Famous for their Chicken Wings, cold beer and local bands, the Pine Hill Tavern is starting the process to upgrade the building and property which has been mostly untouched for decades!
They recently cleared the large adjacent lot to expand and shift the parking lot over, to make room for projects closer to the tavern… including future plans for an outdoor tiki bar!
Pine Hill Tavern is open during the renovations. We stopped in last weekend for some delicious chicken wings and a beer or two,
And yes Rock n Roll star Mark of 42Freeway has rocked out at the Pine Hill Tavern many times! 🙂
Well let’s take a step back!
In 1976, two best friends Jay Rudderow and Harry opened up the Pine Hill Tavern… yes it’s the Tavern’s 45th Anniversary! And yes, that wood paneling on the walls is probably from 1976!
Over the last 10 years or so, while the ownership was split between the two families, it seems Jay and his two children were the most active in the day-to-day operation of the Pine Hill Tavern.
We’ve been chatting with daughter Dee-Dee who tells us during the last 10 years or so both her and brother Tim helped out working in the kitchen, and they both got their bartending license so they could fill in behind the bar.
They were learning all aspects of what it takes to make the Pine Hill Tavern successful.
Dee-Dee says she spent most of her weekends through High School working the kitchen making those delicious Buffalo Chicken Wings!
In 2020, with the Covid challenges impacting restaurants around the globe and of course also impacting the Pine Hill Tavern… it was felt the best move was to come back stronger! Bigger and Better!
So earlier this year the Rudderow’s decided to move forward with upgrades, and to do that… the three Rudderow family members bought out the other (Harry’s) family and now Jay, Dee-Dee and Tim own the Pine Hill Tavern within the Rudderow family!
Several Phases of Upgrades
So a very obvious change taking place at the property is the clearing of land adjacent to the tavern… the corner behind the tavern on Erial Road at Cloverdale Ave,
This area is set to become an expanded and relocated parking area for the Pine Hill Tavern.
The reason for this is… well sure they could use the extra parking regardless.
But the Rudderow’s have plans to improve their outdoor dining options.
The plans are still being developed but they are looking to build an outdoor Tiki Bar which will sit closer to the current tavern building.
So with that new planned Tiki project taking up some of the existing parking lot, it’s clear they would need to develop additional parking elsewhere… hence the lot clearing.
Dee-Dee tells us they are still developing the plans for the Tiki Bar, working with land use experts and engineers. They hope to present the outdoor project to the Pine Hill Zoning board later this year.
Remodeling Starts Now!
Maybe I am out of order in the timeline of what is changing at the Pine Hill Tavern. The outdoor tiki bar will come later, but it’s tough to avoid the cleared lot so I rolled with that news first.
What is starting right now, are upgrades to the core bar building!
The first item in their plans is to upgrade the bathrooms!
I feel like I’ve been in every local bar in our area especially during my 10 years in a coverband, and the quality of bathrooms always jump out at me. ha!
Let me explain. Well first off I love talking to bar owners…. living vicariously through them because I don’t have the guts to jump into the bar businesses myself. So I am always looking at things from a “If I owned this place, what would I do” perspective.
And for bathrooms… Guys have it easy when it’s time for the beer to remove itself, but for the ladies… well it’s a different experience of course!
So I always think “You have the make the ladies bathrooms nice. Or at least decent”. I absolutely think the quality of the bathrooms in an establishment impacts the decision of a woman spending the evening there.
Who remembers Dominic’s Tavern (Bellmawr) bathrooms from 15-20 years ago?! Felt like you needed a body guard to go pee. Ha! Much different now.. much different bar… and today there are as many women in the place on a busy Friday night as there are men. And yes, the bathrooms help.
So anyway… I’ve written way too much on bar bathrooms. Seriously, would anyone else write about this?
Refreshed Inside and Out!
Also in the current renovation plans are new big windows to let the light in, and all new siding!
They are also expanding the kitchen and adding a handicap ramp.
From an earlier chat with Dee-Dee she told us they were looking to upgrade the HVAC system and and adding more beers on tap. Refreshing up the interior.
And even with all the upgrades, Dee-Dee says “We want to keep that dive bar feel”
Which is a good thing. The locally owned South Jersey “this feels like home” watering hole is becoming a dying breed as national restaurants buy up all of the liquor licenses. All those restaurants around the Deptford Mall? Most of those liquor licenses where at one time a local bar or restaurant, like the Red Robin in the Mall has the license from the Krazy Kat.
Earlier I mentioned Dominic’s Tavern in Bellmawr… I go way back to when it was the Woodshed when it was much smaller and looked more like the Pine Hill Tavern today. But today after significant upgrades and expansion, Dom’s in Bellmawr is one of the most popular local bar restaurants in the area. We stopped in last Friday night and literally every single seat in the place was filled for hours, and 90% of the people were eating food. That would be a really great success model for the Pine Hill Tavern follow.
We’ll be back to check in on the Pine Hill Tavern as they look to get approval for their Tiki Bar, and the remodel.
Links and Location
Pine Hill Tavern – Open During Renovations!
1323 Erial Road
Pine Hill NJ 08021