More than two years after announcing its expansion into Robbinsville, PJ’s Pancake House has opened the doors to its new location on Main Street, near Papa’s Tomato Pies. The restaurant’s first day was May 28.
The Robbinsville location is the fifth PJ’s and the largest yet, with a total of 200 seats—140 inside and 60 on a covered patio outside.There also are PJ’s Pancake House restaurants in Princeton, West Windsor, Ewing and Kingston.
The Robbinsville PJ’s Pancake House has the same menu as the others, with a focus on sandwiches and breakfast foods. But the Robbinsville location has been a different animal right out of the gate, with much stronger lunch and dinner crowd than a typical PJ’s, owner John Procaccini said.
The new restaurant deviates from the usual PJ’s script in a few other ways. The most apparent has been the addition of a sports bar element at night. Procaccini said the tavern aspect of the restaurant was conceived to bring in people in the hours other locations would see its crowds taper off. He said it’s worked so far, with the bar packed with patrons watching a Women’s World Cup soccer game in the middle of the afternoon last month.
“They said this is what they wanted—a local place to hang out,” he said.
PJ’s has Happy Hour specials that run from 2 till 7 p.m. five days a week, as well as a live music series Friday nights, from 8 to 11 p.m. Bands are booked through the end of the year.
The Robbinsville PJ’s also has two private rooms in the back of the restaurant outfitted with 80-inch televisions. Procaccini admitted this was a new concept for a PJ’s restaurant to attempt, but said his goal was to provide a full-service space for corporate meetings, bridal showers, birthday parties and other private events.
The restaurant has been long-awaited in the community, with residents tracking the project through its several delays. Its initial September 2017 target opening was delayed after the township stopped construction early on. Robbinsville Township director of community development Hal English said the developer for the plaza—of which PJ’s and Papa’s Tomato Pies are part—began to build without signed plans. Entire structures had to be redone throughout the complex.
“There were glitches, more than normal, I think,” English said in September 2018. “One of the buildings came out a foot higher than it was supposed to, if you look at one of the buildings in the back. One of the buildings was leaking water when it rained. Bricks falling off.”
It sure seemed like the issues had been solved by summer 2018, with Procaccini saying then he was confident his eatery would open by late fall. English echoed that at the time, saying the township had the sense PJ’s would be open by the end of 2018.
Instead, the end of 2018 became the end of May 2019.
In the meantime, the rest of the plaza has come to life. Former Town Center mainstay VC Salon has moved into the center’s anchor fronting Main Street and rebranded as Coterie 17. A realty firm and a spine doctor have also opened in the center’s new buildings. Papa’s Pizza remains in the building formerly occupied by Ace Hardware.
Soon, the long, blue building next door at 13 Main Street will be demolished, making the entire shopping center visible from roadway and allowing more space for parking.
PJ’s Pancake House is located at 17 Main Street in Robbinsville. Phone: 609-772-4755. Web: pancakes.com. Hours: Monday-Thursday and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.