Thursday, January 15, 2015

Rockhill, Cherry Hill

Big John's is out. Rockhill is in.

For decades, Big John's sat at 1800 Rt. 70 East in Cherry Hill, dishing out greasy cheesesteaks and lots of pickles. But they up and left for new pastures in West Berlin. Taking their place? A new restaurant called Rockhill.

Rockhill also serves up cheesesteaks and other pick-up foods such as hamburgers, pizza, hoagies, and the like. Whereas Big John's was rather dated and plain inside, Rockhill brought some life to the landscape, featuring big windows looking out onto bustling Route 70, modern decor, and an open dining area, rather than broken up sections like their predecessor.

During a recent weekday visit, there was a pretty decent sized lunch crowd with people of all ages chowing down on the "authentic Philly style" menu items, as their branding declares. There wasn't a wait to be seated, but a steady flow of diners flowed in and out, and the takeout business seemed pretty active as well. The food was fresh and tasty, though some comments were that the homemade chips were a little heavy on the oil and salt and the burger could have used a bigger bun... neither were deal breakers though for an otherwise enjoyable meal.

The restaurant is nestled between the "Beowulf" building and, appropriately enough, Rockhill Road, which serves as a jughandle to cross over Route 70 to get to Marlkress Road or head east on 70. It's a convenient location for getting onto Route 295 just a block or so away and shooting into Philly. With the constant stream of traffic that goes by, it will get plenty of street visibility, even compared to nearby PJ Whelihan's, which is set back from the highway on Greentree Rd. Hopefully Rockhill will fare as well as Big John's did for so many years in that spot and stick around for a while. They are open for lunch and dinner everyday and serve to what may be considered as an upscale fast food type of crowd. Menu items are fully priced-- not what I would call a bargain or a-- pardon the pun-- highway robbery.

To learn more about this dining establishment, check out Rockhill's website or call 856-424-4455.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Indian Acres Tree Farm, Medford

An annual Fall ritual for many families in Southern New Jersey, or many parts of the country for that matter, is to sulk in the corner because Winter is coming. Ok, well, besides that, pumpkin picking is a time-honored tradition, as kids love to see the plethora of plump pumpkins popping up in the patch. Combine that with a hay ride, apple cider, and other fun and games, and you have the makings of a great day out in the fresh air.

There are a number of pumpkin patches throughout South Jersey, and one of them is Indian Acres Tree Farm at 111 Tuckerton Rd. in Medford.

During a recent first-time visit to Indian Acres Tree Farm, we found the grounds to be of good quality and our little ones had a fun time. On the premises there are food stations, wagon rides for pumpkin picking, a corn maze, various games, a "giant pillow bounce," and more. The prices are pretty reasonable, with the footnote that it's an a la carte style menu where you pay for each activity, so prepare accordingly if your kids like to take part in a wide variety of activities.

The other well-known nearby pumpkin patch is Johnson's Farm in Mt. Laurel. Indian Acres is rather different from Johnson's, in that Johnson's is a lot more refined and less focused on games and similar activities, but providing more in the way of freshly prepared food, animal pens,apple picking, and the like. It's worth visiting both to find your preference. One big difference is that Johnson's can be PACKED, to the point that it's more of a mob scene than it is a nice, leisurely day out, whereas Indian Acres seems a little more spread out and not as much of a high-demand, busy location like Johnson's.

The Indian Acres Tree Farm website offers some information about the activities and grounds. As of this publishing, there is no phone number listed on the website. The grounds are just a minute or two drive from the Evesham Library and Police Station, to the West, and the intersection of a Taunton Rd. and Tuckerton Rd. to the East.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Hong Kong Fusion, Cherry Hill

Chinese restaurants and strip malls seem to go hand in hand around South Jersey, and, like anything, the quality of each restaurant can vary from place to place.

Open for about two years (by my estimation) in the The Orchards, a shopping center at 1998 Route 70 East (heading westbound), Hong Kong Fusion comes out on what I would consider the higher end of Chinese food in the area. But, as usual I try to keep my personal opinion to a minimum when it comes to talking about the food quality, since everybody has different tastes... and I do not claim to be a food expert by any stretch of the imagination!

On a recent lunchtime visit, my friend and I were greeted and seated quickly, although admittedly the place never was very busy while we were there. The dining area is very clean, comfortable, and nicely appointed and the front two rooms are not very big so there is an intimate feel to it. From my understanding there is a bigger room in the back, though my guess is that this would only be for parties or busier times of the day.

My friend and I both enjoyed our meals-- I particularly happened to like the fried noodles as they didn't taste like your typical out-of-a-bag noodles that you get from most restaurants, and they even had a nice orange flavor to them.

Our soups, which came with the lunch specials we ordered, came out piping hot, and our meals were both served promptly, always a good thing when time is limited during the lunch hour. I might have preferred a few more options on the lunch menu, but be that as it may, there were a good number of choices, and everything we ate was tasty, and without breaking the bank.

Apparently on some (or maybe all?) Saturdays, the restaurant hosts jazz musicians, which is nice to know about for something a little different for a weekend night out.

