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Baja Fresh Closes, What Should Take its Place?

The Mexican-style restaurant on Route 18 has shuttered its doors.

The Route 18 Baja Fresh Mexican Grill is no more.

The Route 18 location of the Mexican-style restaurant known for its burritos, nachos and tacos, has closed its doors and gutted its interior.

Calls to the East Brunswick restaurant rang unanswered on Monday morning. A request for comment to the company's marketing department was not returned Monday.

The closest Baja Fresh location to East Brunswick is now located in Watchung, according to the Baja Fresh website

What would you like to see in its place? A different restaurant? A specific store? Tell us in the comments below.

Jacinto Ruales January 17, 2013 at 05:18 PM
How Bout Meyers or RIckels ..Crazy Eddie! Eyelab ! Movie City 5 ! Hardys would be work! Bilow=Perfect! American PIE !!! Franks Barber shop !!! GAp ! PERGAMENT !!! Heritage BAnk !!
Jacinto Ruales January 17, 2013 at 05:19 PM
Seamans ...Huffman Koos !!!!
Jacinto Ruales January 17, 2013 at 05:19 PM
Chuck E Cheese ~~~
j r January 17, 2013 at 05:35 PM
Meyers or Rickels, ...Eye lab, Crazy Eddie, or Movie City 5 , HArdys , Chuck E Chesse, Franks Barber shop , Pergament, Heritage BAnk ,American Pie, Stuff yer face... Bilow=PerfectTwo Guys, Villagers ,Gap, Treasure Island , Huffman Koos, Seamans
Chris January 17, 2013 at 06:56 PM
JR, are you suggesting these businesses for the Baja Fresh location? I'm not clear on your comments.
John Romano January 17, 2013 at 07:24 PM
....... I am guessing that it is only sarcasm. Since these appear to be mostly businesses that have closed in East Brunswick
AS January 17, 2013 at 09:56 PM
Yes why can't we have a trader joes or whole foods??? The town is going to go even more downhill once walmart opens. My husband and I are getting out of here asap! No nice places to go out to have a drink unless you like hooters or the irish hooters, no fireworks in the summer, places are closing left and right and the taxes are higher than ever. Ughhh!!!! Build a nice martini bar so we have something else to do besides going to shoprite!
Dan F January 18, 2013 at 04:30 AM
On their Facebook page, they responded to an inquiry about the closing by stating that they plan to be back as soon as possible. No explanation as to why it's closed.
Jennifer Bradshaw (Editor) January 18, 2013 at 05:32 AM
Interesting. Their corporate offices did not return a request for comment as to the status of the restaurant, and its been removed from their map of locations in New Jersey on the website. And, as you can see from the photos above, the restaurant is totally stripped.
John Romano January 18, 2013 at 01:45 PM
....first though (based on the above comment by Dan F) was that the "I'll be back" statement meant a renovation was to take place. But if that was the case, someone in the town would have already spilled the beans with info related to a pending building permit, etc.
Dan F January 18, 2013 at 01:49 PM
Is there still a for sale sign on the Pollo Tropical building?
Christopher January 18, 2013 at 02:01 PM
I don't see why anyone would miss Baja Fresh. Perhaps it was a step up from Taco Bell in terms of quality, but the food was the epitome of "meh." What should happen now is a real Mexican proprietor take over the space and start serving up East Brunswick with some real, AUTHENTIC, homestyle Mexican food made straight from Mama's recipe box. If the food is awesome, people will come.
Dan F January 18, 2013 at 02:17 PM
After looking at their Facebook page more carefully, I think what they mean about "getting back" is that it's a matter of finding a franchisee who is interested in opening another store. In other words, they are closed.
Norman January 18, 2013 at 02:28 PM
Amen brother....amen.
Chris January 18, 2013 at 02:51 PM
There was a surveyor outside the pollo tropical building yesterday afternoon. I didn't notice if the for sale sign was still there though.
Chris January 18, 2013 at 05:54 PM
Do you guys think an authentic Spanish (Central or South American) restaurant would succeed in east brunswick?
John Romano January 18, 2013 at 06:13 PM
....although it would be a very welcome culinary addition, would they be able to get a liquor license for the ability to serve beer, wine, SANGRIA? Also...there are a few restaurants like that in S. River (Ria Mar, The Portuguese Fisherman, etc)..and I"m not sure you'd get their loyal patrons to go to a restaurant in E.B....that for ONE: Would Be more pricey., and TWO: May not serve liquor. It's such a fine line that will determine if a restaurant will succeed or fail. The demographic issue is a pretty large part of it, and being able to draw customers from all of E.B. as well as neighboring towns, is critical.
