Railroad restaurant bites the dust, Surf City

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Railroad restaurant bites the dust, Surf City

Post by German » Mon Apr 17, 2006 8:45 am

I just read in my local paper that the Express Restaurant in Surf City, Long Beach Island, has been sold. The owner wanted to get out of the business and the new owners bought the property with the intention of builing two houses on it. Moving and preserving the club car and two boxcars is being looked into, but since they have been so heavily modified for their current use, it may not be financially feasable for them to be used for anything else but a restaurant or perhaps a local museum.

I'm not sure of the history of these cars, or if there was even a connection with the island's railroad, but they were at least a reminder of what was once there. Time marches on and history keeps getting erased. :(


The Express Restaurant

Post by Trainbuff109 » Thu Apr 20, 2006 12:45 am

:( I can't believe the news that another railroad themed restaurant has faded into history. Last summer, I had the chance to visit LBI and got to have an early dinner there. The food was pretty good for diner fare and I was hopeing to visit it again this year (2006).
Alas, all good things seem to disappear and become just a memory.
I wish that the railcars can be saved instead of becoming scrap iron.

NJ Vike
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Post by NJ Vike » Thu Apr 20, 2006 5:50 am

That is truly unfortunate. I was passing by there for the first time in 25 years and noticed this place. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough time to stop and take pictures.

What RR are these cars from?

Another nice RR place is CB Huntington's. It's on RT9 but I don't remember the town. It's just south of Toms River.
If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there.

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Post by OCtrainguy » Thu Apr 20, 2006 6:09 am

NJ Vike wrote:Another nice RR place is CB Huntington's. It's on RT9 but I don't remember the town. It's just south of Toms River.
CB Huntington is in Bayville. It shares property with Blackbeard's. In addition to three running trains, (one is overhead) they have a lot of old photos from Ocean County.



Post by henry6 » Thu Apr 20, 2006 1:31 pm

Another one changing hands is The Riverside on Rt.46 west of Vienna. Its the GM&O dining car AZELEA. Owners have sold and will leave at the end of next week. New owner will close for remodling. What happens after that is not known at this moment. Joanie and Tony have operated it for the past 20 years with excellent meals at very reasonable prices. They are retiring to Florida and will be sorely missed by those of us who enjoyed the repast, the atmosphere, and the company. No matter what the new owner has in mind, I urge everyone to get to the Riverside before Joanie and Tony leave. You won't regret it.

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Post by FireChaserE3 » Thu Apr 20, 2006 3:34 pm

Another RR themed restaurant to be closed.....Hopefully it won't get replaced by yet another TGIFriday's. Seems that we're losing too many of the Mom&Pop owned theme restaurants and getting way too many of the national chain restaurants w/ their generic menus and atmospheres.

Jim F.


The Express Restaurant

Post by Trainbuff109 » Sun Apr 23, 2006 1:04 am

I went looking through some of my stuff that I saved from last summer (2005) and found a menu from The Express Restaurant, On The Boulevard, Surf City New Jersey 08008.
The drawn picture of the restaurant shows the 1926 club car as an ERIE #2999. Here is the write up from the menu;
The Express Restaurant is constructed around three railroad cars; a club car and two freight cars. The club car measures 75 feet long and weighs 168,000 pounds. The front wheels turn a drive shaft connected to a generator that charged four banks of batteries, two on each side. They stored enough electricity to support the car independently for three days, although the car is also equipped with an AC-DC switch gear for station stops.
The club car was built in 1926, was completely air conditioned, and featured a stainless steel kitchen, complete with electric refrigerator and freezer and a gas stove. To the rear is a electrically cooled water fountain. The car was equipped to transport 16 people in luxurious club chairs and a dormitory.
The two freight cars were reconditioned and kept authentic so as to depict the historical importance such cars played in the commercial development of Long Beach Island. Freight cars like these once hauled fish and seaweed harvested on the island to distant markets. Each weigh approximately 47,000 pounds empty; the weigh of a loaded diesel truck barreling down the boulevard.
Thank you for your patronage. We look forward to seeing you again soon. The Management

And so ends the info from the menu. Oh yeah, I also bought a t-shirt from this place, I didn't know at the time it might become a collector's item? trainbuff109

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Post by NJTRailfan » Wed Apr 26, 2006 4:25 am

The day (God Forbid) that Casey Jones shuts down then I will be upset. One of the great ones still around. Not too many left. Hopefully a Mom/Pop place will open up. If it does happen to be a TGI or Ruby's then hopefully they'll keep the theme going as they tend to do in towns who are very patial to it and have a long history. To change would damage the resterautns relationship with customers and the town which woud be they will be going udner soon.
"And remember, you can make a difference."
John Walsh (America's Most Wanted)

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Post by Pete » Wed Apr 26, 2006 2:06 pm

I'm sorry to say that the last time I was at the Iron Horse in Westwood, the food was abysmal, the service only marginally better. Felt like they were so busy that they just weren't bothering to try very hard, not a good sign at all. Sad, as I've been dropping in there periodically my whole life.

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Post by RichM » Wed Apr 26, 2006 2:45 pm

Funny, Pete, I ate there last night with my son... place seems to be trying to stake out a new identity. Maybe it's the no smoking stuff, but the crowd was different, seemed like it was alternative lifestyles night. The food was good but the service poor. Not for lack of trying, but more of ignorance. Waiter forgot the table numbers, walked to another table with our food, was refused, went to walk back to the kitchen, I had to say, "Hey, it's ours!" And he never came back with another round of drinks. Then he asked if we wanted dessert. Oh well, maybe he'll have the job figured out in another week.
These landmarks don't last forever because they don't re-invent themselves, or at least spruce up the places. There's so much memorabilia around, old photos that can be reproduced, and not used. I was thinking about the earlier posts about TGI Fridays, and recalling Victoria Stations and I believe Tweakingham Stations in the south. Never figured out why a British railroad was a good theme for a franchise but an American wasn't.

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Post by BlockLine_4111 » Wed Apr 26, 2006 6:12 pm

OCtrainguy wrote:
NJ Vike wrote:Another nice RR place is CB Huntington's. It's on RT9 but I don't remember the town. It's just south of Toms River.
CB Huntington is in Bayville. It shares property with Blackbeard's. In addition to three running trains, (one is overhead) they have a lot of old photos from Ocean County.
Is CB Huntington on the old TR&B ROW and do they have a few pcs. of rolling stock?


Post by German » Sun May 21, 2006 8:59 am

While I haven't seen the newspaper article myself yet, a trusted source just informed me that the cars at the Express Restaurant have been aquired by the owner of Sweet Jenny's restaurant in Barnegat. If this really happens, the move should be a good fit. The owners of Sweet Jennys have decorated the interior of their restaurant with a 50's and 60's decor, lining the walls lots of toys, including model trains. I believe the owner is a train buff and should do a good job with these cars. Lets keep our fingers crossed that the move doesn't present any problems.

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Post by pennsy » Sun May 21, 2006 9:36 am

Hi German,

I agree, it should add years to the life of those cars. In Southern California we have similar situations. My kid grew up with Imagination Station. A couple of old heavyweight diners and the kitchen between them. The kids loved the decor and the "crew members". In Barstow, on the way to Las Vegas, the McDonalds is the same. A bunch of saved, preserved and highly used old diners and passenger railcars. Of course, if you have a few bucks, buy your own and become a privately owned railcar affecionado.


Post by German » Sun May 21, 2006 10:27 am

Good idea Alan! But I'll let you be the one to suggest that to my wife :wink:

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Post by pennsy » Sun May 21, 2006 1:03 pm

Sorry, But, I can't run that fast.

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