Do You Remember…Larison’s Turkey Farm Inn (Chester, NJ)

Photo Courtesy of Panoramio

Why do certain restaurants pop into our heads? Ones that we are fond of, and some we wish we had still forgotten. That’s where this series comes in. It’s not quite in the “Restaurants We Miss” territory. These are just the places worthy of a quick reminisce, or maybe because I cannot remember enough about them to develop a lengthy post. 

My most striking memory of this place was located on the upstairs floor. Using the bathroom meant walking past a room enclosed in glass. Housed in that room were taxidermy animals, including a polar bear staring right at you with teeth exposed. It freaked me out as a kid, and honestly, quite a few adults too. Then again, I’m pretty sure the folks at Larison’s Turkey Farm Inn in Chester killed the turkeys themselves out back, so it was not too out of place.

A Larison’s menu I recently found. (1/2)

The online record for this restaurant seems to stop at around 2000. The property itself is well-documented through the Chester Historical Society. It closed as the Larison’s we all knew and loved in 2001. After a legal battle over what to do with the property, it was sold and reopened with the same title a year later. It closed again in 2005 before being turned into the Puddingstone Inn in 2007 and finally Larison’s Steakhouse in 2008. It would close once and for all in 2009, putting an end to a tumultuous decade in this location’s 200+ year history.

Unlike the other restaurants profiled in this series, there are quite a few pictures online. The building itself was historic, built in 1800. It was a beautiful place. I remember the wood-paneled walls and sitting there with my family. For some reason, I even remember waiting outside. They had a pretty long wait on Sunday afternoons when we used to go there for the “Sunday Dinner” every few months. It only cost $13.95 a person. It would probably be knocking on $22 now.

Had they survived a little longer, I have no doubt Larrison’s would have ended up on a Food Network or Travel Channel show. This was a place devoted to “farm fresh”. They had a wide variety of items, but most people were obviously there for the turkey. There was an all-you-can-eat option, which I’m pretty sure my family would get. I wish they were still around. You know how much I love good food in such a rustic setting. Unfortunately, according to that article linked above, as of May 2017, the building was slated for demolition. The historical society has testified against such an action, but time will tell what will happen. Ah, Larison’s Turkey Farm Inn…do you remember?



  1. I loved Larison’s Turkey farm restaurant. It was a great to celebrate family dinners at such a nice place especially on Thanksgiving when mama gets too old to cook! Wish someone would open another place as such. I remember this place so packed with people. Could hardly get a reservation
    So there is is a need!


  2. It was a great ace to take the kids…we use to travel from Staten island for Sunday dinner…its a shame it can’t be saved and opened again


  3. Loved going there and then antiquing in Chester. We’re in PA now but I was thinking about our tmes there, decided to look it up and found your article. So sad to hear it’s fate.


  4. I remember going there as a child with my family for dinners. From what I recall, there used to be large wooden picnic style dining tables and you sat with other families together at the same table.


  5. I was just reminiscing about our family trips to Hacklebarney state park (we’ve been in Virginia now for decades) and remembered we’d often stop at the turkey farm for a meal. That was now 50 years ago. It was a lovely place. I’m sorry the building may not be preserved. Thanks for the update!


  6. We loved to drive from long island n.y. to have dinner at the turkey farm many many times!!!!!! All our relatives from N.J Jamesburg Hightstown Cranburry Ringoes Eatontown would meet us there and we certenly enjoyed the dinner and day there. It is a shame alot more people wont be abel to enjoy it there anymore!!!!


    • Your family seems to be from all over Central Jersey, yet you met there, in Chester, which isnt near ANY of those towns? The place must have been REAL special!


  7. I fondly remember Larison’s Turkey Farm. The food was absolutely delicious the price was absolutely incredible, and I well remember the rooms you mentioned as you go upstairs to use the bathroom. One room had taxidermied animals in it and the other had beautiful antique dolls behind glass paneled doors. It was a very fond place in my memory and I sure do miss it!


  8. Just came across this article, 2020.
    My parents lived at Larison’s Turkey Farm apartment when they were first married in 1963. I lived there for about the first year of my life. We have a picture of my dad and I talking with the turkeys. Our families had many celebration meals and most Thanksgivings at Larison’s Turkey Farm.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I grew up in Chester in the 50s and 60s, and Larison’s turkey was certainly a part of my life. The image of the place that impressed itself most lastingly on my child’s eye was a framed display of native arrowheads on the wall.


  10. I grew up at that farm! Every year in October we would all get together from Brooklyn, NY and travel there. I think about it al the time! Esp since losing my dad. Those were my childhood memories. I’m so happy I read this article. Brough me back! And to tears! The taxidermy rooms!! I have a Lot of photos of the place if anyone is interested.


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