Chris January 18, 2013 at 07:49 PM
Both of those are Portuguese. I was thinking of maybe Central American cuisine. I know your points above still apply...I am just thinking maybe there might be a market for it. I'm not a restaurantuer but I have been in the food service industry my whole life, from delis to lounges to catering halls and even country clubs. I've traveled to Central America a bunch and they have a specific type of food. I've never considered opening my own restaurant before let alone one that is not my native cuisine (I'm Italian). I'd love to do it here but I'm not sure if its worth the risk.
Randy Rosenthal January 19, 2013 at 03:45 AM
My wife and I used to go to Gusto all the time. The last time I ordered the robs that I was served was some sort of dried meat on a none that I wouldn't give my dog! I complained to the waiter who basically ignored, when I asked for the mgr was told to wait . After waiting 20 minutes we got up left some money and walked out. I will never go back! Bad food, bad service, top expensive!! As for what will open, really nothing anyone wants because all the good places won't come here due to the demographics. We are too close to New Brunswick, So. River, Helmetta. Etc. Fuhgeddaboudit!
John January 20, 2013 at 07:20 PM
What's wrong with South River Randy?I guess East Brunswick is the Mecca of all things?Stick it up you're ass.
John Romano January 20, 2013 at 08:14 PM
.....me thinks someone got rubbed the wrong way. .....what's "wrong" ...with regards to demographics (and specifically the financial segment of the statistics) is that So. River has a median household income (MHI) of about $63,000, whereas East Brunswick's has a MHI of about $101,000. Additionally, New Brunswick's MHI comes in at about $36,000...and Helmetta's at about $60,100. All told, the other mentioned towns may provide +3 X's the population of East Brunswick ......but the average incomes ranges from about 40% to 85% less. That's what companies ...and individual entrepreneurs, will look at when the decide if a new restaurant / business in a certain area can actually be sustained. ...it's a numbers game ...plain and simple. It's not "who lives where" or "that town appears shabby or bright a sparkly" ...it's "Who's got the extra $$ to yank out of their pockets to go out and drop +$100 on a meal" (or whatever).
Marian January 24, 2013 at 06:11 PM
I'm with Dan on the Saladworks suggestion. I will really miss Baja Fresh. It was a quick, cheap healthier option than the fast places food along Rt. 18., and I think Chipolte sucks personally. We need more healthy, vegetarian friendly quick food places in EB.
Christopher January 24, 2013 at 07:07 PM
I've been to a few Saladworks, including the one in North Brunswick, and I don't think the quality of the produce is very good. I wouldn't eat it again. Reminds me of the Muscle Maker Grill, which is absolutely atrocious. There's not a lot of great chain vegetarian restaurants I can think of, but I think a Maoz Vegetarian would be a better quality option than Saladworks, IMHO.
charlie April 09, 2013 at 01:33 PM
I feel we should put a flea market on Rt. 18 again. The other one was a huge success.It never should have been torn down. People would come from all over to shop and get bargains there.
j r April 11, 2013 at 12:33 PM
Yeah in 1979
Dan F April 11, 2013 at 01:41 PM
I see that the old Pollo Tropical will soon be an Urgent Care. Looks like there was too big a glut of restaurants on the street for anyone to want to open another.
John Romano April 11, 2013 at 01:59 PM
....another sign of the times for EB. Urgent Care facilities are prevalent in areas that have a large population of people that cannot afford "real" medical care. Urgent Care ...We Buy Gold ....Check Cashing establishments ....all the signs of a downward spiral.
Norman April 12, 2013 at 12:53 PM
Wow John Romano I had initially not thought of it that way but you are spot on. I realize that once again there is NOTHING we can do to stop it but I feel compelled to write this in case someone, anyone from our elected officials is reading this.... HELLO EAST BRUNSWICK TOWN COUNCIL DON'T TRY TO SPIN THIS AS A "POSITIVE" FOR OUR TOWN.,..AND REDUCED VACANCY ON RT 18!!!!!
Dan F April 13, 2013 at 12:10 AM
Don't forget the Unclaimed Freight store.
j r April 20, 2013 at 04:10 PM
LOS POLLOS HERMANOS !!!!!

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