Jollibee and Wendy’s Headline Journal Square PATH Plaza Revamp

Journal Square Path Plaza Retail Wendy's
Wendy’s opening soon at Journal Square PATH Plaza. Photo by Chris Fry/Jersey Digs.

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.

Journal Square Path Plaza Retail Jollibee 2
Jollibee’s lease is more than likely for this vacant space next to Starbucks. Photo by Chris Fry/Jersey Digs.

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.

Journal Square Path Plaza Retail Jollibee
Jollibee chicken joy spaghetti. Photo via Jollibee website.

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.

Journal Square Path Plaza Retail Restaurants
Nathan’s and Arthur Treacher’s opening soon inside the Journal Square PATH station. Photo by Chris Fry/Jersey Digs.

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.



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  1. It’s great to see more food options in the food desert known as JSQ! Whatever happened to Chipotle opening in JSQ?

    Also noticed Flatbread Grill went out of business in JSQ? Place didn’t last too long…I have to admit it was pretty bad. Seemed like a very poorly run operation. Hopefully these new businesses have better luck!

  2. Chipotle is supposedly still coming to 26 Journal Square. According to Flatbread Grill’s IG stories a while back, they allegedly shut down temporarily due to a bad leak that the landlord refused to repair. It definitely seemed like they had operation issues too though.

  3. I’m hoping a new grocery store opens up with some healthy options and fresh produce. There’s mostly fast food chains in JSQ and I have to go downtown, near Grove st. If I want something healthier.

  4. The retail space next to Santander Bank is also under construction. The bank got smaller and I thought Jollibee was opening there instead.

  5. I wouldn’t really call any of that stuff real food.

    but hey, at least it’ll give more places for the homeless to hang out.

  6. THe PA is simply rearranging the deck chairs while ignoring the safety and comfort of the travelers who use the facility. They have no respect for the well known fact that a large percent of the users of the building are elderly and handicapped. But they shut down escalators for 12 and more hours, leaving those people who need access to and from buses to either climb up and down stairs or walk around to another another bus lane in hope perhaps that lane may have the escalator access they need – and the chances are high that lane has no escalator working either.

    The bus lanes themselves are badly designed and marked – and that has beeb the situation in the 50 years since it was built. There have never been ANY upgrades or improvements. The waiting areas are wind tunnels to rival those at an aeronautical research center. The simple cubicles offered on the bus lanes at Newark’s Penn Station would be a huge help – but no one at JSQ cares. Overhead there are pigeons crapping all over. There are no clearly marked boarding places so there are clumps of people waiting for a bus that may or may not discharge or load there. There are no seats for old people who must sometimes wait an hour for a bus. The less-than a handful of flip-down perches, aside from being inadequate, are broken anyway.

    So build more Wendys. Let another Chickpea or Bagel Master waste its rent. The property is a user’s nightmare. Adding one more fast food place is not going to make any difference. That joint will fail just like every thing that has gone before it because the building insults its users and they want nothing to do with it.

  7. Jollibee is a popular mukbang destination for travel vloggers visiting the Philippines bec of the tendency of these videos to go viral. It is the no.1 fast-food chain in the country, and is spreading steadily worldwide. If you like fried chicken, Chickenjoy should pass the test. For a uniquely Filipino dessert experience, try Halo Halo.

  8. While it’s true that the Journal Sq PATH has always been the most god awful pile a shit of a building with no regard for it’s customers I’ve never felt it to be unsafe, nor as sleazy, not withstanding the 24/7 dick party in the men’s lounge. It never rivaled NY’s 42 St PA which at it’s worst was like entering Dante’s 7th circle of Hell. But yes customer comfort has always been nonexistent due primarily to the PA’s anti bum agenda and their mantra of keep moving keep moving keep moving. These new food establishments will offer a massive but tasty dose of salt and saturated fat but not much else. Whoever said modern life is rubbish knew what they were talking about. And Journal Sq has it in spades.

  9. Like most things in JC…the PATH station is poorly designed. They closed the little walkway that went along the building they want to turn into a museum, I have no idea why. I know they are working on the building but why close that path way? So now people are scattered all over the place mainly by the area where the buses come and go. The buses have zero respect for pedestrians…regularly buses turn from Sip Ave with zero regard for pedestrians….even the when the walk sign is on.

    1 JSQ is a disaster that may be in court for years so who knows when that wasteland will be built. I still like the fact that more food options are coming…I’m not much of a fast food person but if I ever have to eat it I would probably choose Wendys. Starbucks was a good addition…PJ Ryans seems decent but never been..comparing how JSQ was 5-10 yrs ago to now is a world of difference! But still needs a ton of work.

  10. Arguably, JSQ is a bit better than it was 5 or 10 years ago. Large chains like Starbucks due demographic studies before opening a business. But the fact is the scumbag executives and their cronies at the PA are getting huge salaries and pensions and meanwhile there are constant delays on the train service. How can it be that in a major metropolis service to the WTC on weekends is completely shut down for a year and a a half.
    There’s no waiting room, bus lanes are like a cold wind tunnel when the weather is inclement, as pointed out above no escalator service after 9pm, and no restrooms open after 9pm. I actually saw a young lady squat down and piss herself on the train late at night a few months ago. Appalling customer service but that’s been the norm for ages.

    And fuck Starbucks. There’s a reason why they are the first to get their windows smashed up by the anti-globalist anarchists. How about a bookstore or an art gallery or small theatre or vinyl record shop or anything with some aesthetic value or refinement to it. Actually if memory serves there used to be bookstore on the mezzanine level. Those were different times…….

  11. There was a real bookstore at Journal Square back in the day. My first bookstore. I heard that it was managed by the historian Will Durant’s sister. My Father Louis Aronson managed in the early 60s the Hudson News stand by the staircase by the PATH station entrance. Journal Square sounds very different, but is it better? Journal Square was a thriving and vital public square, comparable in its own way to Trafalgar Square, Amsterdam’s Damrak, Prague’s Wenceslas Square. How is it now?

  12. I’m just comparing to the last few decades when it’s been a dead zone. Still not comparable to the heyday when it was a thriving business district. It’ll get back there at some point but it’ll be different. More Manhattan style with high rises. It would be a different story if we had been able to preserve the old victorians and brownstones in JSQ but unfortunately those got destroyed and replaced by vinyl hell.

    But JSQ still has a long way to go to get there..but commercial demand is definitely picking up with new restaurants, bars, stores…etc. But it’s going to take a lot of time since it’s such a large space. You walk down Bergen Ave most of the shops give me hives just walking by. But in 10 yrs I think JSQ will be like a different planet.

  13. Bookstore….yes…..damn I have a good memory! lol……..Well, Murray now it’s very similar to St Germain-de-Pres in the left bank of Paris. Cafes, bars, high end shopping, elegant ladies dressed in the latest fashion……
    joking…….It’s quite the opposite of everything that’s quaint and charming and refined. Dazed is right, things are picking up along with the city wide real estate. Money changes everything.

    Bergen Ave, however, is more like the ass end of downtown Karachi. Not exactly slummy, not exactly pleasant.
    Post Euro immigration brought in a class of working poor and lower middle class from third world countries who just don’t know any better. Agreed that in 5 to 10 years with more money rolling in it will be vastly different.

  14. JSQ is probably the dumbest building structure ever made. The subway is open air but you have all this…cavernous building around it???

    Also the PATH is run terribly at that station too, why do the escalators always go up when it’s morning rush and down when it’s evening rush?

    Wendy’s and Jolibee’s current menus both offer basically no vegan options whatsoever. It’s 2019. JSQ keeps doing the wrong thing.


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