Another day, another drive along Route 70 peering into the windows of a shell of what should be a crowded Royal Farms super-convenience store location.

Each time I get a good vantage point, I squint to see if I can see the drinks in the refrigerators or the tobacco products behind the counter along the back wall. Any sort of sign that the Maryland-based chain will soon be gracing Ocean County with its presence.

When we checked in last September, it appeared the nationwide labor shortage was to blame for the hold-up in the grand opening. That was over six months ago. A red sign that reads "Opening soon" hangs across the front, a lie that grows more egregious by the day.

Dennis Malloy photo
Dennis Malloy photo

This is an ordeal that dates back 2018. The latest culprit, according to Daniel Nee of the Brick Shorebeat, is - ta-da - the state of New Jersey.

Nee, citing officials, reports that a crucial permit from the New Jersey Department of Transportation has not yet been approved. The reason?

Royal Farms is effectively surrounded by roadways under state jurisdiction – the two state highways as well as the small service roads that run between several neighboring businesses and the nearby jug-handle.

Mayor John Ducey anticipates the approval process will last about nine months. Royal Farms filed the application in December. So some simple math tells us another summer will go by without the latest competitor to Wawa and QuickChek.

Royal Farms is popular in Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware, and has slowly but surely made a mark in the New Jersey super-convenience store scene. Particularly south of I-195.

Along with fried chicken and chicken sandwiches, Royal Farms is known for its fries, coffee, and sandwiches. The experience is very familiar, just with different food options.

Assuming we are still alive when the Brick Royal Farms finally opens, it will be worth the wait.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 producer, writer, and host Joe Votruba. Any opinions expressed are his own.

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Dennis' look inside Royal Farms

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