This place has been on the back burner for a while. My friend, Chris, had mentioned it once to me. There was never a follow-up, so I kept it in the back recesses of my mind.
Last week, Chris showed up to my bar, it was a surprise. He then asked what I was doing Friday. He’s a teacher in the Philly Public School system, and he had Thursday and Friday off, for Rosh Hoshanah.
So, we made a date to eat some sandwiches.
The funny thing, we are both lactose-intolerant. We, also, are not giving up cheese.
As we were driving over the Ben Franklin Bridge to get to Collingswood, this exchange happened:
Me: “This is going to end either in euphoria, or diarrhea.”
Chris: “Probably both.”
Knowing what we were in store for, we soldiered on.
The Pop Shop is about a three blocks from the Collingswood PATCO Station, on Haddon Ave. Very convenient to the city, in what is considered Downtown Collingswood.
The room itself, is bright. With walls painted in Robin’s Egg Blue. There are two large pictures on the wall, presumably of life in Collingswood in an earlier time. There are also a lot of clocks. And a jukebox. It reminds me of a 1950s-style shake shack.
The staff wears t-shrits that read, “We Aim to Cheese.”
There is a counter, with a soda jerk. Lots of booths line one wall, and many tables. The menus are printed as a newspaper. There are sections titled Pancakes Are Delicious, Fantastic French Toast Dreams, etc.
There are lots of choices, overwhelmingly so.
Make no mistake, children are the target demographic, here. This place is loud. Really loud. We showed up at 1:30, on a Friday afternoon. It was littered with children, presumably off for the day due to the holiday.
We decided to order three different sandwiches, and share them:
The Stokes: grilled cheese with bacon and tomato on Pullman. This is a classic grilled cheese; you know what you’re going to get from it. Nothing more, thankfully, nothing less
The Linden: Philly cheesesteak on a pretzel roll. Again, you know what you’re getting. Nothing really spectacular to report.
The Sunset: Jack cheese, fried shrimp, avocado, tomato and tomatillo on Sourdough. This was clearly the most interesting of the three; the spice from the Pepper Jack lending something to the somewhat blandly battered fried shrimp. I also like the combination of Pepper Jack and avocado.
All of the Grilled Cheese sandwiches are named after streets in Collingswood.
To ramp up the ridiculousness of the experience; Chris ordered chili cheese fries. I, stupidly, decided to one up him. I ordered the Collingswood fries. That led to this exchange:
Chris: “What are the Collingswood fries?
Me: “Crab fries, with bacon and cheddar.”
Chris: “I didn’t even get that far on the menu.”
This led our server to raise her eyebrows and shrug. She probably just figured we were two dudes looking to pig out.
Unfortunately, the fries were meh. They were clearly put under a broiler; this led to the fries being overdone, and the cheese didn’t melt in some spots.
The dessert menu features a Chocolate Grilled Cheese, I’ll just let you read the description:
(not the best picture)
Also, Deep-fried Cookie Dough Poppers:
(I really need to work out why my phone saves some pictures huge, and others…not so much.)
I’m conflicted about this place. For an adult, it would seem like a suitable once-in-a-while indulgence. I would feel like a bad parent if I brought my kid here, more than on occasion.
They have Vegetarian selections. They also offer Gluten-free bread.
729 Haddon Avenue; Collingswood, NJ