Maxwell’s Tavern in Hoboken – a name gimmick?

Maxwell's Tavern oddities in Hoboken NJ Spring 2014Couple things. This new “family friendly artisanal pizza joint formerly known as gritty Maxwell’s” (Maxwell’s Tavern) had some signs up in the papered windows last week. Here are the general sentiments to those we spoke with:

“Coming this spring to a corner near you.” Umm, no. It’s coming this spring to those that live near 11th & Washington ONLY.

“Food. Beer. Legend.” No. There is no legend. It is gone.

And lastly, many wonder what the M.O. was for keeping the name. You’d think that “New Owners. New Menu. New Journey” would also encompass “NEW IDENTITY.” Instead, it’s my belief that the new owners felt the only way they could survive is by tapping whatever name-recognition power was still left. I suppose this is along the lines of “Ray’s Pizza” in NYC, when you couldn’t even tell them apart at one point, which destroyed their reputation.

Maybe we should open up a bar and call it “Mack’s Well Watering Hole” or something along those lines. But they’d probably sue.

Maxwell's Tavern Pizza Hoboken NJ

Maxwell’s Tavern restaurant – Hoboken, NJ – 1039 Washington St.

1/30/2014 Update:

Maxwell's Pizza for families in Hoboken NJ coming soonAfter all the fanfare about the “legendary” Maxwell’s closing at 11th & Washington – we have new owners taking over shortly. But instead of a completely new establishment, we’ll basically have a restaurant called Maxwell’s that “specializes” in “Artisanal Pizza.” Maxwell’s Tavern. Maxwell’s Pizza.

So the new owners Evan Dean & Pete Carr are re-configuring the pace as a “family restaurant” based on their informal “market research” of “noticing all those baby strollers on Washington Street.”

They feel that Hoboken needs a “comfortable place for families to eat” (as if all the other places are like sitting on rusty nails?) And while it’s not going to be a full-fledged pizzeria – they will specialize in “thin crust artisanal pizza.”

Ok – with that out of the way – we wish them good luck in their endeavors. We feel they’ll do good the first few months (just like almost anything new attracts the curiosity of area residents). However…

What would help Maxwell’s Pizza stand the test of time?

We feel that in order for them to survive:

  1. It has to be a good value for repeat customers. Many residents I spoke with will try it, and are happy the place will resume rather than remain empty. While others said “What artisanal means is it’ll cost $10 more for half the food. Don’t be fooled by fancy language. If it costs too much for so little, their sales will eventually die down enough for them to have to consider changes.”
  2. Strongly consider a “stroller-free zone.” No problem accepting screaming babies and hyper kids, unless you want to alienate those who don’t want to have dinner “in the family room.” They should at least have one “quiet zone” where strollers and kids are prohibited. Or vice versa.
  3. And if they can’t or won’t consider those options – I guess the only way to get people to come back is to add MSG to their food. Not illegal (just a little unethical if you don’t mention it). But that will guarantee people will “unknowingly” love it.

Will “Maxwell’s the Artisanal Pizza Stroller Parlor” be a smash hit?

Maxwell's Pizza Hoboken NJ

Hoboken NJ

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