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May 6, 2014 12:07 PM

Buccaneer Bay BBQ in Plainfield N.J.

B.B. has opened in a space formerly occupied by a soft-serve ice cream stand. It's been under construction for close to a year and my hopes were VERY high that we would have a BBQ joint other than Famous Daves. Well, all hope was dashed when I went in there for lunch today for a pulled pork sandwich. What a disappointment. It was mushy without a large enough piece to give it any texture other than mush. There was some sort of sauce on it, not sweet, not vinegar, just a pale pinkish moisture. There was also some granulated white bits in the mush that almost looked like parmesan that had been granulated in a food processor. Then there was the odd taste. It's been a couple of hours and I don't have a stomach ache so I'm sure it wasn't spoiled, it just wasn't any good. As I sai, I'm very disappointed.

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  1. What is it about Plainfield? There are so many places that look like they have potential - and then you try them.

    I noticed this place too, but I find it tough to scrape up enough optimism to eat out in that town.

    Look at it this way: it will soon be warm enough for the seasonal pits in South Jersey to start firing up again. They're a long drive from this neck of the woods, but they're the real thing.

    11 Replies
    1. re: BrianYarvin

      I'll let you know when I get MY smoker going.

      1. re: BrianYarvin

        It's really crazy. Plainfield, which has an underutilized downtown with some incredible architecture, would seem to be the place where a cutting-edge, Montclair-type restaurant scene would have gained a foothold by now. Instead, it's populated with 99-cent shops and cheapo electronics joints. Similar situation on South Ave, which is just outside the Sleepy Hollow neighborhood whose residents would enthusiastically support such a place, but which is instead filled with day-care centers and fast-food. Granted, there are many Latino restaurants in the downtown, but nobody on these boards has mentioned having tried any of them.

        1. re: albinoni

          I grew up on Park Ave., albeit in Edison, however I am very familiar with the area. I managed a restaurant on Park Ave. in South Plainfield from the mid 80's-90's (2000 Park Ave. the old Jaques now a Chinese Buffet) and my first job in my current industry was at the Dime Savings Bank Branch on the corner of Park Ave. and 28.

          Besides Giovanni's and the old Caruso's (current name escapes me) on South Ave. there has NEVER been any dining scene in Plainfield. It's not like there was once a dining scene that left, since the 70's there just has never been, nor interest by anyone to try and bring one to the town. Unlike other urban cities like Newark or Asbury Park, Plainfield has never established a dining scene.

          Even the one club (safe club) in town, the Clubhouse, I think has closed and the spot remains empty.

          It just seems like the stigma of the town discourages anyone from trying, and I think rightly so.

          1. re: jrvedivici

            True enough about Plainfield but it was a shopping destination pre mall days ( remember Tepper's ? ) and there was a wonderful ice cream parlor Grundigs
            ( sp ? ), There was a Charley's something on Park near Edison that was acceptable and the Tico Taco on Rte22 that was amusing .

            1. re: arpad

              Yes it was a shopping destination for sure......even Macy's tried to hang in there for many years, but I think they closed their location in the late 90's.

              I don't recall any "Charley's" in the area besides the Charlie Brown's on Plainfield Rd. in Edison.

            2. re: jrvedivici

              True enough about Plainfield but it was a shopping destination pre mall . There was a great ice cream parlor in town ... Grunnings ( sp ? ) . And a Charley's something on Park near Edison - tolerable ! Other than that there was the Tico Taco on Rte22 . And a Red Castle as well ?

              1. re: jrvedivici

                The old Caruso's is now a day-care center.

                As far as the lack of an established dining scene and stigma, by way of example I would only point to neighborhoods in Brooklyn such as 5th Avenue in Park Slope, or Smith Street in Cobble Hill/Boerum Hill, which I am very familiar with, and how, over the past 15 to 20 years, went from near-abandonment to becoming food meccas. In fact, they never had much of a food scene to begin with, and built up at a time when most families who lived in urban neighborhoods only went out for special occasions, if at all. Williamsburg? It was once Peter Luger's and nothing else. Bushwick? It was so far gone, most newcomers to Brooklyn had no idea where it even was, and now places are opening near where Roberta's first set up shop to serve single-serving pizzas. Similar stories in Bed Stuy, Crown Heights and Fort Greene--all once considered dangerous and scary, but now really "cooking". It always started with one or two brave entrepreneurs who knew they could draw a following regardless of where they set up, and took advantage of lower rents and costs of capitalization. By contrast, Brooklyn Heights, which has always been Brooklyn's most affluent neighborhood and which always had a handful of restaurants even during the worst of times, has, culinarily, stagnated.

                Politically and civically, Plainfield has always found ways to shoot itself in the foot, but the same could be said for Brooklyn, which for years played second fiddle to Manhattan and has always had its fair share of poor leadership and a history of misguided attempts to redefine itself in ways that alienated its middle class. None of this seemed to affect the willingness of chef-owners to take the chances that they have, and who have largely, without any government assistance, gambled and won, and in the process altered the urban landscape. Why the same dynamics don't apply in Plainfield, which, although having extreme poverty, also has a solid middle and upper-middle class that would embrace a downtown restaurant scene, is beyond me.

                1. re: albinoni

                  A day care?!?!?! I stopped in for lunch (whatever the name was after Caruso's) about 2-3 years ago, sorry to hear that place closed. I got engaged at Caruso's and when I lived in the area it was my favorite restaurant. Well La Fontana in New Brunswick was my favorite, but Caruso's was a very close second. Giavonni's is still plugging away though correct? Funny story the owners of Giavonni's last name was Caruso (of the auto body shop in town by the same name) many people would make the mistake of dining at Caruso's rather than Giavonni's assuming it was the Caruso families restaurant.

                  I don't disagree with you regarding your assessment of Plainfield at all. I started going to Peter Lugar's 20+- years ago and the journey there would fascinate me. You get off the highway into an industrial area (the ship yards) then turn onto a darkened street of residential apartment housing....but never any street lights.....then you go around a slight bend in the street and the only lights would be of Peter Lugars shining bright. Drop your guests off then back track across the street to the gated and guarded parking lot. It's been 10+ years since I've been back, but that trip always amused me.

                  1. re: jrvedivici

                    Luger...I just go over the Williamsburg Bridge and make a right...

                    1. re: fourunder

                      You north Jersey guys.....I avoid Manhattan take 440 to Verrazano and come in from the BQE. We south Jersey guy's call that the scenic route.

                      1. re: jrvedivici

                        The tolls cost more than the steak...

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              1. There was a very good Vietnamese restaurants in Plainfield In the mid-80's. I think it was called 'La Viet' and it was on the 2nd floor on or just off the main drag in town....

                1 Reply
                1. re: OGguy

                  I remember eating there! Yes, on the 2nd floor.. and on the main drag! My first foray into Vietnamese cuisine.. seemed so exotic back then.. think that was about 1983 or so...

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