For what it's worth, Hong Kong Fusion has gotten a lot of positive write-ups on Yelp, TripAdvisor and Google, so that's a good sign.

Hong Kong Fusion's website is a little lacking, as of this publishing, but it does list menus on there. To call for reservations or takeout, dial 856-751-3888.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Turning Point, Marlton

Hello friend, long time no see!

It's been a while since my last post on South Jersey Places, mainly due to a lack of time to write or my general slowdown in visiting new places in the Southern New Jersey area. It's a shame on both accounts since I enjoy visiting new places and writing about them, but such is life sometimes!

So, coincidentally, the place I'm writing about today helped reunite a friend who I hadn't seen in a while, mainly due to a lack of time that worked for both of us. Art reflects life I suppose.

That said, today I am posting about The Turning Point in Marlton Square, Marlton, which is located on Route 73 heading North, right before you reach the overpass at Route 70. It's a tad bit tricky to get there... not a deterrent by any stretch, but if you're not familiar with the area you may want to map it out first since it's not necessarily apparent, depending on where you are coming from.

The Turning Point, as it even says on the sign above its door, serves breakfast, brunch, and lunch, seven days a week. But no dinner.

Though not serving dinner is kind of unusual in the world of eateries (I presume there's more of a demand and higher margins for establishments that successfully serve dinner), The Turning Point has found its niche and seems to be succeeding at serving plenty of happy customers.

A month or so ago, my wife and I attempted to go to The Turning Point for lunch on a Saturday, only to walk away because there was a long wait and the two of us were starving. Then, when I met with a friend a couple of weeks ago it was on a weekday morning at 8:30, and though it was by no means packed, there was a steady stream of customers, so that was good to see.

The Turning Point in Marlton is one of nearly a dozen locations, mostly located in Northern New Jersey or towards the Shore, in places such as Hoboken or Manalapan. The Marlton restaurant opened in February of 2013 and is the first branch in South Jersey. This one sits in a busy shopping center near Trader Joe's, The Gap, and Victoria's Secret, so it certainly gets a large amount of foot traffic.

During my visit I had a really tasty and refreshing "Fresh Fruit Bruschetta" which was a unique dish with diced mango, pineapple, strawberry, and mint, served with triangles of toasted cinnamon pita. It's a simple concept, but nothing that I've seen elsewhere. It hit the spot! They also serve a wide array of hot teas, which interests me, but if that's not up your alley, there are plenty of other drinks to choose from, including coffees, smoothies, and more. In other words, not your typical Jersey diner... not that there's anything wrong with Jersey diners (I always enjoy them!), but it's also great to have some other options as well.

The atmosphere at The Turning Point is very comfortable and relaxing, kind of like being at somebody's house, for lack of a better description. They have photos of the Marlton restaurant on their Facebook page. The server was also prompt, friendly, and attentive. All in all, a very positive first experience for me, and my friend said he goes there a lot with clients or on other meetings.

Interested in learning more? Be sure to check out The Turning Point's website, or call 856-988-1528.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Bruno's Restaurant & Pizzeria, Haddonfield

Haddonfield offers many great restaurants in its Downtown vicinity (in the Kings Highway/Potter Street area), but where to go if you are not in that particular area?

A recent trip to Bruno's Restaurant & Pizzeria, at 509 Hopkins Road (NOT Hopkins Lane, by the way!), proved that you can find a good restaurant away from all of the hub bub Haddonfield's shopping district.

Bruno's sits in a mostly residential area in a small strip center, where Hopkins Rd. meets Lafayette Rd. It's a BYO Italian dining establishment, and, conveniently (and probably not coincidentally) is next to Shirley's Liquor Store, so you can grab a bottle of wine before dinner if you are so inclined.

Inside, Bruno's is divided into two areas, with the section on the right as you walk in arranged more like a traditional restaurant and the section to the left is designed more like a pizzeria. A colorful fish tank happens to be one of the dividing segments between the two, so be sure to check to that out if you are a fish lover or have kids who like to watch the fish.

A recent lunch proved an enjoyable experience. The server was friendly and timely in accommodating us. Tasty bread was served to start the meal, it was hot and fresh out of the oven. Our main courses were both rather large portions-- a wrap and a chicken parmigiana dish-- both ample enough for leftovers. We were pleased with our dishes, and the chicken parm came with either soup, salad, or side pasta. My only request would have been to include pasta with the dish as is traditional, but I managed! Supposedly the pizza is one of their most popular dishes, but we didn't get to try it this time around.

The prices for each dish seemed reasonable for the portion size. Probably not overpriced or underpriced. I'd say the only quirk of the restaurant was that the sound traveled a little too well, so you could hear conversations at other tables, and would probably get pretty noisy during busy hours, but probably not overbearingly so. The crowd was sparse on this particular day with only a handful of other tables in use at the time. The overall ambiance was pleasant and comfortable, but not necessarily memorable.

All in all, it was a good outing for us and I would imagine it does well for dinner and on weekends.

As of this publishing, Bruno's does not appear to have its own website, but you can contact them at 856-428-9505.