Hazlet’s Red Oak Diner Bites the Dust

Picture from APP.Com

The beloved Hazlet eatery, the Red Oak Diner, closed down last year. It reopened in the Airport Plaza shopping center soon after as the Red Oak Grill. The building had sat vacant on Route 35 until last month when it was finally demolished. While rumors have swirled for years about various businesses coming to Hazlet (first a Wal-Mart, then a Wegman’s), it now seems that they were wrong on both accounts and we will actually have a Lidl coming to town. They are a German grocery chain promising “high quality and low prices”. We’ll see about that, but a look at the “About” section on their website is pretty enticing. 

I, for one, am not heartbroken to see the Red Oak bite the dust. Nothing against the business itself, but I just never had anything noteworthy there. I’ve lived in Hazlet for all but three years of my 26 on this earth. Must have eaten there six or seven times. Not once did I eat something that made me go, “Wow”. Yet people loved it. Swooned over it. It was a local legend. But you could tell things were winding down about two years ago. The parking lot was not as crowded and rumors swirled. It got so bad that their menus once contained a note taped to the front reading, “We are not closing!” New reviews of the Red Oak Grill have not exactly been sparkling, although Eating New Jersey’s own Hunter Dillon gave them 4 stars last spring.

With an Aldi and now a Lidl about a half-mile from each other, the Saker Shop Rite monopoly is going to have some competition. With prices through the roof (and even worse at Stop and Shop), you can expect Lidl to be a smash hit whenever it does indeed open. Aldi is always packed, day or night. The people have spoken, and niche stores are slowly but surely challenging the big guys.



  1. I am so sad I worked at the Red Oak diner early to mid 70s I ended.up being a waitress for 45 years I am in Florida now my boss JOHN POLITIS was the BEST BOSS ever it was a true Greek restaurant if any of my old co workers see this hit me up😎😘


  2. I spent hours and hours in the Red Oak when I was in high School (Raritan class of 1973). Food was cheap and great back then. Service was always welcoming and many times the wait staff looked the other way when we hungry teenagers were short on funds to pay the bill. It was a great place back then and had the best Taylor ham on a hard roll sandwich ever back then.


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