New Restaurant Pad Site Approved for Ocean County Mall

Bahama Breeze to come to mall's southwest corner on Hooper and Bay

The Hooper Avenue section of Toms River could soon feel the warm island air and dine on Caribbean-inspired food when Bahama Breeze comes to town.

“It has been approved by the town planning board,” said township planner Jay Lynch. “But the company is going through compliance resolution, which means there are still some more approvals it needs to receive in order to receive the proper permits.”

No timeline has been set for the project’s start or completion, but Lynch said it has been approved for a liquor license.

It's going to be a pad site on the Ocean County Mall property, on the southwest side jughandle by Hooper and Bay avenues, Lynch said. “They're going to redesign the parking in the immediate area of the new building. The planning board needed to determine if the site would have sufficient parking, and it does.”

Toms River will mark the fourth Bahama Breeze location within New Jersey. Currently there are locations in Wayne, Woodbridge and Cherry Hill.

Darden Restaurants owns Bahama Breeze, Red Lobster, LongHorn Steakhouse, Olive Garden, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52 and Eddie V’s. Hooper Avenue is already home to Red Lobster and Olive Garden, which are within feet of each other, and Bahama Breeze would make Darden’s third restaurant within a mile of each other in Toms River.

“As Bahama Breeze continues to grow, our real estate teams are constantly looking for sites across the country,” said Hunter Robinson, manager, media relations and communications at Bahama Breeze. However, Robinson said he could not comment on any specific plans until the project has received the necessary approvals.

Pat Burson, account executive at Ryan & Ryan PR Inc., who handles , said the mall is not releasing any information about prospective tenants, but looks forward to future projects.

The mall currently has one liquor license spot inside the mall vacant, after the abrupt departure of and , which shared a license. The Bahama Breeze license was bought from downtown restaurant Jimmy C's, which sold its license last winter.

Bahama Breeze would be a pad site built outside the mall on a section that is currently remote parking near JC Penney and Macy's. Mall events such as an outdoor carnival would have less of an area to set up, should the plans be approved.

The Bahama Breeze menu focuses on island fare such as coconut shrimp, jerk chicken and tropical drinks.

The first Bahama Breeze opened its doors in 1996 in Orlando, Fla., and now operates 24 restaurants nationally. Darden Restaurants bills itself as the nation’s largest casual dining restaurant company.

The Bahama Breeze restaurant pad would be the third pad site at the Ocean County Mall. The other two, and , are on the northwest corner of the mall on Oak and Hooper avenues.

Jim L May 01, 2012 at 11:27 AM
Why do they need to build a new building when there are two vacant restaurants already in the mall?
David Daur May 01, 2012 at 12:10 PM
Excellent point Jim L. You obviously need to be flagged as inappropriate for using too much common sense.
Martin May 01, 2012 at 12:12 PM
Not to worry... A new bldg. means more property tax revenue for TR (although the politicians won't reduce your taxes).
Scott May 01, 2012 at 12:37 PM
Toms River is quickly becoming the "Land of Franchise Restaurants" which is fancy fast food, but why not, TR already has five McDonalds. 1. Lakewood Rd 2. Rt. 37 (in front of Walmart) 3. Rt. 37 (near Stop and Shop) 4. Hooper Ave 5. Fischer Blvd
Chief Wahoo May 01, 2012 at 02:00 PM
barbara May 01, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Maybe they're "fancy fast food", but it's almost impossible to open a privately owned restaurant now. Unless you have a million dollars in the bank, the costs are just too much. I know lots of people would love a really good restaurant to open, but who can afford such a gamble?
Al May 01, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Hopefully they build it in a location that eliminates one of the weed-infested outer parking lots that looks like nobody has parked in it for years. Although I too question why they need to build something new when there are vacancies in the mall.
Helen E. Fitzsimmons May 01, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Atmosphere, food, service all terrific at Cherry Hill. Will definitely go to TR location. But what's a pad site?
Catherine Galioto (Editor) May 01, 2012 at 03:11 PM
There's also the Route 37 one before Route 166. And years ago, one inside the Walmart too. That's a lot of Mickey D's just on Route 37.
Catherine Galioto (Editor) May 01, 2012 at 03:12 PM
It would be a business that sits on its own, separate 'pad' instead of being connected to anything.
. May 01, 2012 at 03:42 PM
I for one would not make a special trip to eat at a restaurant attached to the mall. Too crowded and no parking, but if it was in a separate location near the mall, I might.
Chris M May 01, 2012 at 03:49 PM
Just what Toms River needs...more chain restaurants in a town already packed with them. How can mom and pops compete when the chains have so many built-in advantages?
1stcav May 01, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Monmouth Mall has pad sights, Bobby Flay's , Crab Shack and more are coming !
Mike May 01, 2012 at 04:07 PM
I'll give it a year and it will be shut down, just like the Mexican place in the mall.
Can't shut me up May 01, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Good we need a good place to eat. Hurry up and build.
Don W. May 02, 2012 at 12:02 PM
We don't need this here. Maybe It should go in the location that use to be the Dover Mall.
Don W. May 02, 2012 at 12:03 PM
Used to*
Kathy May 02, 2012 at 12:05 PM
Prefer the diners.
SB Girl May 02, 2012 at 12:14 PM
Glad to see a decent restaurant is finally coming to Toms River!! Bahama Breeze is one of our first stops in Orlando!! The food is great and the prices are reasonable!! It's so popular, you have to go off-hours to get in without waiting...but it's worth waiting for!! Wait and see...you're going to love it!!
Mike L May 02, 2012 at 03:36 PM
I would assume that NO NAME didn't read the story......The building will be over looking beautiful corner of Hooper Avenue and Route 571 with lots of parking.
Mike L May 02, 2012 at 03:49 PM
Ok folks, don't get dressed to go there yet.....This was a planning board approval. If some of us remenber, we LOST how many restaruants to Brick Township because of the liquor license costs. IF.... the new parties know about the cost, than our town will be be ahead on revenue, or does the township OWN the licenses.......But if they don't we lost all those other prospects to the liquor license theives.......
Greg May 02, 2012 at 10:04 PM
It says right in the article that Bahama Breeze has already purchased their liquor license for Jimmy C's.
Mike L May 02, 2012 at 11:21 PM
You are absolutely right.....but did you notice that it said that the license was sold and bought LAST winter and since it was only approved, isn't that the cart before the horse. If this was in the works, why wouldn't the downtown group say something???? How come we lost all the other business, because of the price!!!!!!! OR did The Downtown Group not want the others because ????????
Susan Mazza May 07, 2012 at 10:21 PM
sanibel I have been to several of there locations and I think they are very good and reasonably priced. There cuisine is island themed, different than other restaurants
mjmjr October 23, 2012 at 07:04 AM
We should have more restaurants than bricktown, but nobody wants to come to Toms River because of our Zoning Board,they will only bleed all the money they can out of any building..go to Bricktown.
Michelle May 05, 2013 at 08:08 PM
I absolutely loved the BB I was at in Freehold! The armosphere the music the food and drinks Island themed! Great fun and great location! I am excited for it to open maybe even land a job ;)


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