On Saturday morning we decided to head out for some breakfast. It was a beautiful and sunny day, the kind that makes you feel like you should be out “doing something special.” We mulled over our Matawan breakfast options of Dunkin Donuts, The Diner, Starbucks, Papa Ganache and then finally it dawned on me…It was time to re-visit Johnny’s Cozy Corner. I hadn’t been there since us grand kids tried to force our grandmother to go to church every Sunday in the summer of 2008. It was our sweet revenge for an entire mandatory adolescence of Sunday School. Her treat was a Johnny’s tuna melt for behaving herself. (When she did.)
The Experience: Victoria’s Cozy Corner, not Johnny’s… Still Cozy?
We sat down at the already-set tables and were greeted by a very friendly waitress. My first thought: “Not much has changed around here.”
The reddish-orange booths looked exactly the same, like a time warp. They still had stale decorative dishes hanging up behind the bar of the dining area (circa 1930).
Even the very mugs our sweet waitress was pouring our daily brews into were the very coffee mugs I remember sipping out of when I was 14 years old. My girlfriends and I would pop into Johnny’s for a blueberry muffin at 6:00am before high school would start. That muffin made being a “walker” worth it. How twee… We are 31 now.
Why isn’t this place just as full as Starbucks on any given weekend? Could it possibly be their lack of technological advancements? The owner takes up valuable real estate at the counter with her massive laptop and about twenty wires stuffed into a phone jack for internet. (Assuming she has internet) Meanwhile the only thing in this restaurant that suggests it’s actually 2013 are the angry signs prohibiting cell-phone usage. (Excuse me: Eliminating) Seems that Victoria wants to keep the internet all to herself. Wi-Fi anyone? How about something to draw a young crowd in to spend some dollars like a jukebox and some home-style combo meal deals?
It could easily be 1995 with Johnny still cooking in the back poking his little head out of the kitchen on – the – hour. In fact everything was so exact I tried to strike up conversation with Victoria. I wanted to know whether the place had been passed down or family run. How else would she know all of Johnny’s secrets? Maybe she was Johnny’s daughter? All I got was a weary, “No”. I was only asking for good reason.
I guess next time I’ll have to keep the conversation purely about that wicked scooter she has perched up against the vacant high-top tables…
The breakfast was spot on. I ordered a mushroom cheddar omelette. The eggs were nice and fluffy and my cheese nice and cheesy! The hash browns could have used a little salt and pepper. Since the shakers are on the table there was no harm done there.
We also ordered a simple plate of eggs (sunny-side up) with bacon. Those eggs sure were sunny and the bacon nice and chewy! Both dishes automatically came with hash browns and toast. With free-flowing bottomless coffees, two apple juices and two generous places of food, you really can’t beat the price of $21.00 inc. sales tax. I made sure that the waitress received a 25% tip since she actually likes to participate in friendly banter.
I’m not going to be the first (or the last) person to say this. Victoria has no idea what she’s sitting on. The cozy corner has so much potential that Matawanians have fantasized over it for decades. I can’t count the amount of people that wished they had the capital to take this place over and turn it into something big. It’s a sin how much wasted potential it has.
Final thoughts: You would think when someone takes over an institution in such an intimate town they would feel compelled to tell their story but most importantly keep the memories alive. They should share in excitement with the locals and respect the fact that everyone holds a little piece of this place in their heart. You do not take over a historical luncheonette without one romantic bone in your body.
I wanted to take more pictures of the inside of Vicky’s but she assured me that I had enough. She told me that “I took a whole slew of them already.” I kind of thought the part where I gave her my business card and told her I was excited to blog about her restaurant might tip her off on my appreciation for this nostalgic place… So much for that.
Sorry Vicky, it will always be Johnny’s Cozy Corner to me!
Phone: 732-566-9787 Address: 135 Main Street Matawan NJ 07747
Read about Victoria’s Cozy Corner on The NJ Patch (Submit a picture if you’re quick enough to get one!)
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