As a follow-up to the earlier story of the history of the Aunt Chubby’s Luncheonette building in Hopewell (the corner store at North Greenwood and Railroad Place), we have two menus kindly provided by the Aunt Chubby’s family – one from when the store was known as Chubby’s Luncheonette (around 1991 to 2012), and another from when it was Ewing’s, aka “The Corner Store,” (around 1925 to 1945 or later).
- Earlier post and associated brief on the story of the Rose & Chubby’s Luncheonette, back to the first store around 1902.
- The scoop on Aunt Chubby’s Luncheonette (Hopewell Express, 6/21)
Much has stayed the same between the two menus, and the selections are still familiar to us today (although the prices certainly have changed – see below). Lunch offerings for both include hamburgers and cheeseburgers, grilled cheese with ham or tomato, minute steaks, and BLTs. Drinks include coffee (of course), tea, milk, hot chocolate, soda, and milk shakes.
Ewing’s also offered plain old peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, as well as tomato and lettuce (BLT, no B). And Chubby’s added the New Jersey staple, the pork roll, along with the great invention, the bacon burger (BLT, plus burger!).
The Ewing’s menu focuses on its ice cream fountain service and lunch, while the Chubby’s menu covers breakfast and lunch, with a few ice cream drinks.
The Ewing’s Corner Store originally was described variously as a “candy store” or a “confectionary store,” and sold candy, ice cream, soda, and cigars. By 1948, the store promoted itself as a luncheonette, serving “sandwiches and other specialties from our grill.” The Ewing’s name was still used by later owners, so this menu may be from the later period when it was run by Jimmy Hall (1953 to 1971).
The front of the Ewing’s menu is dedicated to color advertising for Dolly Madison ice cream, featuring its Darlene brand combining multiple flavors in one bar. (You can see a Dolly Madison sign hanging at the corner of the building in photos up to at least 1955.)
The other side has the actual Ewing’s menu selections (but not in color). The left half has the extensive ice cream fountain offerings, with ice cream, ice cream sodas, sundaes with a variety of mix-ins, and the banana split – the most expensive item on the menu at 40 cents. There are also milk shakes, malted milk, and sodas, including coke, orange freeze, and “orange freeze with orange ice” (which increased the price from 10 to 15 cents).
The lunch menu on the right half is fairly simple and straightforward, as an enhancement to the ice cream business. There are basic sandwiches (“no extra change for toasting”), Heinz hot soups, grilled burgers and sandwiches, and the “super duper hamburger” (what we might call the California burger with lettuce, tomato, onion, and cheese).
Rose & Chubby’s started in the building in 1979, and then became simply Chubby’s in 1991, until it closed around 2012.
The Chubby’s Luncheonette menu is in pink, with stylized train cars on the front (coming and going).
The menu features basic and practical comfort food.
Breakfast offers eggs, omelets, and “other great things” (pancakes, cereal, toast, etc.), with popular options and side dishes.
Lunch has the staples (cold and grilled sandwiches), with popular add-ons (e.g., pork roll, with both egg – and cheese!), and beverages (still including ice cream drinks).
The prices for similar foods increased roughly 10 times between the two menus:
- The Ewing’s menu ranges from 5 cents for a small soda or tea to the banana split for 40 cents.
- The Chubby’s menu ranges from 60 cents for a small soda to $4.95 for a western omelet.
- The Ewing’s menu has coffee for 10 cents, tea for 5 cents, and sodas for 5 to 10 cents.
- The Chubby’s menu has coffee or tea for 80 cents and sodas for 60 to 75 cents.
- Ewing’s sandwiches are 20 to 35 cents (for ham and cheese), grilled sandwiches are 25 to 40 cents (again ham and cheese), and even the super duper hamburger is only 35 cents.
- Chubby’s ham and cheese is $3.40, and $3.35 when grilled, while the plain hamburger is $2.25 and the California burger with cheese is $3.10.
- Ewing’s milk shakes are 15 to 20 cents (with ice cream), jumbo ice cream sodas are 25 cents, and sundaes are 25 to 30 cents.
- Chubby’s milk shakes are $2.70 and ice cream sodas are $2.30.
Neighborhood Comfort Food
This corner store near the railroad station in Hopewell has been a fixture since around 1902, offering convenience products and food for railroad commuters and neighboring homes and businesses. It started out in the early 1900s as Mrs. John Gould’s confectionery store, selling bread, cake, candy, and cigars, expended around 1910 as Mary Louetta Von Steeg’s into more of a grocery store, also selling candy, tobacco and cigars, stationary, and ice cream, and then added a basic luncheonette when it was Ewing’s and later Jimmy’s Corner Store.
The business was more of a restaurant by the time it became Rose & Chubby’s in 1979, and there were additional menu options and specials posted on the walls. Friday was clam chowder day in the 1980s, alternating between Manhattan and New England each week – especially good with a BLT made with summer tomatoes! And the cheese omelet was so thin and tasty (although we never knew exactly what the cheese was). Comfort food!
The Corner Store
- See the Mementos Gallery for more images of items from Chubby’s and around our towns.
- See the earlier post on the story of the Rose & Chubby’s Luncheonette, with more details and images, back to the first store around 1902.
== View the full Property Brief: Rose & Chubby’s – 1 Railroad Place (PDF) ==
Can you help clarify when these menus were in use, or do you have additional similar menus or other artifacts? We would love to hear more.