard anyone talk about the place. It had a brief moment back in the early 00's when the former chef from Pierre's worked there and offered an Alsatian inspired menu that was pretty good.

                                              2. I don't know if I'd qualify Rupert's as "the worst" either, but then I only ate there once about 20 years ago. I was meeting someone to discuss an upcoming Canadian fishing trip, so I wasn't really paying much attention to what I ate (or drank). I can say that it didn't make much of a positive impression, certainly; I never ate there again, or desired to. Not sure what's there now, but that stretch of Rt. 23, which used to be kind of pretty and semi-rural, is now a mini-mall and fast food wasteland. At least that's how it appears to me the last few times I was up in the area.

                                                1. Court Jester in Freehold, NJ. Really horrific food. The French Onion Soup was bland and the onions were barely cooked. They were crispy and not at all caramelized. Blackened Tuna Salad was a bunch of super spicy overcooked tuna served over a bed of iceburg lettuce (which they generously called "greens" in their menu), flavorless chewy balls of "fresh" mozzarella (who puts fresh mots with tuna?), and a balsamic vinaigrette which was really just some straight, cheap balsamic. Husband had some kind of weird burrito that had chicken doused in store brought bbq sauce, and some other random stuff in it. Kids menu was boring and stupid, but the kids had a grilled cheese that was decent, because there is no creativity or skill involved in making it.

                                                  The place was cute, and the service was ok, but really, the food was consistently horrible.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: otdina

                                                    Just a lil FYI, when the founder of the Court Jester restaurants died (there is also one in Matawan and there was one in Hightstown that I believe is gone now) his wake and viewing was on bar at the Freehold location!

                                                  2. Maybe this should be a separate thread.. but how about... Worst Pizza in NJ.... ? Went to a kid's birthday party on Sunday.. asked the driver where the pizza was from (this was BEFORE I tried the pizza.. he said "Solo 2" in Freehold.. something like "next to the 7-11 and bowling alley"). I have no idea where that is.

                                                    After a google search, I think it MIGHT be "Solo Tu", but whatever. Quite possibly the worst pizza I've ever had. Tasted like battery acid mixed with tomato paste for the sauce. I couldn't eat it. I couldn't even eat the cheese.

                                                    A runner up is Romeo's pizza in Marlboro near Hobby Lobby. Had their pizza at a kid's birthday party, too.

                                                    (Incidentally, my wife was too hungry to wait to eat on Sunday, and we stopped at "Cuzzin's Pizza" in Freehold where the old Dept. of MV used to be. Really great pizza, there. Good judgement call on her part!)

                                                    1. Maxfield's on Main. My friend and I ordered calamari, but they were out. We decided on "nachos" with pulled pork (but we were given nachos with guacamole, and they're not nachos. Just tortilla chips), Brussels sprouts (way underseasoned and mushy), and tiramisu (tasted old and seemed to be slimy. Took one bite each). Everything was overpriced! Like... Really overpriced! Food is not worth it! Drinks, too. Too expensive for the quality.

                                                      Also didn't know about the cover charge until we got the bill. Service is just unfriendly. And pretty sure the manager was on his laptop the whole time.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                        1. re: ttoommyy

                                                          It's on Main, next to that place and across the street from that other one, on Main!

                                                      1. Anyone ever eaten at MJ's in Middletown ? My expectations were low going in but the pizza, burgers and wings were not something I'd ever want to experience again.

                                                        1. Worst IMO is Green Meadows in Colts Neck.
                                                          Where to even begin...

                                                          The dining room BADLY needs updating! Not only for asthetics, but it gives me the feeling that it isn't clean.
                                                          The service is absolutely attrocious. It took FOREVER to be seen bby a server, and took forever to get our food, dispite there were only 2 other tables of people.
                                                          Speaking of the food, it was bland, cold, and very unimpressive. I would had a superbly better meal at Huddy's just down the street.
                                                          The prices are far too exorbitant for crappy food, and that was even WITH the 50% off special on Fridays! I will never go again.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Dinermite

                                                            OMG!?!?! The contest is over!?!?! I finally found someone who admits having gone there!!! If you don't mind me asking (I'm a local to the area) what on earth motivated you to give that place a try? I've lived in the area 20+ years and you are the first person I know that publicly admits having ever dined there. When ever I pass the place there is only the white Cadillac Deville out front, I assume the owners car, but that's it. Please do tell.

                                                          2. Cuban Cafe in Asbury Park. Worst food I've ever had at a restaurant.

                                                            1. I would love to get my hands on some of these places and see if I could change their bad reputation. I am a customer service consultant/trainer for the hospitality industry and my passion is to fix these problems restaurants and put them back on the map of great restaurants in NJ again!

                                                              8 Replies
                                                              1. re: northnjdeb

                                                                I would love to see you succeed. My guess is this site will want compensation. In fact, they might delete your post all together.

                                                                1. re: corvette johnny

                                                                  Thanks so much! This is my true love and definitely my passion! Sometimes you just need someone to come in and tell you how customers see the business and a plan to fix it!!

                                                                2. re: northnjdeb

                                                                  We'd love to hear more about your process... are there NJ restaurants you've worked with already? What sort of steps do you go through to identify and fix the problems of these awful restaurants?

                                                                  1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                    Yes there are restaurants, salons, and health club/spas. I also have another client unrelated to the service industry that just needs help with hiring and inspiring. I have spent the better part of my life working on and perfecting this so you can understand that I don't want to share my business model. I try to stick to the customer experience end but sometimes it overlaps into other areas of the business.
                                                                    Thank you for your interest!

                                                                  2. re: northnjdeb

                                                                    I respect your passion and enthusiasm for what you do. The only problem or flaw I find in your vision here is that in order to " put them back on the map of great restaurants in NJ again", makes the assumption they were ever on that map to begin with.

                                                                    Let's face it, some restaurants and those running them just have no business in the industry, regardless of who comes in to "fix" them. I think Gordon Ramsey proved that.

                                                                    Welcome to Chow.......would enjoy hearing more of what exactly you do.

                                                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                      It would be interesting to review the long term results from the Bar and Restaurant ' Save ' TV programs ?
                                                                      How many are actually in business a year later ?

                                                                      1. re: arpad

                                                                        I know there was a thread on here somewhere that gave some interesting statistics on Kitchen Nightmares. I want to say the success rate was around 1/3 of the places they featured. It seemed to be they intentionally picked places that were mostly beyond the point of no return because it helped add to the drama of the show. I know the one restaurant local to me that was on the show closed their doors within a year of the filming (3-4mos. of its airing). Two additional places have since failed at the same location.

                                                                        1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                          I went through a bunch of updates for Restaurant Impossible and 1/3 seems like a good number. Here is the web site that tracks it: http://www.foodnetworkgossip.com/p/re...