If I Owned a Restaurant, This Is What It Would Be Like

I have no plans to own a restaurant, now or in the future, but if I did, I know exactly what restaurant I would model mine after – The Pop Shop in Collingswood, NJ.

What first attracted me to the Pop Shop was that they had vegan pancakes on the menu. I love pancakes, but once I became a vegan, it was one of the things I missed most. So finding a place that made vegan pancakes, even if it was 35 minutes away, was well worth the trip.

The Pop Shop is a classic American diner type restaurant, offering seats at a counter in addition to table and booth seating, and lots of options on the menu, including several vegan choices. They are well known for their grilled cheese sandwiches, one of which was featured on “Throwdown with Bobby Flay” on The Food Network.


But it’s not just the food that keeps me coming back, it’s the whole experience. (be sure to read to the end to see my favorite Pop Shop tradition).

It’s a family oriented place, particularly for those with young kids. Each youngster that comes in gets a “freshly made” helium balloon, there’s a pile of kids’ books for kids to take back to their tables and read, and kids are given paper chef hats that they can draw on.

The Pop Shop also has several special events throughout the year.

There’s Superhero week, where a different superhero comes into the restaurant to meet the kids, and kids are encouraged to dress in their superhero outfits.


They have a Halloween Party and Santa Claus visits at Christmas time.

halloweenpopshop  santaclauspopshop

They have a Disney/Pixar day.


They have a full week of celebrating Dr. Seuss, featuring a kid’s menu of wild and wacky Seuss-inspired fare including Daisy-Head Mayzie Burgers, Grinch’s Roast Beast, Pink Yink Ink Drink, and, of course — Green Eggs and Ham! The Cat in the Hat even makes an appearance.


They also have several ongoing traditions.

  • Kids eat free on Saturday mornings if they show up in their pajamas.
  • There’s a weekly quizzo type event.
  • Tuesday mornings coffee is only five cents, with a $3.00 purchase
  • On Tuesday nights, there’s a balloon artist (one of my favorite type of artists!)


But perhaps the best tradition at The Pop Shop is the way they celebrate a customer’s birthday.

The waiter yells out to get all the diner’s attention, mentions that it is someone’s birthday, encourages everyone to sing and clap along, and then has the birthday boy or girl blow out a candle.

Here’s a video clip I found on YouTube of one such birthday celebration:

The staff is also quite friendly, and there’s never a long wait for the food once you are seated (there can be a wait, especially on weekends, to get a table).

So if you’re looking for some good food served in a great environment, I’d highly recommend the Pop Shop.

It’s what I imagine life was like in small town America in the 1950s, and I love it.


Published by

Jim Borden

Accounting Prof. at Villanova; happily married for 30+ years; father of 3 outstanding young men; vegan; interests: fitness, creativity, education, blogging, social media.

4 thoughts on “If I Owned a Restaurant, This Is What It Would Be Like”

  1. Dear Jim,

    Thanks SOOOO much for the awesome post. I’m going to share it with our staff. I love all the events we do but what I love more is my staff and the impact we can have on our customers. So glad that we have given you vegan pancakes and happy experiences. That’s what it’s all about.


    1. You are quite welcome, and thank you for your reply. We love the Pop Shop, it’s got stuff for people of all ages, and all tastes. I also love how creative you and your staff are with all of the special events. I wish you continued success!


      1. Jim – when Connie and I built The Pop Shop it was exactly what you described it as …a throwback to the 1950’s. We are all about community and creating memories. Thank you so much for the wonderful blog and for just taking the time out of your day to make us smile. And ditto on everything that Connie said. 🙂 Stink


        1. Hi Stink, Thank you for taking the time to comment. Congratulations to you and Connie for building a business that has accomplished exactly what you wanted – a place for community and creating memories. We look forward to many more visits



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *