Classic Jersey Landmarks That Are Gone – Which Do You Miss the Most?
There are places here in Jersey that you’ve grown up with you’ve always expected would last forever.
Palisades Amusement Park eventually gave way to high rises. What used to be the Amboy Drive in is now a rotting hulk at the foot of the Victory Bridge. The arcades that dotted the waterfront in Belmar are now condos.
And not unexpectedly, the venerable DeLorenzo’s Tomato Pies in Trenton will be closing its doors and moving to a new Hamilton location.
The red and white sign that has sat above DeLorenzo’s Pizza on Hamilton Avenue for years has already made the move to the restaurant’s future location, but the pizza oven at the current location will remain in operation for a few more days.
The Trenton restaurant — famed for its tomato pies, a style strongly associated with Trenton — will officially close its doors on Saturday night at 8:45 p.m., said Rick DeLorenzo Jr., the owner. Pizza lovers will have to wait two weeks before the new location, about five miles away on Sloan Avenue at I-295, opens at the end of the month, he said.
Yesterday, customers came out to the Hamilton Avenue location to soak in the atmosphere one last time.
The other famous DeLorenzo’s in Trenton, which closed its doors early last year, was owned by Rick’s uncle, Alexander “Chick” DeLorenzo. The Hudson Street restaurant was passed down to Chick’s daughter, Eileen DeLorenzo, and her husband, Gary Amico, who owned the restaurant until it closed.
Their son now owns his own pizza restaurant in Robbinsville called DeLorenzo’s Tomato Pies. Rick DeLorenzo said he intends to bring everything from the Hamilton Avenue store to the new location — from the ovens that give the pies their taste to the red booths that line the dining room.
DeLorenzo said it was inevitable that the Trenton restaurant, opened in 1961 by his father and uncle, would have to relocate.
“Everybody knows that through the last ten years it has been an exodus out of the city,” DeLorenzo said. “We hung in there as long as we could.”
After looking for a new home for the restaurant for several years, DeLorenzo finally told his customers in November that the pizzeria would go to Hamilton.
The new location on Sloan Avenue, the former site of a Bob Evans restaurant, is more than double the size of the 2,000-square-foot Trenton location.
And if that isn’t enough, one of the vestiges of summer in Freehold soon will be no more, as the Jersey Freeze just off Routes 9 and 33 could give way to a Houlihan’s.
An application that proposes the construction of a Houlihan’s restaurant on the property where Jersey Freeze has sat for 60 years has been filed in Freehold Borough.
In recent years the Jersey Freeze property at Route 9 and Manalapan Avenue has been the subject of applications proposing an Olive Garden restaurant and a Ruby Tuesday restaurant. Neither plan came to fruition.
If the Houlihan’s is approved and built, it will signal the end of Jersey Freeze at the location where the ice cream stand and restaurant has been a landmark for six decades.
Part of the Jersey Freeze property is in Freehold Borough and part of the property is in Freehold Township. The Jersey Freeze restaurant sits completely in Freehold Township.
According to Borough Administrator Joseph Bellina, the application for Houlihan’s calls for the demolition of Jersey Freeze.
Houlihan’s is proposed to sit completely in Freehold Borough, and according to Bellina, it must be completely in the borough because a liquor license that is held by the owner of Jersey Freeze was issued by Freehold Borough. The state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control requires that the restaurant be located in the town where the liquor license is issued.
Plans call for a 7,900-square-foot Houlihan’s with 295 inside seats and 108 outdoor patio seats. Plans also include a 4,000-squarefoot bank on property that is in Freehold Township. A separate application for the bank would be heard by the Freehold Township Planning Board.
Jersey Freeze owner Bruce Blackmore said, “There are preliminary discussions to put a Houlihan’s on the back of the property of Jersey Freeze. We are hoping to have additional information in the coming weeks. Jersey Freeze is looking forward to its 61st summer of great ice cream.”
But after that, who knows.
And that would be sad for countless generations that have had their first soft serve at the location that was once part of the Freehold Circle.
What are some of the places in Jersey you remember that are no more?