Review: Pudster’s Restaurant {West Caldwell, New Jersey}

by Cate on August 8, 2013

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When my friend Lisa suggested dinner at Pudster’s (named after the owner’s English bulldog, Puddy), I was game.

New restaurant that we hadn’t heard of, kid-friendly, and it shares space with Let’s Yo.

What’s not to love?

Taking over the old Friendly’s space in West Caldwell, when we visited Pudster’s last month, they had only been open a week. Kinks, there were a few.

Easy to find on the busy Bloomfield Avenue, although the parking lot is a bit on the small side, we found spaces with no problem. As soon as we walked in, we were greeted by an employee asking if it was our first time there. He explained that we place our order, find a seat, and then they’ll deliver it to us. Similar set-up to how Smashburger operates.

The menu, while fairly basic, hits all the old school, casual dining food notes … milkshakes, french fries, burgers, hot dogs.

We quickly made our decisions and placed our order, all while keeping an eye out for an open place to sit. The interior of the restaurant is a bit on the small side, and there isn’t really a good place to wait for seating without being in the way of those in line ordering, and coming in the front doors. We were, luckily, able to find a table after a few minutes, but avoid lunch and dinner rushes, if you can, particularly if you have a good size group.

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When the food arrived, there was more wrong than right. My cheeseburger was missing the cheese, along with all the other toppings I ordered. We were missing fries. My friend’s hot dog was missing all the toppings she ordered (love that hot dogs come on grilled New England-style buns!). A milkshake was also MIA. We flagged a waiter over, and within a few minutes, everything was fixed.

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The hand-spun milkshakes were old school awesomeness, and the kids loved them. I wish there were kid size milkshakes available, and next time, one is plenty for them to share, but this is also a problem across the board at other restaurants as well. Milkshakes are all go big, or go without. We asked one of the staff for cups and lids to take the milkshakes with us, and he said they didn’t have any. Which sounded mostly crazy because they were doing a booming take-out business while we were there. A trip to the front counter netted us cups and lids right away.

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The burger, made with Black Angus beef from Pat LaFrieda, was very well-seasoned, and again, is similar to Smashburger in their “smashing” it into the grill method. I didn’t think it was greasy at all, although Nick thought his was a little bit (and proceeded to explain his palate to me as we discussed the burger in detail). Since I’m on TSFL, I ordered my burger without the bun, and it was served on just a piece of wax paper, which does little for presentation and is super messy when one is trying to cut it.

There is a good selection of toppings available for burgers, and they’re all free to add on. They also haven’t forgotten vegetarians, and have a Portobello Mushroom Burger on the menu as well.

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The fries, available in three varieties, were a hit all around. Well-seasoned, slightly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, and not greasy at all.

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The pricing was in line with other similar establishments, like Smashburger, Five Guys, and the like, and if you want to try it out, keep your eyes out on Groupon and LivingSocial, because they did have a recent offering for a discounted meal, which was a great bargain (just checked, Groupon still available!).

As Pudster’s shares space with Let’s Yo, frozen yogurt makes a perfect after-dinner sweet treat without the guilt (although we skipped it this time because the kids had milkshakes, and were eager to get to a new-to-us local park and playground).

Some of the high tables have the iPads available for customer use (as they do in Let’s Yo), but for some reason, these three were bolted on sideways, making it a little hard to use.

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A visit to the restroom greeted us with a large tv showing various commercials and deals for the restaurant, and a weather report and TMZ gossip updates!

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Although there were a number of glitches with our order and staffing knowledge during our visit, it *was* the first week that they were open, and that explains a lot of it. Friends who visited a few weeks after we did had less problems with order accuracy, so Pudster’s is finding their groove, and we wouldn’t hesitate to go back if we were in the area.

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Madeline insisted on paying for our meal, so I made her fork over three cents. What can I say? I’m a cheap date!

Pudster’s
632 Bloomfield Avenue
West Caldwell, New Jersey

PS They are fairly active on social media, so be sure to keep an eye on their feeds for occasional discounts and promotions.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Casey August 8, 2013 at 11:08 pm

Looks good!
Casey recently posted..Beautifully Lost in Time

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Joanne August 9, 2013 at 6:28 am

I had to laugh at the no take-out milkshake cup thing! And by laugh, I mean that my eyes bugged out of my head until I got to your next sentence.
Joanne recently posted..Creamed Corn with Garam Masala

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