BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse is drafting plans to build a new free-standing building (pad site) in a corner of the Deptford Mall Parking Lot.
This is VERY early in the development stages. Being all new construction this would have to go to the Planning Board, and possibly the Zoning Board… neither of which have been planned.
First let’s get a few key questions I know you are going to ask, out of the way. But keep scrolling down for more information!
When? There is just no way to know at this point. The building hasn’t even been presented for approval
How do you know this? Several weeks or months ago a loyal follower told me they heard BJ’s Restaurant was looking to come to the Deptford Mall area. I did not post on it because I could not find any solid evidence. Earlier this month I attended an awesome event held by the South Jersey Chamber of Commerce, and in the Deptford presentation Mayor Medany listed BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse as an upcoming new business!
Is it a brewery? While BJ’s Brewhouse does brew their own line of beer which is sold in the restaurants… it seems they centrally brew the beer in 7 locations around the country and then ship it to their 200+ restaurants. So I don’t think they will be actually brewing beer in Deptford, but we’ll have to wait for the Planning Board meeting to confirm (which is not scheduled yet).
Liquor License: BJ’s Restaurant and Brewery locations in New Jersey require a full liquor license, which are scarce in Deptford. But if you remember, during the Covid quarantine the Ruby Tuesday location in the mall closed, making it an unused liquor license. Purely a theory but I imagine BJ’s has a deal to take that license over. Round 1 is using a license that was originally allocated for a project on Route 47 that never materialized.
Why not the Don Pablos building? As our readers are well aware, a Miller’s Ale House was planned for the closed Don Pablos Building in front of Target less than a mile from the Mall (and since cancelled). BJ’s Restaurant will instead be an all new construction in the Deptford Mall parking lot perimeter (more on that later in this post).
So I don’t know why they didn’t head over to the old Don Pablos building. But remember… the town doesn’t pick the places that come in, nor decide where they go. The execs at BJ’s Brewhouse spend their Company’s money to develop where they feel is the most lucrative.
Why not inside the Deptford Mall? Mostly again that is up to the business leaders of the companies, but while Deptford Mall lost Ruby Tuesday as a beer-serving restaurant, they did pick up Round 1 entertainment center, which has a full bar.
BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse
BJ’s Brewhouse is a national brewery and restaurant based out of California, with over 200 locations. The closest location to our area is in Toms River New Jersey, which is about a 90 min drive.
In addition to Toms River, they also have locations in Teterboro NJ, Lancaster PA and Allentown PA
While 42Freeway hasn’t been to a BJ’s Brewhouse, the best way to explain them to 42Freeway are readers is…
… BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse seems most similar to Uno’s or Miller’s Ale House, but with their own brand of BJ’s Brewhouse beers. Well maybe closer to Uno’s menu as there seems to have been a similar menu progression with BJ’s Brewhouse and Uno’s.
Looking at the menu we see a variety of delicious items that you would expect from a beer serving restaurant; delicious loaded burgers, spicy chicken wings and salads and more.
Entrees include salmon, crusted chicken, shrimp scampi and more.
But I think what really defines the BJ’s Brewhouse signature dish is… pizza! And the pizza seems to focus on the Chicago deep dish style.
In fact, in researching BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse we found out they originally were called BJ’s Chicago Pizza! In 1996 they started brewing their own beer, and at that time changed their name to focus more on beer and the broader menu offerings.
Which I feel is a similar pattern of Uno’s who also originally mostly focused on Chicago Style pizza but then evolved into a full restaurant that also sells deep dish pizza.
Interestingly, Deptford’s Unos also makes beer a key facet of their dining offerings…. In the 42Freeway area, Uno’s offers one of the best craft beer selection of the national based eatery, while in comparison BJ’s Brewhouse brews their own beers.
Beer and Drink Menu
As we mentioned, BJ’s Brewhouse brews their own line of craft beers in select locations around the country. We are not clear at this point if Deptford will have an actual brewery in the store (I would think not)
From their website:
For over 25 years we’ve paid close attention to every little detail of our brewing process. As a result, we offer 11 award-winning signature beers and cider on tap. In addition, we release over 10 rotating seasonal beers throughout the year to our lineup so you can enjoy a refreshing change of pace. We’ve basically got a beer for everyone, and any occasion.BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse Website
Looking at their online printed menu, in the beer category they only list the BJ’s house brewed beers.
But since they will have a full liquor license, the do offer wine and signature cocktails!
The signature cocktail list has about 2 dozen different choices including mojitos, martini’s, mules, margaritas and a few Tito’s Vodka based choices.
To explain the location of where the planned BJ’s Restaurant is located, let’s take a step back and talk about the unique Deptford Mall property ownership structure. (Well it may be common in the Mall industry, but I don’t think consumers realize this!)
While the full property is regularly known as “Macerich’s Deptford Mall”, and we as consumers consider it one massive building with just a lot of different sized tenants… In actuality, the Macerich Company does not own the full connected building and surrounding parking lots!
The original ownership structure when developed in the 70s was that the Mall was the core two story straight line segment of the mall… the center open walkway area and the smaller stores connected to it. The Mall (Macerich) owns those store buildings and has lease agreements with those smaller tenants. That all makes sense.
But the unique thing is, the large Department Stores which are also connected to the Mall own their own buildings and a corresponding large chunk of the parking lots!
The taxpayers for what we consider as the Mall property are actually Macerich, Macy’s, JC Penney’s, Boscov’s and previously Sears. They are all separately owned properties with separate tax bills.
Well in the last few years one aspect changed from this original arrangement.
When Sears was planning to close the Deptford Mall location, the Macerich company was concerned about the impact a large empty anchor store would have on the Mall, so they decided to take matters into their own hands and bought out the Sears property.
And this is why we’ve seen the really awesome redevelopment of that Sears building with Round 1, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Crunch Fitness moving in!
Even the new Republic Bank is tied to the “Macerich bought Deptford Sears property” because that part of the parking lot was owned by Sears!
So where is BJ’s Brewhouse Planning to Develop?
Well the very direct answer is; The Mall parking lot corner of Clements Bridge Road and Almonesson Road, right at the intersection. This is the far corner from the Macy’s store.
And this is where it all ties together… Macy’s
So I’ve told you how all the anchor department stores own their buildings and a chunk of the parking lots.
So it seems Macy’s was hanging back watching what Macerich is doing over in the old Sears lot with a new Republic Bank, and a now cancelled Krispy Kreme…
… and the folks at Macy’s thought “hmmmm we own a big piece of parking lot that is rarely used. And it also goes all the way to a very busy corner intersection just like the new Republic Bank building does. Maybe we should market our Macy’s parking lot corner for development of pad-site stores”
And BJ’s Restaurants enters the game!
So we don’t have a site plan for the project (did I mention it hasn’t been scheduled for Deptford Planning review), but the lease listing has been online for at least a year or more, and it very clearly highlights the deep corner of the Macy’s parking lot.
And in his presentation, Deptford Mayor Medany stated “Macy’s Parking Lot”
South Jersey Chamber of Commerce
Just a shout-out and thank you to the South Jersey Chamber of Commerce. They are holding a series of really interesting County based economic impact events (I attended Gloucester County) and it really was a very well put together and informative event.
Looking at the event calendar, they actually do a TON of interesting and valuable events! It is SO much more than just networking “here is my business card” events… they are really getting into the economic core of the region by sharing information, and offering valuable business improvement events such as: Plotting Your Course To Success!
If you want more information regarding becoming a member, reach out to Heather. Information and contact details are here.