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Neenas Brick Oven Pizza and Coffee Bar – Sewell, NJ

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Upscale with a smile.

Neena’s Brick Oven Pizza and Coffee Bar
Sewell, NJ
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Price Paid: $25 (Two – including tip & coupon)
Meal: Dinner / Weekday / 730p
Compare to: Bertucci’s, Pizza Hut Italian Bistro

The problem with a lot of these gourmet pizza places is that when push comes to shove, the pizza isn’t that much better than something you can order for considerably cheaper. Thankfully, Neena’s is fairly consistent across the board and is a viable place to have a nice dinner with friends.

We’ve been there twice in the last few weeks, taking the trip into Sewell to hear the sounds of Coffee House Players’ artists amidst the cozy Italian interior of Neena’s. We’ve only gone on Thursdays when the live music has been there, and the seating is almost always maxed out around the 730 start time. The staff is friendly with its regulars, but we’ve found service speed a little uneven between our two visits; one time we were served our dinners in under ten minutes, and the second it took at least double that. With the music and a full table it’s not a deal-breaker, but if we were sitting alone it may have been an awfully long wait.

The menu is full of brick oven pizza (duh!) available in many varieties. We’ve gotten a lot of feedback from those who’ve tried most of the specialty pizzas, and they’re almost always thumbs up. We did run into someone who said the seafood pizza was ‘awful’ on their prior visit, but had ironically re-ordered it and was delicious the second time around (that’s adventurous!). The few slices I’ve had, while good, weren’t as earth-shattering as I’ve hoped. Your mileage may vary, but you should get there plenty satisfied if you’re strictly sticking to pizza.

As far as the rest of the menu, it’s full of various italian dinners, sandwiches, paninis, and wraps. It would be foolish, however, to skip the bar-style appetizers. We found the onion rings to be pretty damn good, served with a horseradishy/ranchy dipping sauce. They are on the smaller side, but cooked almost identically the same both times we ordered them. There’s enough for two people to have several rings each. The mozzarella sticks are also above average, slightly on the larger side, and come with a tasty marina dip. Like the onion rings, they came hot and are decidedly ungreasy. They have just enough breading to satisfy my preferences. With a full table, I’d actually order two of these. We’ve also tried the breadsticks and thought they were delicious.

For dinner, we’ve had a chicken cheesesteak, tomato and mozzarella sandwich, and a chicken panini. Personally, I’d give the nod to the tomato and mozzarella creation, although I would have liked a heartier bread than the flakey one they serve with it. The chicken panini was very good, but again, the breading seemed inadequate – it was quite thin and fell apart on us. Let me make clear that I’d order each of these items again, so obviously I’m not too sour on them. The chicken cheesesteak, however, I’d probably pass on the next time around. Instead of shredding the chicken, they went for a fancier twist and had flaked the chicken into large chunks. For whatever the reason, it just doesn’t taste the same and I wished they had just gone traditional. All of the items are available to be served with french fries, which we found to be supplied in an honest proportion and were quite good. It is clear that the ingredients used are top-quality, and the pricing is fairly reasonable. We havent tried any of the pasta dishes, but they looked pretty good in passing. If you have, be sure to comment.

Keep some room for dessert; there’s a lot to choose from. There are a lot of individual-sized cake creations that we think are generally good. We tried a carrot cake and a peanut butter choco-thing and loved them both. The canolis looked pretty but didn’t especially wow us. Although Neena’s likes to also tag itself as a ‘coffee bar’, it doesnt have the atmosphere. We did, however, try a ‘milky way’ specialty hot chocolate, and loved it. It was rich without being overbearing, hot, and all around a nice close to our meal.

Pros:

– Terrific appetizers
– High quality ingredients
– Friendly service
– Reasonable pricing
– Live music on Thursdays
– Family atmosphere without looking lame

Cons:

– I’d swap some bread choices they’re using for sandwiches
– Sometimes they outdo themselves with presentation (ie chicken cheesesteak)

Guru’s Score: 4.0 Chews
★★★★☆
Subjective rating: We’ll come back.

