The widely beloved Charlie Brown’s Fresh Grill restaurant in Woodbury reopened today after an 18 month break and remodel. The restaurant is brighter and fresher… but still with that classic style and charm we all loved.
Even the exterior features a brighter white paint.
And yes, Mark from 42Freeway was there at the opening and ate the first official customer ordered Prime Rib. Well, according to my observations!
Heck, I was so excited to get to the restaurant I misread the restaurant’s Facebook post yesterday and showed up at 11am, not realizing they opened at 11:30 am. Doh!
I was initially greeted by a locked door and thought “oh No!”
But rest assured, I realized the error of my ways and with 30 minutes to kill I took a walk around the neighborhood. I visited my new friend Sadiyyah at the also recently reopened Cultural Collective Cafe which is just 40 feet away, and then I was back to Charlie Brown’s at 11:25am.
I walked in with a retired couple who raced me to the front door! Well not exactly but I later learned they were just as excited as I was to get to experience the restaurant again.
Charlie Brown’s Woodbury, Part of the Family
If you’ve been reading the 42Freeway coverage from the restaurant’s closing in the early fall of 2020 through to the reopening, you know that I have a long history with the restaurant.
Back in my Bellmawr early teen years, close family friends where very connected to the restaurant. Sally was my mother’s best friend, and her husband Don opened the Charlie Brown’s restaurant… managing the transformation back then into what everyone has known it as for many decades.
Back in the 80s I got to visit the property when it was mid-transformation. There used to be a smaller bar in that front corner room, and it had just been removed when my father brought me there some 40 years ago.
And then over the years we visited Charlie Brown’s countless times.
With my parents, with my own family and kids (this time bringing my parents along), and then numerous times with just my wife and I.
We’ve always felt a connection with the the place. Good quality food at reasonable prices, in a very comfortable atmosphere.
Many people say the salad bar as being one of the best in the area ever.
I tried it today, and it still lives up to the hype. It really is one of the best.
Many talk about the deliciously tender prime rib. Or tasty steaks.
I had the prime rib today and it was cooked perfectly. Perfectly delicous!
It seems everyone has a connection with the restaurant, even if they don’t trace their roots back to the pre-construction days.
I mean it’s very clear to me based on the huge reaction the posts I’ve done on the reemergence have received, that Charlie Brown’s means a lot… to a lot of people.
Even beyond our area! When I first saw the small mention of Charlie Brown’s reopening in the Woodbury Mayor’s newsletter and wrote that up into an article.. not only did it blow up at 42Freeway, within days it seemed every major media outlet from Philadelphia to New York had their own variation of the original 42Freeway story.
To quote Will Ferrell in Anchorman “I don’t know how to tell you this, but Charlie Brown’s is kind of a big deal”… to a lot of people.
Charlie Brown’s Everything Old (and loved) is New Again!
So the best thing to be said about Charlie Brown’s 2022 is… it’s exactly the same as you remember!
Well not exactly the same. The carpeting is new. The paint is new. The extra rooms on the other side have been brought back to life.
And they updated the name a bit. The classic signage may still say Charlie Brown’s Steakhouse, but now they go by a more broader menu-centric name of Charlie Brown’s Fresh Grill.
And the lighting is new… it’s definitely brighter. That’s a good thing too as it let’s the character shine through.
But everything is in it’s same proper place. I mean, why mess with things that just seemed to work for so long, for so many?
The bathrooms have also been remodeled. They were taken down to the bare studs and rebuilt.
And while we didn’t tour the kitchen I understand it’s been completely remodeled to.
The amazing bar is still there with new seating out front.
Oh and did I mention the beloved salad bar? It’s right back where you remember. Well, from when it was moved several years ago to it’s own dedicated room right off the of hostess entrance and bar.
Prime Rib and Salad Bar Just Like I Remembered.
I walked in just as the staff were congregating for their pre-game pep talk.
