It’s getting hard for visitors not to notice Journal Square’s upward revitalization, but those taking mass transit to the neighborhood get quite a different introduction courtesy of the Port Authority. Despite the arrival of Starbucks and PJ Ryan’s a few years ago, there hasn’t been tremendous movement to fill the substantial vacant retail space inside the Journal Square PATH station.
However, there’s a new deal in place to bring a unique fast food option to the transit hub. Jollibee, a chain headquartered in the Philippines, has entered into an agreement with the Port Authority to bring a 3,623-square-foot outpost to the plaza level of the PATH station. The Authority approved the agreement during their March 21 meeting.
It’s unclear where exactly Jollibee will be opening but based on the square footage, it appears they will be taking the space next to Starbucks that was formally a PSE&G outpost. Jollibee’s lease is set to commence on April 15 and run for ten years, and the company has agreed to invest about $2.8 million during the buildout of the restaurant.
Jollibee’s brand goes back to 1978 and the chain has over 1,200 locations worldwide. The restaurant, which was once featured on the late Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown series, first came to the United States in 1998 after opening an outpost in California. They have an existing restaurant in Jersey City’s Greenville neighborhood at 393 Danforth Avenue and opened in Manhattan last year on Eighth Avenue between 39th and 40th Streets.
More Americanized items from Jollibee’s menu include their Yumburger or Chicken Joy, which is fried chicken with a Filipino twist. The restaurant’s Jolly Spaghetti, perhaps their signature dish, consists of sweet-style sauce, chunky slices of savory ham, ground meat, and hotdog over pasta. Also of note is their Palabok Fiesta, a traditional Filipino noodle dish covered in garlic sauce, crushed pork rind, shrimp, and egg. A few breakfast items including beef tenders, pork sausage, or corned beef served with sides of egg and rice round out the menu.
After being dormant for quite some time, other fast food spots should be opening soon in Journal Square’s PATH station. A Wendy’s will be replacing the relatively short-lived Chickpea on the plaza level, recently putting up signage and looking like they’re close to opening. Meanwhile, a Nathan’s Hot Dogs and Arthur Treacher’s Fish & Chips is taking over platform level space where Bagelwich used to be.
There’s still a large vacant space on the opposite side of the platform level from the future Nathan’s and another big empty storefront on the plaza level near the street exit, but it nonetheless looks like Journal Square residents and commuters should be welcoming a few new spots for a quick bite later this year.