Favorites on the Blackwood-Clementon Road in Gloucester Township is a cool place for everyone to check out, offering off-track horse wagering, a huge bar, an outdoor tiki bar, and even food! This weekend they are entering into their busy season as the world famous Triple Crown horse racing events start with this Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. Betting for the Derby starts today (Friday May 4th) and continues until race time on Saturday, of course.
It really is for everyone to check out, although if you are new to horse betting… well the place will be PACKED with betters Friday and Saturday stacked several persons deep at betting machines and windows. If you are new to horse wagers then make sure you have a friend to help you, and maybe stop in Friday night instead of Saturday?! Also for “noobs” consider that Favorites is open every day, and during the week and non-big race weekends, its a much more laid-back experience.
So Favorites opened 4 years ago, just as I was starting the 42Freeway blog. I absolutely knew it was there, I wanted to do a post about them (it’s kind of a big deal to get horse betting so close!)… well I wanted to do something special, but I was remodeling our house.. and literally never got to it!
Favorites is owned by Penn National Gaming, which has a lot of roots in Horse Racing but has since grown into a gaming and casino powerhouse. They own the Freehold Racetrack, which is what allows them to have off-track wagering facilities in New Jersey, such as Favorites in Gloucester Township.
Many Stone Grill features still remain
Favorites is located in the former Stone Grill restaurant building, which prior to that was the Diamond Diner. Walking through the large facility you’ll immediately recognize key aspects that they kept from the Stone Grill. The most obvious being, the very large bar is still there, but now features a ton more televisions for all of the horse races. Surrounding the bar, you’ll notice the high booths still remain. A betting window lines the back of this area, but seriously if they just brought some extra tables in it would look just like the Stone Grill again.
Next to the bar area were two table seating areas, and they have both been converted into more traditional off-track wagering areas… with many television screens and somewhat private seating setups.
Before closing down, the Stone Grill added a cool tiki bar and raised patio in the back, and Favorites still has it. Typically its only open on the weekends when the crowds warrant it, which is an interesting challenge for the Favorites management… Favorites is doing well as primarily a horse wagering venue, but its large enough and offers so much, they really could do even more with people who just want to hang out, have a beer, and maybe a bet or two.
Food: Facility Manager Tom has been in the horse racing business for many years, worked at several venues, and he says without question Favorites has the best food of any place he has been in. Sure, he has to say that (ha!), but consider when the building was the Stone Grill its primary usage was a restaurant, so they built an impressively large kitchen. Well, Favorites still has that large kitchen and it gives them the space they need to create high quality food. I want to be clear.. the food offerings are what you would expect from a sports bar (cheesesteaks, burgers, etc.) but you should be impressed with how everything is prepared!
As a side note, Favorites also still has the large downstairs catering room which they don’t use, but has been left untouched since reopening! New Jersey is working to approve sports betting, so who knows… maybe that large downstairs room will see life again soon!?
Not just for the Triple Crown races
Favorites has a great indoor bar, a really cool outdoor bar, they offer great food (consider they have a giant kitchen from when the Stone Grill was primarily a restaurant)… but most people coming in are horse bettors, and as I mentioned the venue really could handle a lot more customers who just want to hang out and have a drink, eat some food… and maybe place a bet or two.
Favorites at Gloucester Township
1300 Blackwood Clementon Rd
Clementon, New Jersey 08021
Photo Gallery (from a quiet mid-week night)