And yes, they are expecting a lot of you to be in today and early on, as there was a lot of staff ready to roll!
I think they’ll need all those people!
I gave a quick hello to the General Manager Mike who I met before in one of my previous visits… and I initially didn’t recognize him without his construction clothes!
I was flying solo for this trip, so I headed over to the bar.
I tell people all the time, my wife and I are “Bar people”. We can both be chatty, talking up strangers…. so the seating arrangement of a bar just suits us.
Heck we’ve been to Key West three times and never once got on a boat, and the town is an island after all! But I can tell you something about every bar they have in the keys! ha!
Anyway, at Charlie Brown’s there were two bartenders at the bar… two lovely ladies who were full of smiles and conversation.
The one told me it was the 42Freeway posts that let her know Charlie Brown’s was coming back, which lead to her getting a job there.
I started off with a Stella draft.
I didn’t pay much attention to the draft selection but it does seem they have the original number of taps of about 8 or 12? They aren’t trying to be a beer bar. They are a steak restaurant! Or is that… a Fresh Grill!?
I then decided to jump both feet first and ordered the Prime Rib.
Had some fun conversation with the bartender over the names that all restaurants give the smaller cuts of Prime Rib.
I ordered the Duchess Prime Rib. Go ahead and say it… get it out of your system. I was just happy the smallest version wasn’t called the Pretty Princess.
And I went with “Medium”. Is there any other way to eat prime rib or steak?
Then it was immediately salad bar time.
If you don’t know the drill, after you order your entrée meal you can go to the salad bar. (there are variations on the sides. Be sure to check with your server).
As mentioned, the salad bar is back and beautiful.
It’s a center room refrigerated unit that you can walk completely around to find one delicious thing after another.
My new friends I met on the way into Charlie Brown’s were also at the salad bar, and I got to chatting.
‘Cause that’s what I do!
Turns out Joan and Dave live nearby, are recently retired… and Joan is a fan of 42Freeway!
“My family reads your posts also!”.. which is always wonderful to hear, but I think she was more excited to try out the restaurant.
Joan later told me “We had a fantastic lunch!”
I love salads but i am not a creative salad maker. I leave that skill to my wife who if there were a degree offered in making a salad, she should be given a PhD.
All too often I am amazed at what she is able to put together at a salad bar “Wait, where was that?!”
But as I said I was on my own this time, and had to fend for myself amongst the seemingly endless variety of salad items, sides, and breads.
My food was served very quickly, but I had enough time to watch the staff and management go through all the final “pre-flight checks”. Final words of encouragement and a run down of key menu items.
I went with a medium Prime Rib, and that is exactly what I got.
For those of you who dont appreciate your steak or prime rib with a pink coloring well that’s fine. Just tell them how you like it!
The prime rib was tender, tasty, and with a little bit of salty outer crust.
If you know Prime Rib, at times it can have a lot of fat sections, but my portion was 99% all meat.
And the baked potato? What can be said about that other than it was perfect.
I followed my fancy man Stella with a Corona light as I chatted up a car salesman who sat at the bar near me, waiting for his takeout order. That’s what I do at the bar. I told you, my wife and I are professionals at this.
I noticed the place was picking up steam with customers coming in, with several tables tsken in each of the main rooms and bar area.
On my way out I met Felicia who was greeting guests and I believe operates the front of the house.
I had commented yesterday on their Facebook post that I was coming in for the opening and it was very nice that Felicia was looking for me to say hello and thank you!.
I mean.. it’s one of the best parts of writing the site to see the happiness people have in reading and following the site “Me and my girlfriends read all your posts and share with each other!”
We chatted for a short bit before the next customer came in and Felicia went welcomed them back to Charlie Brown’s.
It all just felt right. It felt normal. Which considering the last 2 years we’ve all had to deal with… is the exact prescription we all needed.
Links and Location
Charlie Brown’s Fresh Grill (Reopened April 26, 2022 !!)
111 N Broad St