7600 Kaighns Avenue, Pennsauken
Hours: Mon–Thurs, 11:30 am–10 pm; Fri, 11:30 am-midnight; Sat, 3 pm-midnight; Sun, 1–10 pm.
Style: Huge family steak-and-seafood house, with full bar.
Don’t Miss: The Pub is where your grandmother had her Sweet 16. Despite the intimate-sounding name, the Pub may well be the largest restaurant in New Jersey, where you will be cozy with 500 of your most intimate dining friends. Frowns are not allowed at the Pub, where the cooking, the service and the decor are the show. The food comes in ample portions and always on time. Beef has long been the specialty, from the filet mignon steakabob ($19.99) to the 12-ounce sirloin ($17.99) to the monster 26-ounce porterhouse ($35.95). Seafood, though, is sometimes more original and better—twin all-jumbo-lump crab cakes ($23.99), with honey-mustard instead of mere cocktail sauce, rival the Pyramid of Cheops in size but are still moist and flavorful; stuffed flounder and salmon seize a bit more of that crab as their own; lobsters are from Brazil and come in half- and one-pound sizes (market price).
Head’s Up: The salad bar is as extensive as they come. There are usually a half-dozen types of prepared salads, a dozen different ingredients, up to 10 dressings and, often, several types of breads.
The Scoop: The Pub had its roots as Neil Deighan’s, the South Jersey clubbing hotspot from before World War II, when there really were both an airport and a circle at what is still called the Airport Circle, adjacent to the restaurant. In 1951, in the wake of the nascent suburban moves east of Camden, new owners expanded the place to what it remains today. Its massive main room still packs more than 1,000 customers a night on weekends, with 30-foot-high walls adorned with animal heads, swords, banners, armor and even a gallows for a mock-medieval ambience. The front of the room is a mass of charcoal stoves attended by chefs in white jackets and toques. If that isn’t enough, there is a 75-seat, darker and woodier bar area. The neighborhood may have deteriorated nearby, but the Pub is a smile-inducing throwback to when boomers were just babies.