Stewart’s Root Beer has been a staple of New Jersey folklore and a “fast food” favorite for thousands for the past 75 years.

New Jersey’s oldest Stewarts Root Beer in Burlington recently celebrated its 75th year of serving up burgers, dogs and the classic root beer float.

Stewart’s Root Beer set up the bright orange and white locations when Frank Stewart in 1924 wanted to create the best-tasting root beer that he could and sell the tasty concoction to supplement his income as a school teacher.

Several years later, Stewart's Root Beer and the drive-ins were born. It wasn’t until 1947 when New Jersey’s first Stewarts Root Beer drive-in was built in Burlington, New Jersey.


Soon after the Burlington location opened other New Jersey Stewart’s popped up throughout the Garden State in the 1950s, 60s and early 70s.

Stewart’s became a part of New Jersey summers. Most Stewart’s here in New Jersey are open from mid-March through mid-October.

I can remember vividly when I was a kid getting a burger and a large root beer float on a hot summer day. In the car under the white-and-orange covered davenport where it was a little cooler than being out of the hot sun. The waitress would hook up the orange tray to the car window and you knew that very soon your tasty burger and ice-cold refreshing root beer float were on their way.


I remember the painstaking measures I would take to savor the root beer float so I could make it last. No matter what I tried I couldn’t help but woof down that creamy drink of goodness and summer staple. It is a taste that I will always remember and a time that I will always cherish.


Unfortunately, throughout the years, the land underneath most of the Stewart’s Root Beer stands here in New Jersey became very valuable and were sold for commercial and housing development.

There are currently 30 Stewart’s left here in New Jersey. If you get a chance, take a great trip to past summers and enjoy a Stewart’s Root Beer float and a burger. You won’t forget the taste.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.

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