Starting at 10 a.m., people were lined up for the opening at noon. At noon exactly, the line had finally started to move but those in the middle of the line didn’t get to the cool air until around 2 pm. Once inside, however, the hungry mobs were enveloped by the enticing aroma of onions and fried food, coupled with the warm environment of reds and yellows, and, on opening day, a chance to meet Flay and have a picture taken.
After placing one’s order and taking a number, there is the choice of seating. Family style tables with lime colored chairs are available at the back and there’s a long ribbon-shaped table in the front. Once seated, you place your number on the table and the helpful and accommodating servers bring you your drinks and food.
When the food arrives, its simple, no-frills presentation is fitting of the casual and fun atmosphere: BBP is about good food. Sitting in the middle of a plate paired only with a pickle half, the “Crunchburger” is tempting right away.
The medium cooked angus burger is succulent and tender, sitting atop a simple, seeded bun that supports the juiciness of the burger. On top of the beef is double American cheese, perfectly melted and spilling over the sides, and a pile of potato chips which provide a mouth-watering crunch.
Of the few side dish selections, the sweet potato fries are a stand out. Perfectly salted and perfectly crunchy, they’re not dried out or too mushy and are a steal at only $3.
The ease of ordering take-out with BBP is a significant draw. You can order ahead on their website and just pick it up. Or, in the case of mall employees, it can be delivered right to you.
“It’s going to be so convenient having real, good food right in the mall. The fact that it’s affordable is even better,” said Andrew Zucker of Sayreville, a Barnes and Noble employee.
Those who met Flay on opening day seemed satisfied with the experience.
“He was so nice,” said Dana O’Donnell of Mercerville after getting her picture taken with Flay. “I thought, considering he was so busy trying to get a restaurant open, he was very cordial and so nice to all the fans waiting to meet him,” she added.
“He looked tired,” Sarah Scarantino of Mercerville said. “You could tell he’s definitely put a lot of energy into his restaurant.”
She added, “The service was fantastic. Even after you ordered your stuff, you still had people coming to your table asking, do you need anything? How’s your food? I thought we were going to be waiting a lot longer to get actual food on our table.”
O’Donnell also mentioned the service at BBP. “It took us about ten minutes to have everything, and if it’s that fast on opening day, imagine how fast it’ll be on a regular day. I even got a burger without a bun and it was still delicious,” said O’Donnell, who suffers from celiac disease and can’t have gluten.
“You could tell everything was fresh ingredients, almost like a farm-to-table kind of thing,” said O’Donnell.
Bobby’s Burger Palace offers a free rewards program. You get a card and, for every dollar you spend, you get a point. Once you reach 100 points, you receive a free burger, instead of paying the average price of $7.
It is a very clever incentive to come back. And from the warm and inviting atmosphere, the impeccable service and fantastic food, there’s no reason not to!