Demolition began today at Brooklawn’s Metro Diner (formerly Ponzio’s). The Metro is being demolished to make way for a super Wawa.
Even though the diner officially closed its doors on June 4, 2018, their menus will live on in our hearts (and stomachs!) forever.
Click the images below to view the Metro’s breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bar menus.
Metro Diner Breakfast Menu
I would order two eggs over easy with a side of bacon, white toast, and a Pepsi.
Metro Diner Dinner Menu
For lunch and dinner, I would order the crabcakes with a baked potato, the daily vegetable, a side salad with Thousand Island or Russian dressing, and a Pepsi. I would load up on the salad and bread, eat one crabcake and probably eat the daily vegetable, take the other crab cake home along with the baked potato and also get a (large) chocolate chip cookie on the way out.
At its July 12, 2017 meeting, the Brooklawn Planning Board approved the preliminary and final site plan for a new Wawa convenience store and fueling station to be constructed at the site of the Metro Diner, which will be demolished.
As for a timeline for when the project will begin, Duncan Prime, who is the attorney for the applicant LCP Brooklawn, stated that final approvals are still needed from the Department of Transportation (DOT) and also the County, but it looks like it will start next year.
During the public portion, Brooklawn resident, Doris Pulaski, read a statement about her concerns, which she said was written “from my heart.”
Pulaski said she is saddened and has a degree of denial about this “unexpected development of the Metro Diner. My family has been coming here since it was Ponzio’s and it has been a part of Brooklawn and its history.”
She said the diner has also been a part of family celebrations. “To the best of my memory, it has been rare for the parking lot of the diner to not be packed.”
“He is very ambivalent about a sale. I also don’t understand why an active business must be sold. I don’t understand Wawa’s ambition about buying the Metro to change it from a family restaurant,” she said.
Mayor Teri Branella responded: “I can sympathize. I think a lot of people feel the way you feel in that regard. That was really from your heart and I appreciate your coming up and expressing that.”
However, Branella added: “It is a business decision. I think we all have a sense of loss when we think of the Metro because they have been an excellent business in town. We have enjoyed having them in town. If it’s so that this is the direction that they are going, and it is a business deal between Wawa and Metro, then at that point in time, we need to open our arms and our hearts as Brooklawn does to everybody and [also] to Wawa as a business in town. So we have to be fair.”
The preliminary and final major site plan also includes space for a proposed 4,950 square foot retail building for a future tenant that hasn’t been identified.
As for the status of the Bellmawr Wawa that is located on Browning Road and Park Drive, Prime said “no decision has been made” with regard to that store, but it’s “likely” that it will close.
All photographs of the presentation boards taken by SJO:
There will be a Special Meeting on Monday, July 10, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. so that Brooklawn Council may vote on several Ordinances in advance of the July 12 Planning and Zoning Board meeting, said Borough Adminstrator Ryan Giles. Those Ordinances include several that relate to a new Wawa that is targeted for the Metro Diner site.
The July 10 Special Meeting is being held in advance of next scheduled Planning and Zoning Board meeting, which is when the application for a new Wawa convenience store is scheduled to be heard.
The Ordinances, which SJO requested, were provided read and in part:
Relates to Regulations for B Commercial District and Regulations for D Shopping Center District and adds limited breweries, also known as “craft breweries,” which do not serve or sell food or operate a restaurant, as defined under Chapter 151-2 of the Code of the Borough of Brooklawn.
Adds the definition of a limited brewery, which reads as follows:
A commercial facility, which shall not sell or serve food or operate a restaurant, which brews any malt alcoholic beverages in quantities for which it is licensed by the Alcoholic Beverage Commission and which sells the product at retail to consumers on the licensed premises of the brewery for consumption on the premises but only in connection with tours of the brewery, or for consumption off premises in a quantity of not more than 15.5 fluid gallons per person, and to offer samples for sampling purposes only. “Sampling” shall mean the selling at a nominal charge or the gratuitous offering of an open container not exceeding four ounces of any malt alcoholic beverage produced on the premises.
Relates to Junk Vehicles
Addresses prohibited signs and states, in part, that signs are not to give off intermittent or rotating beams or strobe lights upon any part of a residence and or commercial building. This Ordinance also addresses signs for awnings and canopies.
Relates to the zoning map and districts, regulations for Redevelopment Area Overlay Zone, the considerations for gas stations, and also addresses the height of fences and walls.
Relates to lights on public streets and adds the following Land Use definition to the Borough Code:
Convenience Store With Motor Fuel Dispensing: In Block 101, Lots 2, 3, 5, and 6 of the Brooklawn Redevelopment Area only, a retail establishment operating 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, offering for sale prepackaged food products and grocery items, hot and cold made-to-order drinks, freshly pre-prepared foods, including sandwiches, soups and salads, household items, tobacco products, newspapers and magazines, in-store ATM and lottery, and which includes outside facilities for dispensing motor fuels, gasoline and diesel fuels for light trucks and passenger vehicles. No servicing of motor vehicles is permitted, excepting up to two (2) external air pumps may be provided.
The Planning/Zoning Board hearing on the Wawa application will take place on Wednesday, July 12 at 7:00 p.m.
To view all of the Ordinances in their entirety, click the image below:
*Article updated on 7/11/2017 at 7:30 a.m. to include Ordinance #13-17 and also to indicate that all of the Ordinances were approved at Council’s July 10, 2017 Special Meeting.
The Board also reviewed Ordinances that would amend the Borough Code for land use to add limited breweries, which are also known as “craft breweries.” The purpose of this Ordinance is to define “limited breweries” within the Land Use Regulations in the Code of the Borough of Brooklawn.
SJO will request copies of all the Ordinances that were reviewed during the Planning Board meeting and will post the information as soon as it is received.