Stewart’s Root Beer Stand

Morgan Memories – Stewart’s Root Beer Stand

Stewart’s Root Beer Sign in Morgan, NJ

Stewart’s Root Beer Sign in Morgan, NJ in May 2005

There was nothing better on a hazy, hot, and humid summer day than to bike over between Stevens Avenue and Vineyard Avenue on the northbound side of Route 35 to get a California cheese burger and a frosty cold glass mug overflowing with a root beer float at Stewart’s Drive-In.  Remember the orange colored wooden stand?  If your bike couldn’t handle the whole family, then driving up for the car hop service was another great experience.  Much as was done with the sound speakers at the Amboy Drive-In on Route 9 near the EdisonBridge, a [young female] car hop would hang metal trays with rubberized feet containing your family’s meal off of the driver side window.  Yum!!

Stewart’s Root Beer Stand in Morgan, NJ

Brother-in-Law Martin About to Enjoy a Frosty One at Stewart’s Root Beer in Morgan, NJ in May 2005.

In the 1960’s and 70’s – and probably earlier & later – Stewart’s was a seasonal restaurant with big wooden slats hinged to the roof which would be folded and locked down each evening and during the off season.  There was no year round enclosed dining area as would come later (see photo).  Patrons either stayed in their car or sat on a padded metal stool some where along one of the open windows.  The slats kept the dining customers dry – and sometimes – shaded.  I preferred the metal stools on the Vineyard Avenue side next to the freezer.  This was the east side of the building and was shaded from the afternoon sun.  One shouldn’t drink root beer in the morning after all.

Does anyone know when this stand was first built or anything else about its early days?  Sadly, as of the time of this writing, all that is left of our beloved Stewart’s is a pile of rubble in the building’s footprint and a clothing donation box near Stevens Avenue.  The restaurant was torn down sometime between the summer of 2005 and 2009.

Fortunately for those still living in Morgan, there are still over 20 other Stewart’s Restaurants in New Jersey.  Looks like the closest is in Matawan.  For the rest of us who live somewhere else where there are no nearby Stewart’s Drive-ins, bottled Stewart’s Root Beer is offered by many grocery store chains with that classic combination of root beer and maple syrup taste.  You can even drink it in your car!  While it is sad there are no Stewart’s in California where I live, we do have In-n-Outs.

Click here to see a short history of the Stewart’s Root Beer Drive-in Restaurant chain.

Originally posted on August 26, 2009.

7 thoughts on “Stewart’s Root Beer Stand

  1. Harry Applegate

    Let me start off by saying that I love your site! I have lived in Morgan all my life and enjoy reading about so many of the great details about our town.
    Just a couple of things about Stewarts-
    – Historical Aerials – – dates the building all the way back to 1940, but after 1931.
    – I recall my mom saying her cousins worked there when they were young so that had to be the ’50s.
    – I remember around 1979 or so, Stewarts had a fire that I believe started in the kitchen. While there was extensive damage, the fire is what prompted the change from an open air stand (with glass sliding doors around) to the indoor setup which existed until it was leveled.

    Hope that helps!

    1. morgannjadmin Post author

      Thanks for the info, Harry!! There was nothing like a cold, frosty Stewart’s Root Beer! The liquid would freeze on the outside of the glass as it frothed over the lip. Yum.

  2. Linda Frankel [Moskal]

    I was heartbroken when I heard the Stewarts was torn down. I have been to other Stewart`s and it wasn`t the same. The Morgan Stewart`s was the best!

  3. Don Fruehwirth

    i have and still do live in morgan my whole life – 50+ years. and here is my stewarts story. i believe it was sometime between 1983 – 1985. i pulled up in my 1971 chevelle to order some burgers with my friend, when suddenly we heard skidding out on the highway very close to where my car was parked. a car came flying off the highway- took out the side of my chevelle then went through the windows of the resturant and then right at me- i had to jump over the counter to escape getting hit by the car. even though my car was wrecked i managed not to get hurt. then after all the police had left and all was said and done- i finally got to order my burgers. what a day – huh. i still have the newspaper clipping from the event to this day. and ps – one of the guys involved in the accident on the highway was a fella i graduated high school with!!!!

  4. jerry

    YUM!!!!!!!!!!!! After a ride down da SHORE we would stop of at his Stewarts Stand and grab a cold oneof ROOT BEER a few dogs to tide us over, before the times f McDonalds and BK …GREAT MEMORIES and still smell the salt water and fishy smell to this day!

  5. Bill Love

    I can almost taste those wrinkled, deep-fried Schickhaus (< sp ???) hot dogs and ice-cold root beer viewing those photos. Enjoying them was a ritual for me on my bike during summers in the mid-1960s.


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