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Second Shake Shack in Cherry Hill?  New Walt Whitman Service Plaza on NJ Turnpike.

Second Shake Shack in Cherry Hill?  New Walt Whitman Service Plaza on NJ Turnpike.
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An all new Walt Whitman Service Plaza opened on the southbound side of the New Jersey Turnpike last August, featuring Starbucks, Popeye’s, Applegreen convenience store, Sunoco A1 Plus convenience store… and Shake Shack! Tesla Superchargers are also on site.

While you can’t get to the plaza and Shake Shack directly from Cherry Hill, it actually is located within the borders of Cherry Hill Township!

Which I think is interesting because there already is a Shake Shack in Cherry Hill (Haddonfield Road) and while this Service Plaza is technically a second location for the Township… I bet most people in Cherry Hill don’t know it’s there, in their own town!

Not that Shake Shack is a super big deal, but they are a well loved, yet still growing restaurant brand with only 262 locations in the USA… compare that with almost 14,000 for McDonald’s!

The Walt Whitman Service Plaza is named after one of America’s most influential poet’s in American literature, who for several years lived in Camden. To visit you’d have to be traveling South on the NJ Turnpike, which at minimum means starting at the Mt Laurel Interchange.

Wednesday morning I was actually looking to see if the classic Roy Rogers was still operating in the Service Plaza, when I realized the entire facility was rebuilt and had completely new offerings!

Of course I immediately headed over to check it out. I also reached out to the NJTA media team on Wednesday to get more details on the rebuilds.

I even filmed a short “vertical video clip” while there. Instagram TikTok

And then today I realized a really strange coincidence… literally the same time as I was eating my Shake Shack burger at the plaza, North Jersey based writer Larry Higgs published an update on the service plazas… and you can read that here:

But keep scrolling for more from 42Freeway on the new Turnpike Plaza, and the two that will be opening soon in Salem County.

NJ Turnpike Walt Whitman Service Plaza

The Walt Whitman Plaza is a completely new construction on the southbound side of the Turnpike between Mount Laurel (Exit 4) and Bellmawr/Runnemede (Exit 3).

The plaza closed for the rebuild in September of 2022 and reopened in August of 2023.

The exterior design is modern and inviting, almost looking like a Company headquarters.

The new design of the facility puts the restaurants in a row (Shake Shack, Popeye’s Chicken, and Starbucks) with shared dining area seating positioned along the front glass.

At one end is the Applegreen store, and the other end is A1-Plus Sunoco Convenience store and then the gas station.

This new facility is part of a 2017 agreement that Governor Christie made with HMS Host who is the food vendor at the Turnpike and Garden State Parkway service plazas…  To have HMS Host develop 8 new service area buildings and refurbish six others, at a total cost of $250 million!

The significant thing is the vendor is picking up the entire tab for the rebuilds and remodeling as part of the agreement!   Neither taxpayers nor tolls had to put a dollar out for these huge initiative.

Applegreen has since bought HMS Host and took over the agreement with the NJ Turnpike. 

Salem County Service Plazas

I mentioned multiple Service Plazas being rebuilt, and two of remaining locations to be addressed are also down our way in Southern New Jersey, in Penns Grove Salem County where there are two service plazas at Mile Marker 5 (northbound and southbound).

Located between Exits 1 and 2, the northbound side is named John Fenwick, who was the first settler of Salem County back in the 1600s!

NJ Turnpike Walt Whitman Service Plaza. Check out my short clip Instagram TikTok

Located in the same mile marker but on the southbound side is a service plaza named after Clara Barton, who in the 1800s started New Jersey’s first free public school, and then later founded the American Red Cross… which was an idea that grew from her experience as a nurse during the Civil War.

The article has the details on what new restaurants will be in the two new Salem County Service Plazas.

  • Clara Barton: Chick-Fil-A, Burger King, Auntie Annes, and Dunkin
  • John Fenwick: Nathan’s, Burger King, Auntie Anne’s and Dunkin.

I’ll keep tabs on the reopening of the plazas and will stop down to check them out!