Two restaurants that had received approval in 2020 to occupy a former bank location in a busy Brick Township shopping plaza will be coming to the township after all, following a separate hearing where a modified plan for the establishments was denied.
Shake Shack will open its only Ocean County location in the Brick Commons shopping center (best known as the ShopRite/Kohl’s shopping center) at Route 70 and Chambers Bridge Road. It will be accompanied by one of the four First Watch locations in New Jersey.
The 2020 approval allows the restaurants to open in the space of the former Santander Bank branch that occupied a pad site at the shopping center. In 2022, the owner of the shopping center, Urban Edge Properties, submitted a new application to the township’s zoning board that expanded the building by about 300 square feet and added outdoor seating areas and a drive-through lane for the Shake Shack. The plan was rejected by the board after significant safety concerns were raised regarding the levels of traffic in the parking lot of the notoriously-busy shopping center.
Urban Edge announced Monday that the two restaurants would ultimately move into the location. Township Planner Tara Paxton said the restaurants’ approval received in 2020 remained valid, and the developer would rely on that approval.
“They went back to the original approval and followed the previously approved site plan,” Paxton said.
Shake Shack will bring “one of the country’s most popular burger concepts” to the area for the first time, an announcement from Urban Edge said.
First Watch, based in Bradenton, Fla., is a chain of casual restaurants that operates three New Jersey locations. It serves breakfast and lunch platters featuring items such as avocado toast, smoked salmon eggs benedict, farm stand breakfast tacos, lemon ricotta pancakes, and a fresh juice bar. It also features seasonal specialties that change periodically. The restaurant takes its name from the first work shift aboard a ship, as First Watch restaurants are open from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
“Brick Commons is a highly trafficked destination with fantastic proximity to the Jersey Shore’s beach destinations,” said Justin Lustig, Vice President of Leasing for Urban Edge Properties. “This new pad site faces Route 70 and creates a desirable spot for both of these restaurants and even more compelling reasons for our guests to visit, stay and shop.”
Urban Edge completed a project to upgrade the facade of the shopping center in 2018 and recently hosted the opening of the Round Pie pizza restaurant to its property. The company did not specify when, exactly, construction would begin or when the restaurants were expected to open.