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.
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!
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.