The Pop Shop
On a sunny, unseasonably warm fall day, my husband and I got out of the apartment and headed to Collingswood, New Jersey. We don't often get over into Jersey territory unless we are going to the shore in the summer or doing some shopping at the Cherry Hill mall. However, today we had another reason to go. In Collingswood, NJ, there is a place we have been meaning to try ever since we heard about it on the Food Network in 2008. We were watching Throwdown with Bobby Flay, when we saw a familiar face. The person was Bill "Stink" Fisher, co-owner of The Pop Shop, but we recognized Stink Fisher from when we worked in the film industry.
In 2005, my husband and I worked on the film, Invincible, starring Mark Wahlberg, Elizabeth Banks and Greg Keneer. I was a Costumer while my husband (just boyfriend at the time) was in Locations. Since this was a football movie about the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1970s, Mark Wahlberg was surrounded by a whole football team, some of which were former arena football players and others that had supporting roles in the film. When shooting scenes on the football field on the hottest of days in August, I, as a Costumer, would be on the field straightening and adjusting the uniforms of these huge, sweaty football player actors, one of which was Stink Fisher. Needless to say, these burly men weren't too fond of me and the other Costumers messing with their clothes but we tucked in their shirts, pulled up their socks, and misted them with water because it was our job. It was no surprise that I immediately recognized the face of this actor and now co-owner of The Pop Shop in New Jersey.
After watching the Throwdown with Bobby Flay, I knew this place was going to be good. A 50's style diner with an old fashioned soda fountain, shakes, American comfort food and a juke box-what's not to like! We headed over the Ben Franklin Bridge to Collingswood and after a few wrong turns we finally found the quaint main street, Haddon Avenue, where The Pop Shop is located. The Collingswood main street was such a pleasant surprise-clean and lovely with multiple restaurants and cafes, antique stores, and boutiques. We immediately saw The Pop Shop sign, silver with different color gum ball shapes scattered on the logo embodying the 50's modern motif. We entered into a busy, fun world of families, friends and kids dining on this relaxing Sunday with the Eagles game to look forward to in the evening. The walls were aqua with bright pinks and yellows behind the soda fountain bar with popping colors from ice cream candy toppings and soda fountain syrups. Black and white tiled floors tied in perfectly with the floor to ceiling 1950's black and white photos. A wall of 50's style clocks covered the wall by the juke box.
As we sat in the mod silver chairs at our table, we examined the menu which is set up like a newspaper titled, "The Daily Dish". First headline read "Order breakfast anytime of the day!" The extensive menu and our extreme hunger had us confused with what to order since everything looked divine. The breakfast menu boasts numerous egg creations: Omelettes, Scramblers, and Benedicts. There is something for everyone like the Hoedown Biscuit Scramble, a biscuit served open faced with three scrambled eggs, Jack and Cheddar cheeses, and scallions covered with Country gravy, for the big appetite. The meat lover will enjoy the Peggy Sue Got Hungry, a scramble or omelette with andouille sausage, corn, Cheddar cheese and scallions or the Walking in Memphis, BBQ pulled pork with caramelized onions and Cheddar cheese. For the lox lover, try the Alaskan Benedict, smoked salmon, spinach, and poached eggs topped on a toasted English muffin with Hollandaise sauce. Betty's pancakes, an original, from-scratch family recipe, seemed to be quite popular. You can order Betty's pancakes all by themselves or stuffed with anything from peanut butter chips and Oreo crumbs to fruit and bacon! The menu goes on with a Waffle Sundae, the perfect combination of breakfast and dessert, as well as the Bananas Fosters French Toast or the Hot Apple Stuffed French Toast Sandwich. And this is just the beginning!
Starring in the starters for lunch and dinner is the Crab Pretzel, a jumbo South Philly soft pretzel covered in The Pop Shop's crab dip, Cheddar and Jack cheeses, and Old Bay seasoning. Other contenders in appetizers include the Mini Sliders with American cheese and Onion Rings served with house made remoulade sauce. The French Fry menu gets creative with Wiz Fries, Mozzarella Fries (our choice), Gravy Fries or Collingswood Fries, which are The Pop Shop's Old Bay fries with Cheddar cheese and bacon. Next, we come to the star sandwich among 30 plus "grilled cheese" style sandwiches, The Calvert. The Calvert, seen on Throwdown with Bobby Flay, is roasted turkey, bacon, Jack cheese, avocado and house dressing on focaccia bread. My husband went for this smokey cheesy sandwich with a side of tomato soup. The 5'B's is the Pop Shop's version of Bobby Flay's grilled cheese throwdown recipe, a cheesy delight of brie and goat cheeses, applewood smoked bacon and tomato on country white bread. My sandwich, the Dayton, was a Monte Cristo style grilled cheese with grilled ham and American cheese on Brioche French Toast sprinkled with powdered sugar, the perfect combination of breakfast and lunch. The lengthy list of grilled cheeses offers sandwiches with pretty much any cheese you can think plus many other surprising ingredients like prosciutto, green apples, pesto, and BBQ pork.
Healthy options like any number of the Pop Shop's salads are available except that you will most likely need a to-go box as these salads are served in giant bowls that could feed two or three. If the salad doesn't cut it for you then try the Panther Pride Burger, two 100% Angus beef 1/2 pound patties with tons of cheese on a hamburger roll. If you can finish this one, your picture will be posted on the Pop Shop's website. With a selection of burgers and hot dogs with an array of toppings, blue plate specials such as Chicken Pot Pie, Macaroni and Cheese, and Meatloaf, and a long list of vegetarian options as well as gluten free bread upon request, there is literally no one that can't find satisfaction with this Pop Shop menu.
Dessert has a menu of its own featuring the Pop Shop's Soda Fountain Cokes, Pops, and Ice Creams Sodas made traditionally. The Soda Fountain Cokes are served over ice with swirls of syrup and a shot of fizz. Add scoops of ice cream, seltzer, soda or syrup and you have yourself an Ice Cream Soda. Shakes, Malts, Sundaes and Splits complete this unbelievable thorough throwback menu from the Pop Shop. Pop Shop, we will be back soon because our meal was so filling that we couldn't make it to dessert.
The Pop Shop is attempting to bring back the social aspect of the soda fountain shop. Back in the day, the soda fountain shop usually housed in a drug store, was a gathering place for the locals. The Pop Shop has created a community gathering place with their restaurant and soda fountain by offering many weekly events for the ages. Weekly events such as Saturday Morning Pajama Party (pajama-wearing kids eat for free), Team Trivia Monday Nights (BYOB), Wiener Wednesdays and Sundae Sundays are just some of the regular goings-on at this main street hot spot.
Grab the kids and take your friends! Go to The Pop Shop, and experience a 1950's diner and soda fountain in 2009!