I recently stopped in for lunch
at the Lower Bank Tavern on Route 542 in Lower Bank. Although
a "Google" search (see map below)
will locate this restaurant in Egg Harbor City (due to zip code
sharing), this hidden gem is in Burlington County, just 10 minutes
west of State Highway 9/ New Gretna, NJ, and 10 minutes east of
Batsto Historic Village.
The Lower Bank Tavern isn't fancy,
but it's real; filled with real people and offering real food. Make
that real GOOD people and real GOOD food! To start with, our waitress
couldn't have been nicer - attentive but not pushy, and genuinely
considerate and friendly. Only in the Pines!
daughter Amanda, my grandson Tyler and I sat in the
dining room adjoining the bar. Our waitress immediately brought
over a coloring book and crayons for Tyler, so it was comforting
to know that children are welcome here!
On this day, several specials were
offered, including a 12-oz. prime rib for $12.99, a four-piece fried
chicken dinner for $9.99, fish and chips for $6.99, and a tuna casserole
for only $4.99! I decided on a classic: the Lower Bank Burger -
a half-pound burger on a roll, topped with chipotle aioli (yes,
Pineys know what aioli is!) and Monterey Jack, served with lettuce,
tomato and fries. Amanda opted for a fried flounder sandwich. My
burger came medium rare, exactly as ordered. It was thick, juicy,
and served on a full-bodied roll - not the generic airy burger roll
one might expect! The aioli was finger-licking good, and the fries
were homemade and served super hot - oh, so goooood! Amanda's flounder
sandwich was served on a hoagie-type roll of the same great homemade
taste. The flounder was very lightly breaded, and also served with
lettuce, tomato and those delicious fries! Her bonus was the delicious
tartar sauce with an exciting kick to it. It sure tasted homemade
Owner/Chef Bill knows what he's doing
in the kitchen. From what I tasted, his goal is to provide great
quality, well-prepared food at a reasonable price, and with a certain
special flair that he's very proud of. I only wish I lived close
enough to be a "regular" at this very special place!
Regular menu items include entrées
such as a grilled NY strip for only $12.99, fried shrimp or scallop
platter for $12.99; 1/2 pound burgers such as my Lower Bank for
$5.99, a Bacon-blue cheese burger for $6.99, a Smothered Veggie
burger at $6.99, and others; sandwiches including Hot pastrami and
Swiss, or a Reuben for $6.99, Chicken Parm or a roast beef hoagie
for $5.99 or a French Dip on garlic bread for $7.99; bar pies, salads,
soups, and lots of munchie foods. I fully intend to return for the
strip steak, which is my favorite, in the near future!
Thirsty? Lower Bank Tavern offers
$2 Pabst pints and $2 Keystone Lites! Throw in a big screen TV for
all the sports (including NASCAR, of course!) a pool table, pinball
machine, darts, and some of the nicest people you'll ever meet,
and this great unpretentious place tucked in the midst of the peace
and tranquility of the Pine Barrens might just be your new favorite
"undiscovered" place to unwind.
Questions? Give Bill a call at 609-965-6936.
Whether you call or stop in, and whether for lunch, dinner, or just
a cold one, tell him that Cathy from PineyPower sent you!!!
From the GARDEN STATE PARKWAY SOUTHBOUND:
Exit 52; follow signs to Route 9 South; bear right on Route 542/Batsto
Village; Lower Bank Tavern is 5.5 miles on the right.
From the GARDEN STATE
PARKWAY NORTHBOUND: Exit 50 to Route 9 North (New Gretna/Batsto
Village). Make hard left onto Route 542 West.; Lower Bank Tavern
is 5.5 miles on the right.
From Route 206 and points
west: Route 30 (White Horse Pike) EAST to Route 542 EAST. Continue
past Batsto Historic Village, Route 563; Lower Bank Tavern is about
2 miles east of Route 563 on the left.