The corner of Route 31 and Pennington-Hopewell Road, once home to QuickChek, may soon become your favorite watering hole.
An application submitted to the Hopewell Township Planning Board seeks to “convert the former QuickChek into a bar and restaurant.” According to the preliminary site plan checklist submitted to the Hopewell Township Planning Board, Lakeside Liquors & Cafe seeks an adaptive reuse of the existing building and parking.
“We are so excited to be back in Hopewell and to get this project off the ground,” said Mike Attara, former owner of Hopewell Valley Golf Club and now principal of Lakeside Liquors and Cafe. “Our construction permits were just issued. We like the concept of what QuickChek was, a place to get a sandwich and a cup of coffee, plus the added benefit of enjoying upscale events.”
Attara continued: “We are thinking of having guest chefs creating salads and entrees. And obviously tastings, the whole cooler section will be able to offer craft beer and wines. The convenience factor will be there plus you can enjoy a drink on the patio.”
On April 8, 2021, the Hopewell Township Planning Board heard the application for preliminary and final site plan approval. The application contained no new variances. Lakeside Liquors & Cafe proposes reuse of the existing structure and parking. Two witnesses appeared on behalf of Lakeside Liquors & Cafe: Attara, and Francis Goeke, the civil engineer of Lanning Engineering, who prepared the site plan.
The entire lot is owned by Ewing Leasing Co. of Lambertville, NJ and a portion of the property is leased to Lakeside Liquors & Cafe. The applicant seeks to use approximately 5,000 square feet for the proposed new business leaving the existing tenants to occupy the remaining 3,680 square feet. The businesses currently occupying that space are Fyrefly Yoga and Pennington Sewing & Vacuum.
The site plan, prepared by Lanning Engineering of Hamilton, calls for indoor bar seating and restaurant tables as well as patio seating. The application states the interior will be used for “mainly retail sales of liquor, beer, snack food and sandwiches.” There will be a small table seating area for eight as well as nine bar seats. The only exterior addition will be a fence around the existing patio designed to accommodate 16 customers for outdoor seating. The Lanning site plan shows 50 existing parking spaces and plans no changes to that configuration.
The Planning Board unanimously approved the application on April 8. There were no new variances issued. Multiple prior variances which existed for QuickChek were extended to accommodate this new use of the property. That decision was memorialized at the May 13 Planning Board meeting.
Under a Hopewell Township Resolution approved on July 1, 2021, the liquor license that had been issued to Hopewell Valley Golf Club & Country Club LLC was approved to Lakeside Liquors and Cafe.
Hopewell Township Committee and Planning Board member Kevin Kuchinski shared: “We are excited to see an adaptive reuse of the QuickChek site in an area devoid of food options. And this is a great use of the liquor license to bring a new dining and entertainment option to township residents.”
Attara said that Lakeside Liquors & Cafe is now under construction. “We would love to be open by October 1 but we are at the mercy of material deliveries and final inspections. Hopefully, all goes smoothly, so we can be there to allow folks to enjoy some fall weather on the patio.”