afterparties over at Biff Bam Pop!, ones that go horribly horribly wrong. This entry here is about one much less sinister, or depending on your health outlook, maybe just as bad. We are talking about French fries, after all.
The South Jersey Writers' Group has their official meeting once a month and afterward some of the members get together for an afterparty of sorts at a nearby bar or restaurant, more for pleasure than business, just to talk shop casually, or not. It's just fun, and we also wanted to celebrate a little, friend and Biff Bam Pop! colleague Marie Gilbert had just released her book, Roof Oasis. We had exhausted our welcome and our tolerance of the nearby Applebee's, and Rexy's Bar stopped serving food after a certain time, so we had been looking for somewhere new, and someone suggested the Phily Diner.
The Phily Diner is a cross between a loud sports bar and a typical Jersey diner, and no matter where you look, it's as if neon exploded in there. Sports bar and neon aside, there are still a few of those creepy life-size chef statues around the place to prove it's still a tacky Jersey diner. And remember those fresh off the mimeograph papers we had waaay back in grade school? We even had a couple menus like that.
The place was surprisingly crowded and loud for a Thursday night. But that being said, we had also retreated from Applebee's because it too was too noisy. One can only surmise that Thursday is party night in Bellmawr and Runnemede. Perhaps because of the crowd and the noise, the service was painfully slow. And when I say slow, I mean sloooooow.
Everyone wanted to help me write the review so potato products were gotten by almost all. Amy Holiday wanted to compare the Phily's Chesapeake fries to the Pop Shop's Louisiana fries. I didn't think there'd be any comparison, as the Pop Shop is the best. They were heavily seasoned waffle fries with white cheddar cheese on the side. A little greasy but very good hot and Amy said they were better with the cheese.
Janice Wilson got the potato skins, very tasty looking half-potatoes well cooked with generous bacon and orange cheddar cheese. They looked really good, but how could they not be, because bacon. Mieke Zamora-Mackay got the chip burger, a burger with, you got it, potato chips on it. She liked it, and it had some chili, sour cream, green onions, and of course potato chips on it. Authors Jennifer M. Eaton, Krista Magrowski, and Jim Knipp might have also gotten potato-ey goodness too, but they were down the other end of the table.
I just got the fries, and as everyone else's food arrived I began to see that everything was waffle fries. I was kinda disappointed as I was looking forward to the steak fries I had seen on the website, but was resigned to the cross-cross potato variety. Imagine my surprise when a plate full of regular cuts arrived in front of me. These were deep fried frozen fries with a wonderful crisp skin and hot soft inside. The chocolate shake I also got was thick and good.
While the food was very good, and the company was excellent, the customer service was not, and the wait was horrendous. It might be better at a different time, but for now, not a good time and we probably won't be returning. Don't forget to pick up Marie's book Roof Oasis and the new SJWG anthology Reading Glasses.