A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pizza and Beer in or near Aberdeen

Where do people go around here for casual pizza and beer? I know I can get a bar pie at the Kat Shack, but that's hardly a substantial pie. And I can go over to Bertucci's in Hazlet for a brick oven baked pie, but that's a bit too fancy and usually sets me back a bit. I guess they might have pizza and beer at the bowling alley, but maybe that's a bit too casual? Is there a local choice that I've not discovered?

Our favorite around here was Burlew's Pizzeria. It was a landmark in Cliffwood for years, probably since the post-World War II period. It was torn down a few years ago, supposedly as part of a project to upgrade the highway intersection at Cliffwood Avenue at Route 35. Burlew's made a very good corn meal crusted pizza that I've not found duplicated in the area. Their "garbage pizza" had mucho toppings that made the box sag on your way home. Best to eat that one at the pizzeria, with lots of napkins.

There were two entrances into Burlew's parking lot - one from Cliffwood Avenue near Route 35, and the other from the Route 35 North exit ramp for Cliffwood Avenue. The lot, which was between the building and Route 35, offered nose-in spaces up against the building and facing Route 35 for maybe fifteen cars.

There were two doorways into the building from the parking lot - one on the right that led into the bar, and one built into the left corner of the building leading into the liquor store, restaurant, and a bar in the basement. The doorway on the right led into a medium sized traditional bar with a wooden counter and stools down the left side of the barroom and half a dozen tables with high stools on the right. In the far right corner there was a wooden dance floor and a place for a band. In the near left corner there was a big-screen tv and a video game or two. In the far left corner was a passage into an adjoining space outfitted like a small restaurant. The tables were adorned with white paper tablecloths, silverware and water glasses. That was for families wanting to get dinner without sitting in the bar. A separate building entrance on the left had a foyer with several choices. There was a second door leading you into their liquor store, where you would pick up beer and pizza to go. The foyer also offered a doorway leading to a stairway into the basement, where they had another more portable bar, as well as darts and pool tables. A narrow corridor led from the foyer to the dining area in the back adjoining the bar.

Burlew's has become a lost part of local history. I doubt we're better off languishing for years with a mowed down building and unmowed grass on the current vacant lot and a shuttered hulk of a drug store across the street. Not only do I miss my favorite place for pizza and beer, I feel like we've lost part of our cultural identity.

If you live in the greater Aberdeen area and enjoy going out for pizza and beer, where do you go?


  1. I do miss a Burlews Garbage Pie. The town has done nothing with that Jughandle (I am sick of people blocking the box when I want to make a left on 35). I would deal with a little bad traffic for good pizza and beer.

  2. Amen to a pitcher of draught and a garbage pie.

  3. I used to frequent Burlew's when I worked at Anchor Glass down the road. I preferred the "bar pie" with pepperoni and onions. It was the best. Great neighborhood bar and restaurant.