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Porch and Proper – Collingswood, NJ

Porch and Proper – Collingswood, NJ

The building sitting directly across from Joey Baldino’s award winning Zeppoli at 619 W Collings Ave, Collingswood, NJ has had quite a storied past in a very short period of time. It ranges drastically from the disgraced Chef Alex Capasso’s Blackbird all the way to amazing Indian cuisine coming from Chef Rakesh Ramola’s mind when Indeblue was there. Well now Jason Simkins is looking to put his legacy in the history books of this location with his creation and vision as owner of Porch and Proper with Chef Anthony Marini at the helm showcasing an exquisite and delicious menu. They are doing a fabulous job and are proving that Haddon Ave isn’t the only place great dining can be had in Collingswood and maybe awards will continue on Collings Avenue. I had a great meal and will be interested to see how the menu grows and changes through the seasons. Below is listed what is in the pictures of what I had to eat, and don’t worry, everything was great and I would eat it all again in a heartbeat.

House-made bread

Proper shrimp with persillade, tarragon caper mayo, and lemon

Black Chittara with Maine lobster, truffle butter, and chilies

Soft shell crab with Jerusalem artichoke puree, kohirabi slaw, and chow chow vinaigrette

Icelandic cod with farro, blue crab, mushroom conserve, and crab veloute

Black Sesame Cheesecake

Homemade strawberry candy

Benny’s Burger Joint – Collingswood, NJ

UPDATE: Benny’s Burger Joint and all of Chef Alex Capasso’s restaurants are closed as he was arrested for child molestation 

Benny’s Burger Joint – Collingswood, NJ

Chef Alex Capasso is like a phoenix rising from the ashes in Collingswood, New Jersey. Just when one of his eateries close, he opens another one in this tiny town to take their place. His critically acclaimed Blackbird restaurant has had two locations, both now closed (he is currently in the process of opening another Blackbird in Philadelphia this time), and another casual restaurant West Side Gravy that was held in the same building of the later Blackbird incarnation.

Both Blackbird and West Side Gravy closed simultaneously, and he replaced the vacant space a month later with Benny’s Burger Joint (BBJ). BBJ is very laid back, extremely family friendly, and a throwback to the 1980’s with old school arcade games throughout the place and paintings depicting that era adorning the walls. The place was packed with diners of varying age, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. I would order the Let the Apline Play burger which is an 8oz angus beef burger with sauteed mushrooms, caramelized onions, and Alpine Swiss cheese with a side of hand cut fries.

benny burger

The flavor profile was spot on and a very nice combination. The roll held it all together without getting soggy, while being soft throughout, onions were like candy and the mushrooms were cooked perfectly for a burger. A minor error was that my burger was split in half. I do not know if it just fell apart when they were taking it off the grill or if they purposely did it to check how pink it  was in the middle. Either way it was a slight inconvenience as I had to make sure to balance the roll and hold it with both hands at all times so that one side of my burger never fell out. The other misstep would be the fries were overcooked. I know a lot of people love extra crispy fries, but the allure of hand cut fries allows for them to be a bit on the softer side and have that fresh potato taste that lacks in an ordinary french fry. Even though they were extremely crispy, they were better than your ordinary order of fries.

BBJ was very affordable, family friendly, service above average, and a fun ambiance floating throughout the place. If they tightened the few details I mentioned above they really could set themselves above and beyond the influx of burger joints that seem to have invaded the Philadelphia area recently. I enjoyed my stay at BBJ and just have to remember to bring a roll of quarters with me next time so I too can play a few songs from the jukebox and play a few games after I am done eating.

Overall
Three and Three-Fourths Stars out of Five