Skip to Content

PJ Whelihan’s Planning Deptford Location

PJ Whelihan’s Planning Deptford Location
Reading Time: 6 minutes

The well-known PJ Whelihan’s restaurant brand has set its sights on Deptford New Jersey for it’s next location, working on finalizing agreements to take over the Joe’s Crab Shack property which is located in the Deptford Landing (Sam’s Club) complex on Clements Bridge Road.

Three weeks ago 42Freeway broke the news of Joe’s Crab Shack closing in Deptford. Their last day is set for May 26th.

Honestly, I’ve actually known about PJ’s coming to Deptford BEFORE I knew that Joe’s was closing!

And now I have about 10 different touch points that lock in PJ Whelihan’s plans to take over the Joe’s Crab Shack building in Deptford.

To be clear, I’ve also exchanged emails with PJ’s Executive Management and they simply state they can’t comment.  They also told me they read 42Freeway… so I’ve been politely sitting back for several weeks with this information waiting for the right time to announce.

But when another 42Freeway reader calls Joe’s Crab Shack this week to order food for pick up, and says “Hey, I’m really sorry about your restaurant closing… do you know what’s coming next for the building” and the young Joe’s employee on the other end of the line responds “oh yeah, PJ Whelihan’s is taking over the location”… 

…well that’s a solid indication it’s time for me to get my story online, because when the server staff of the prior restaurant knows what’s coming in next, then it’s not too long before everyone else knows.

Someone has probably already put it on TikTok!

So to be clear I have a lot of confirming aspects on this, but first let’s synch up on the story and PJ Whelihan’s!

PJ Whelihan’s is part of a Delaware Valley based restaurant group with 28 locations, featuring six different concepts. PJ Whelihan’s is the largest and most known of the concepts featuring ice cold beers, delicious wings, burgers and entrees… all in a comfortable and casual setting.

Joe’s Crab Shack Deptford is Closing

For my story on Joe’s Crab Shack closing, I left one key piece out of the story regarding how I found out about it.

Truthfully, I first found out that PJ Whelihan’s was looking to open a location in Deptford, but I wasn’t 100% sure where.

I know Deptford now has two available liquor licenses, but I started doing some “Googling” which quickly led me to a commercial real estate listing for the Joe’s Crab Shack property.  

Joe’s Crab Shack Deptford – Last Day May 26th.

I have to admit it was a little strange to see the listing at the time, because no one had announced that Joe’s in Deptford was closing! And here was this public online real estate listing… very clearly calling out Joe’s Crab Shack Deptford property was available for lease.

I called and emailed the Shopping Center representatives who put up the listing but could not reach anyone (they never responded).

Honestly that real estate listing alone was enough for most media outlets to write an article.

But the next morning about 20 minutes before Joe’s opened I went over and spoke to Joe’s local management.  I intentionally did this in a way as to not make any of the staff employees aware of the conversation.

I’m not so sure the manager knew that the closing was coming soon (neither did I at that time)… but they gave the indication that it was somewhat expected.

Joe’s Crab Shack Deptford – Last Day May 26th.

So without a solid answer on Joe’s, I sent an inquiry into their media contacts. A quick initial response said they weren’t aware, but would check with upper management.

Honestly, it’s hard to deny the clear and crisply written real estate listing stating the property was available for lease.

The next day I got my response back from the Joe’s media team with the statement from Joe’s Crab Shack Executive Management confirming that they were closing their Deptford location, last day being May 26th.

Interestingly enough, a few days after my report of Joe’s Crab Shack closing, the very bold and clear “For Lease” listing was removed from the internet… it’s like they had already found their next tenant!

PJ Whelihan’s in Deptford

So here’s a little “trade secret” of mine.

When companies open locations in multiple areas they typically like to create separate Limited Liability Corporations for each location which helps isolate the financials and risks under a separate entity, that the main company owns and controls.

Mark of 42Freeway during one of his many visits to “PJ’s in Township”. Washington Township, that is.

And to keep things easy to understand for their own internal accounting… many times the name of the new LLC includes the town of the new location.

So what I actually stumbled on to first was a new PJ Whelihan’s LLC company clearly listing Deptford in the name.

Companies don’t do this unless they’re ready to do business in the town, such as knowing they have contracts to sign soon which they want to be under the new LLC Company for the upcoming location.

And you know the old saying “Where there is smoke, there is fire”

So that led me on a mad Google search hunt, which as I said first lead me to the closing of Joe’s Crab Shack.

But then I also found a social media post from a PJ’s Company partner that was put online two weeks BEFORE I found the new Deptford LLC, clearly calling out PJ Whelihan’s upcoming Deptford location.

While I will not disclose that partner company’s name here, knowing their business I would believe they’d been involved in the effort for many weeks prior, if not months.

So I reached out to that company for further comment, and wouldn’t you know… soon after they updated the social media post to remove the mention of Deptford!  Of course I saved the original but I won’t share it here.

I reached out to PJ’s Executive management who at the time simply stated they cannot comment.

So I split my story in half and only went online with the Joe’s Crab Shack closing. 

And as you would expect, that story blew up on the internet, social media and website views. Hundreds of thousands of saw that story, and almost every other media outlet picked it up.

And then as they always do, the 42Freeway fans come through again!

Within hours, multiple people who do not know each other reached out to me directly “Hey,  you know PJ Whelihan’s is taking over Joe’s Crab Shack Deptford, right?”

So to be very clear I had put nothing online about PJ’s in Deptford.  I hadn’t even told my closest friends (who will find out about PJ’s Deptford from this post).  Yet three complete strangers separately reached out to me, to tell me PJ’s was taking over the Deptford Joe’s Crab Shack.

I don’t feel I need to share the content of those conversations but I’ll tell you I am not an idiot (ha!) and what I heard was very solid and clear confirmation from very reliable sources of PJ’s coming to Deptford (at Joe’s)… information connected to high-level people in the project.

But I still didn’t have a liquor license change notification. I still couldn’t find anything else in writing from PJ’s to lock things in. Would I find a lease document?  And I had a 42Freeway fan as an Executive and I was trying to be a little extra nice! Ha!

So I continued to sit on the story.

Until today when a 20 year old staff member at Joe’s Crab Shack tells a random stranger on the phone “ohh yeah, PJ Whelihan’s is taking over the location”

It would crush me to have this information for so long and to sit on it.. only to see it some other media outet first. It’s happened more times than I can count. Which leads us to this post.

I’m a Deptford resident and love all of the dining options we have. Locally owned Filomena’s is amazing, Nipper’s has that local bar aspect down perfectly.. and in the larger chain category.. Pizzeria Uno’s and Longhorn Steakhouse are favorites.

But honestly I am excited that PJ’s is coming.. It would be good to get a breath of fresh air in the Deptford restaurant space particularly when it’s a restaurant and bar I know I will visit somewhat regularly.