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Meandering w/ Mark Matthews: Green Olive enters a crowded market, Wonder Bread Gone

_DSC4075By Mark Matthews

I haven't posted in a while.   Summer has been very busy for us, and we recently got back from a short 4 night trip to Disney World (which is just about the right amount of time).   This is a ramnbling post.   We have a wedding tonight, and making the last minute trip to the dry cleaners I noticed a few things around town I thought I'd write about... Green Olive, a new Bellmawr restaurant has opened, and the Wonder Bread store is down for the count.  Oh, and a few other random thoughts, including the landfill.

Update/Related:  Wawa in-store fresh baked rolls come to Bellmawr

Green Olive Pizzeria and Restaurant
Entering into the crowded Pizza and Restaurant arena of Bellmawr, Green Olive has taken over the building which was previously the home of Bellmawr English Pizza.   It's primarily a pizza and Italian entree place, but they also offer breakfast!

I am not a food critic, mainly because I am gluten-free which really limits my options (although I've been thinking about doing a series of Gluten Free Adult posts and reviews).  But I did stop in this morning for breakfast at the Green Olive. 

Green Olive Bellmawr, NJ

Some quick thoughts...  Its the same exact building and layout as before.  I'd still classify the building as "new" as it hasn't been that long since Olga and Frank built it so there wasn't much to be done.  There are booths in there now, and I honestly can't remember if they were there before.

I ordered a Ham & Cheese omelete.   I eat a lot of omeletes and I think the Green Olive has their omlete prices set about a buck lower than others in the area... but it also seems that they are a little smaller too.  I'm ok with that, and considering the large Bellmawr Senior Housing complex next door, it's probably a good business move.

A cheese omlette is $5.50!    Ham & Cheese just .50 more.   My breakfast which also included potatoes and toast (which I passed on) and coffee was $7 and change.  

The breakfast menu covers all the bases...  pancakes, french toast... they even have a Denny's style "Hungry Man's Combo" of  two eggs, two pancakes, with a choice of meat and homefries... for $7.50

Not bad.

The full menu includes all of the italian pizzas, specialties and sandwiches you'd expect including entrees of Chicken Parm, Crab Cakes and more (although not to be confused with a diner's full menu)

Remember Taso's which was also at that location?  My mother still talks about that place.  Maybe Green Olive can bring back a little of that Taso's feel.

Bellmawr's Crowded Casual Food Arena
I wish the Green Olive luck...  its a very crowded market in Bellmawr and the surrounding communities.  I remember speaking to Olga (who will be greatly missed) a few months before they closed and she was sharing stories of how competitive things were getting, and how changes in area business were affecting the lunch crowds... and this is before Mangia Bene opened up a few blocks down the street.

So get this.. if you are sitting in your home in Bellmawr and want to buy hoagies for the family, any of the dozen or so locations below are reasonable options!

  • Daniela's in the old Super Fresh center (the old Domino's spot)
  • Green Olive one block away 
  • Mangia Bene in the new Bottom Dollar Foods center, 4 blocks away.
  • Paradise Pizza just 50 yrds from that
  • Andi's Pizza is another 30 yrds across the street.
  • Plus, Italia's is around the corner on the Pike
  • Then down closer to Annunciation Church is a new Mexican Pizzeria (Agave?)
  • ... and Joe's Hoagies is across the street from there!
  • Plus you have Topo Gigios on Creek Rd, John's Pizza in Brooklawn Shopping Center, Gaetano's and King of Pizza on Rt 130
  • oh... and we can't forget the World Famous, award winning... Carmen's Hoagies!
  • Not to mention Wawa.
  • And I know I am missing a few

That 6-8 block area in the center of town has 6 places selling pizza (7 for hoagies counting Carmen's)

I wish everyone luck.  It helps understand why Frank and Olga decided to move on.

Maybe the Bellmawr Harvestfest needs to have a "Bellmawr/Brooklawn Pizza and Hoagie shoot-out".    Hmmmmm...

Ok, I've already turned my short post into a long one.

Wonderbread Store Demolished
Other things... with the bankruptcy of Hostess Foods, the iconic Bellmawr Wonderbread store has come down.  I don't know what's coming in... or if this was done just to make the property more attractive to a future buyer.

Bellmawr Wonderbread demolished

295 Construction - Creek Rd
A third thing...   Activity is picking up at the Creek Rd Bridge over Rt 42.  The trees are cleared out, and the equipment is moving in on the lot across from Luke Oil where a house used to stand.   That bridge is due to be replaced in phase I of the large 295 project, so maybe its happening soon.

The trees at Creek Rd and Rt 42 are cleared

Bellmawr Landfill
If its not obvious, a lot of my posts are "observational" from driving around or based on things I've googled about the town.   I rarely reach out to people or the town.  Honestly just get too busy to get involved in phone tag back and forth with people.   This is just a hobby, after all.

But I do have a much higher interest in the Bellmawr Landfill project.  While most of my early landfill blog posts are gone now, I am proud that a lot of that early information was "dug" up by me, and even when the Courier Post put it on the front page years ago...  Yeah, I made that call to them when I was amazed a billion dollar project (at the time) was being planned and no one knew about it.

So with some other large commercial project announcements being announced in the region, which I feel have impacted the future of our mountain of dirt in Bellmawr, I reached out to the town and sent an email in to the town Clerk for him to forward to our Mayor, Frank Filipeck.  I included my new thoughts on the project, and direct questions of "where are we now?"

Mr Filipeck called me back and I missed the call.  A few days later I received a very official letter about an upcoming "Bellmawr Landfill Resident's Committee" meeting and I was invited to attend.   (I was actually invited to participate a long time ago but I missed the one meeting that I was aware of).

So long story short...  the core purpose of this scheduled meeting was for the developer, Develcom, to present an update of what is going on.  The town knows I write blogs... so yes, I would publish everything about the landfill project that came from the meeting.

But on the day of the meeting (about a month ago), it was postponed because the developer had additional things to prepare before presenting.

That's ok.  Maybe he has something big in the works?  I don't know.

But my point of this section of my post is I will keep up with getting this long overdue landfill update.  I am "pro" development on the property, but I have an angle about missed opportunities which are taking place in the region, and before I write them up I want to hear where the developer is now.

By the way, we had a great time at Disney.  It's an interesting trip because none of us are kids (well, at heart we are).  My wife and I, and our 20 yr old daughter.  Going as all adults, I'm not saying we enjoyed it more than when taking young kids years ago, but we definitely enjoyed it from a different perspective.  

Gone were the screaming young kid fights.  The kids bored standing in line.  The disappointment when told "we aren't waiting 2 hours for that".

While we definitely hit the rides, it was nice to take our time looking through shops, trying out the beverages of Epcot... It was more casual tourist than "GET UP AT 7AM AND HURRY, WE HAVE TO SEE EVERYTHING!"

If you haven't done it, I'd say definitely give an adult Disney Trip a try.

And if you do, consider Disney's Coronado Springs.  Its their convention hotel.  100% Disney, but geared towards adult business travelers so the "cartoon characters in your face" mode is on low, and the afternoon beverage options are higher "oh, a club bar, gazebo bar on the lake, and a poolside bar?"

Disney's Coronado Springs. Just one of many buildings. Its a LARGE place
Coronado Springs featured pool. We were fortunate enough to be very close, but not too close.


This post lives up to its name... truly a meandering post.