Rexy’s Restaurant and Bar on the Black Horse Pike across from the Audubon Acme will soon be starting a significant outdoor dining expansion which will include a large enclosed dining and bar area to the front left of the building.
UPDATE from Rexy’s: The enclosure is going to be an automated pergola roof system with wall shade system. The outdoor space should be used all year. There will be a heating system.
They will be also adding an outdoor only patio area on the right side of the building’s entrance.
Keep reading and scrolling to see their conceptual rendering! We even cover their Philadelphia Flyers connection.
To offset for the parking lot changes associated with the new construction, Rexy’s has purchased an adjacent property on Washington Ave which will be incorporated into Rexy’s parking.
A variation of this plan was first submitted to Haddon Township planning 2 years ago, but it was only this month that the final review meeting was scheduled and Rexy’s is able to move forward.
And yes I said Haddon Township. I feel many don’t realize this but Rexy’s and it’s liquor license actually reside in Haddon Township. The town has probably the strangest border of any town in South Jersey, with THREE completely separate and non-connected areas making up the town.
Rexy’s Outdoor Dining
Like many restaurants in the area, during the pandemic based indoor dining restrictions, Rexy’s had created a temporary larger outdoor dining space. For them this meant a large tent at the front of the building in the parking lot.
This of course included furniture to be used in the outdoor tent dining space.
On July 9th Rexy’s announced on Facebook they were having an “Outdoor Tent Furniture Sale”. Literally selling off all of the furniture they had used outside in the tent for 2 years. (note: it has all been sold)
Commenters quickly asked questions regarding the status of Rexy’s outdoor dining, including some displeasure that Rexy’s was shutting down their larger outdoor dining experience!
Well just two hours later Rexy’s posted again with more details of the bigger plan… a much bigger plan!
For those that have inquired regarding the closing of the tent. Rexy’s is not closing. We are currently in process of new outdoor dinning project. We still have our patio open off the restaurant. Here is new conceptual drawing. Thank you for all your support with the outdoor tent!!!Rexy’s Facebook July 9
The conceptual rendering shows two significant changes coming to the front of the restaurant.
Before we dive in, keep in mind that this drawing is for placement purposes only to see how the new additions “fit”. The more flattened look of the exterior walls doesn’t mean they are toning down the style of the outside, it’s just this about about placement of the changes.
So the most noticeable change is the rectangular structure on the front left side of the building. The enclosed space features dining tables and we believe a bar (based on Township documents).
I say “enclosed” but Rexy’s has since provided some additional details
The enclosure is going to be an automated pergola roof system with wall shade system. The outdoor space should be used all year. There will be a heating system. We are currently in design phase so things could change but the layout of the area will notRexy’s Restaurant and Bar – Via Messenger
The second thing which jumps out to me is on the right side of the building entrance you can see a new outdoor patio area…fully outdoor with no enclosure.
As mentioned, Rexy’s has also purchased an adjacent property (currently a home) and will be incorporating it into the larger Rexy’s restaurant property. New parking spots will be defined to offset those that are lost from the building addition.
At this point we do not have a timeline, but seeing them selling off the outdoor tent furniture and seemingly getting ready to take the tent town, is a good sign that they’d like to move fast.
Rexy’s : 80 Years of Delicious Italian Food, 50 Years of Flyers Memories
Rexy’s Restaurant and Bar traces it’s roots back to 1943, making next year their 80th anniversary.
This writer remembers eating dinner there as a kid with his family, when the restaurant looked completely different than today’s bright and modern Italian experience.
Through the 70s and 80s Rexy’s was a much darker motif with the stereotypical old school Italian restaurant red and black color scheme that you see represented in Hollywood movies.
And one unique aspect stood out in the dining room.. the Bobby Clarke room.
For those too young to know, Bobby Clarke was the Captain and leader of the mid-70s Philadelphia Flyers team which won two “back-to-back” Stanley Cup Championships.
For a while, the Flyers legend lived less than a mile away from Rexy’s in Mt Ephraim.. right on Kings Highway!
(I remember my brother as a kid riding his bike from Bellmawr over to Bobby’s house to knock on his door and get an autograph. I was so mad that Mom wouldn’t let me go!).
Hockey was a big deal in the 70s, but the salaries were a fraction of what they are today. Players did well but even the best had what amounted to an upper middle class lifestyle. Bobby Clarke’s Rookie salary was just $14,000 and four years later his “budding Super Star” contract paid him $150,000.
And these mostly regular guys from Canada made Rexy’s their home base.
A 1975 Philadelphia Inquirer interview with Bobby Clarke describes how it all came to be.
“I’ve been going there since I got here. I was only 20 (1969) – not old enough to drink. I used to sit around and talk hockey with the people. We’d even go there in the afternoon when it wasn’t crowded”.
(Note: Prior to 1973 when Clarke arrived in New Jersey the drinking age was 21. In 1973 the drinking age was lowered to 18 matching the draft age for the Vietnam war. Many had saw a disconnect in the logic of “Wait, I am mature enough to be required to go to war and handle powerful weapons, but then I am told I can’t handle a beer at the same age?”)
As Bobby Clarke rose in importance and respect within the team, other players followed him to Rexy’s
Then owner Pat Fietto became somewhat of a local mentor to the young international players, helping them decide on purchases for televisions, insurance or homes.
In the 70s NHL hockey was on the rise in the United States and Philadelphia with it’s Championship Flyers became the center of the US hockey universe.
And Rexy’s was sitting right at the center of it all for the Philadelphia area fan base.
A 1985 Inquirer article retells the Flyers first 1974 Stanly Cup celebrations at Rexy’s
May 19, 1974 was the night the Black Horse Pike turned into a vast parking lot with hundreds of automobiles backed up for what seemed to be miles and miles. Horns blaring and their passengers screaming the message on bumper stickers in front of them “Only Jesus Saves More than Bernie Parent”Philadelphia Inquirer Oct 27, 1985
The article goes on to say that even 10 years later in 1985 about a dozen Flyers alumni would still meet regularly at Rexy’s.
Things started getting crazy at the restaurant. What fan wouldn’t want to touch elbows at the bar with a championship professional athlete?! So Fietto built a private area for the Flyers team so they and their significant others could enjoy the restaurant in some quiet.
Tragedy struck Rexy’s in 1975. As the season winded down to what would become the Flyer’s second consecutive Stanley Cup… Rexy’s Restaurant suffered a devastating fire.
Rexy’s rebuilt quickly, reopening later that same year.. but missing out on the fun of the Flyers’ second Stanley Cup win.
When Rexy’s reopened it was designed more as a restaurant than a bar, but still carried the love of the Flyers players and fans with it.
Over the decades Rexy’s has continued to transform the building.
When I lived closer (in Bellmawr) we were regular visitors and all my memories are sealed with visions of a completely different place than what is is today!
Don’t get me wrong Rexy’s is infinitely better styled today than it was in 1985… it’s just amazing to me how the families who have owned the beloved restaurant have been able to adapt, constantly striving to make it an even better place!
To build a championship team you have to keep evolving and innovating. Which is exactly what Rexy’s has been doing for almost 80 years.
We’ll have more as constructions starts and they head to the opening of the new outdoor dining spaces.
Links and Locations
Rexy’s Restaurant and Bar
700 Black Horse Pike
West Collingswood Heights, NJ