The first thing you notice as you walk up to the entrance to the Deptford’s Filomena Restaurant is the the new outdoor patio which is nearing completion and not yet opened. The new outdoor seating will be a nice compliment to the upstairs outdoor seating… and we look forward to trying it.
But the biggest surprise awaits inside. And I will absolutely, 100% guarantee that if you knew the old bar, when you first see the new bar and space you will say “Wow! How the heck did they do this?!”.
With a bump-out building addition, the bar area is about two and a half times larger! It really is a dramatic change. The bar went from about 20 seats in a single line, to approximately 50 setup in a full circle. Plus there is even more space beyond the new bar for additional seating, which takes the table seating from around 20 to about 60, including the addition of hi-top tables and regular tables. Oh and there is a fireplace. And windows. A complete guesstimate, but I’d say the bar went from 50 by 20 feet, to 50 by 60 feet.
I knew the remodeling was going to take place for a long time. I saw the write up in the Deptford Planning Board minutes over a year ago, and I had been following the construction.. but I hadn’t stopped in this summer at all. Today as my wife and I headed out for a late dinner I said “Let’s see how the bar construction is doing”, and we really lucked out because it turns out just yesterday (Wednesday) was the first day the new bar was opened. Pure coincidence! I think I have a sixth sense for this stuff. ha. They still have a few minor details to setup, such as setting up the televisions… but other than that it’s completely opened and… well… beautiful. They aren’t advertising yet as they want to work out the kinks before they really promote it. I heard them mention they were waiting till after labor day. But I have a feeling the fans of 42Freeway will be there very soon, and I encourage you all to go check it out.
My wife and I live close to Filomena’s and we’ve stopped in to the old bar a few times, and honestly while we had a good time and there was always a good crowd, I always felt a little uncomfortable when I had to sit down the far side of the bar… because the spacing between the bar and the tables was sooo tight… well I just didn’t comfortable. But in the new remodel, there is room… room.. room… Room to move around. Room to sit. Just very comfortable.
A mildly funny thing; Filomena’s is a restaurant of multiple personalities. For many visits people are celebrating a very special occasion and they dress accordingly. Other times, the guests are much more casual. Well tonight my wife and I leaned much more to the casual side as I wore my best “Dad outfit” of polo shirt, canvas shorts and New Balance sneakers, and as we walked in the two couples we passed were definitely on the “special occasion” wardrobe plan. I wondered if we were underdressed. But once inside the first person we saw was dressed in a t-shirt and jeans, and looked like he had spent the day at a construction site. Now the funny part is, about 15 minutes later, after chatting with our excellent bartender Armand, he said he wanted to introduce us to the owner Mario. Guess what? The casual guy in jeans and T-shirt is the owner! Ha. I’m sure that’s not his regular work wardrobe and it had more to do with helping out on the final touches of the construction… but I found it very funny. We had a nice chat with Mario and wished him luck and continued success with the restaurant. The two morals of this story: Don’t judge a book by its cover, and feel comfortable visiting Deptford Filomena’s in Casual or Dress clothes!
We sat at the bar to get the full experience of the new space, and we also ordered dinner. I am not a food critic, but I will tell you the mussels, mushroom risotto and redhots we ordered where amazing! If its not obvious, the core definition of the restaurant is Italian so they have all the amazing dishes of Italy, along with other delicious entrees such as steak and seafood.
Something that pleasantly surprised me is they offer gluten free pasta, ravioli’s and PIZZA!!! People have different reasons and sensitivities for not eating gluten, and I didn’t ask for specifics on how they prepared their gluten free offerings, but I will ask in my next trip.
We really enjoyed our visit, and while all the staff was very pleasant… I’d like to give a big shout out to our main bartender Armond. He was very pleasant to talk to. A very engaging personality and funny guy who chatted with us about several topics including food recommendations, the restaurant’s history, and other interesting topics.
To wrap this all up… Filomena’s is a popular destination that isn’t on a main road, which says a lot about their food and dining experience. And the new bar really is a “Oh I have to check this out” experience. As a Deptford resident, its really cool to have this as a local dining option.
Filomena’s Lakeview Deptford
1738 Cooper Street
Deptford NJ 08096