The large and beautiful restaurant building on the White Horse Pike in Magnolia NJ is seeing new life again, as The Laughing Fox Restaurant opened on Thursday, Sept 19th. 42Freeway visited on Friday Night. If you aren’t familiar with the restaurant or location, we were the first to report on it last month. From that post:
The property was originally a $3.5 million dollar new development back in 2013 called Royal Cracovia. The massive 16,000 sq ft restaurant was targeting a Polish theme originally, and it wasn’t long before the Woodstone took over. Unfortunately the Woodstone Tavern also closed.
The restaurant is now owned by Wayne Trang who has several restaurants in Pennsylvania, and this seems to be his first New Jersey property.
And please… for those visiting soon after the grand opening… for any new restaurant there will be a huge swell of people coming in to check it out, and everything is new to the employees… while I had no problems in my visit there is a chance that everyone is “still learning the ropes” so please be patient and give them a fair chance!
All of the beautiful details of the original restaurant remain… honestly the place was still so new I assume they just had to dust it off! If you haven’t visited in its previous incarnations, the main level is primarily a single large open space with the bar set directly in the middle. While open across the large room, there are defined areas to explore.
Off to the right side of the bar is a core dining area and and separate front-set wine bar! I was only in this restaurant once when it was Cracovia and I don’t remember if the wine bar is original or not! Restrooms for the large room are positioned on this side in the back.
The left side is additional dining tables with a stage setup for bands and DJ’s. There are two private areas on this left side. One room is called the Guiness Lodge and features a wedge shaped private area. A larger room in the back corner offers very comfortable “living room style” cushy chairs and couches, with it’s own bar to be used for the private parties.
Along the back is an exposed portion of the kitchen with a brick wood burning oven and pizza warming station.
There is also a lower level to the entire restaurant with a couple thousand square feet of space available (we didnt stop down in this trip). I remember reading with the original Royal Cracovia restaurant that a large portion of that lower level was dedicated to food preparation… in house bakery for example. I don’t know at this point to what extent the Laughing Fox is using the space.
The menu this time around is much smaller and fit on one two sided 9×5 card, unlike the massive menu of the building’s original developer. The menu items leaned towards traditional bar fare of burgers, pizzas and wings, but all presented in an a more upscale fashion. They also have several entree selections, and I tried the half chicken entree (cooked in the brick oven) and it was delicious!
It’s clear that the Laughing Fox is trying to present itself as a comfortable and approachable local spot, in a more upscale setting. To fit the “local spot” mood they are jumping right in to a full entertainment offerings with live bands on Fridays, DJ on Saturday and Thursday, Quizzo on Wednesday… and a variety of other entertainment offerings including an acoustic music night! As I previously mentioned a stage platform was placed on the left side large alcove and those who want the best music experience can sit close to the entertainment… but remember this is a very open room so the bar patrons and even the other side of the dining room will all get to experience the entertaining sounds!
I’ve seen all the reader comments in prior posts about the building’s short history. Let me just say… when the Village Pub took over the Sewell location three years ago everyone commented “That’s the 4th bar in 8 years. Nothing ever does well there” on the 42Freeway page and community FB groups. Well I live very close to the Village Pub and saw the magical transformation first hand. The prior bar would have 20 people in it on a Friday Night, then the Village Pub takes over… does some minor upgrades… and the bar is packed all of the time!
Let’s hope for the same with the Laughing Fox!
The Laughing Fox Tavern
510 S White Horse Pike
Magnolia, NJ 08049