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Last 7 posts by Chewru Guru

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Neenas Brick Oven Pizza and Coffee Bar - Sewell, NJ, 4.0 out of 5 based on 22 ratings

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10 Responses to " Neenas Brick Oven Pizza and Coffee Bar – Sewell, NJ "

  1. Gumpo says:

    I’ve been going to Neena’s every Thursday for about six months now. The combination of live entertainment and good food at a decent price perfectly justifies fulfilling my daily need for sustenance, while giving me a pleasing place to hang out with friends and take in the live performers.

    I’ve had a variety of the foods they serve at Neena’s, from the basic plain cheese pizza all the way up to their chicken alfredo pasta dish. Here’s a quick rundown on my opinions:

    Pizza: The plain cheese is extraordinary. It reminds me of Oak Valley pizza when Carl Hazzard still owned the shop. (Locals to that area of Deptford should know who i mean.) The rest of their pies that i’ve tried have been more average, but certainly very enjoyable.

    Steak sandwich: Honestly, when i eat at what is essentially a pizza parlor, i tend to expect a top of the line steak sandwich. The day i ordered my sandwich, my friends ordered the cheesed variety. We were all rather disappointed, there wasn’t much meat between the bread, and the fancier roll they used just didn’t taste as good as the more generic rolls that are normally on steak sandwiches. We voiced our opinions, but havn’t braved ordering them again since.

    Chicken alfredo: I love alfredo. I’ve had alfredo from nearly everywhere that serves it. There are many ways of making alfredo, and just as many opinions on how it should taste. While Neena’s alfredo sauce wasn’t my favorite blend of those i’ve tried, it certainly holds up well – easily beating out the alredo i’ve had at Olive Garden, but not quite living up to what I’ve tasted from the now closed Pasta Cheech. Alfredo preferences aside, there’s one thing i don’t think anyone could disagree on; the lightly grilled chicken served on top of the pasta is quality and delicious.

    Chicken Cesar salad wrap: It’s big. loaded with mostly lettuce and some chopped chicken and dressing, its really what you would expect for a wrap – but it is well stuffed, diner style, and that can actually be a problem. Even though i thought it was delicious, i tend not to order it because it falls apart too easily and becomes overly complicated to eat. I know it sounds silly, but sandwiches and wraps that fall apart and become difficult to eat, or are hard to handle from the start, tend to discourage me from having them, because i’m a bit obsessive compulsive about the cleanliness of my hands.

    Appetizers: I’ve tried the onion rings, mozzarella sticks, and “Italian quesadillas”, and would order all of them again, if it wasnt for the cost. For about $6-7, you get about 10 onion rings or 5 cheese sticks. Sorry, but i don’t see the value in that – unless of course, you come with a coupon for free appetizers. As the guru said, all are tasty and consistent, but the quantity served is a bit disproportionate to the portions of their dinners, which are normally quite generous, the only exception to this being the “Italian quesadillas”, which in reality are just breadsticks – for a similar price, you get enough to easily fill yourself up on if you were to eat them solo.

    Wow. I’ve eaten there way too much.
    Large pizza and sodas for three people for about $15? plus free live entertainment on Thursdays? can’t beat that!

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  2. Chewru Autumn says:

    Terrific comment! We’ve gone there a few times and keep coming back. =)

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  3. john palumbo says:

    I must say that at times the pizza is different sometimes,I quess that’s because of who makes it..I know when Neenas was young in there beginng when they first opened in Sewell the pizza was outstandingly great,could say it was the best brick oven pizza ever tasted in my life,from there seafood pizza,california pizza,bada bing,and there outstanding tomato pie,What ever happened to that?My family really enjoys the entertainment on Thursdays.but most of all the thing that brings me and my family and freinds to Neena’s is the freindly staff..and the owners Bobby and Deneene who give you such a warm welcome..That’s what its about not just good food..just good people!!!Keep up thr good work and Thank You for coming to our neighborhood!!!!!

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  4. Ashley McKulley says:

    Well I have to say it’s a great place to go for the price,with such a freindly staff and fairly good entertainment..always a pleasure to stop in a get a good pizza,a coffee,and a outstanding dessert,the only beef me and my boyfreind have is the food never is the same.We normally get the basic cheese pizza.On three different ocassions the pizza looked and tasted different.Why is that?So we wanted something different so we ordered a pizza with no cheese and added roasted peppers and sausage it was very good.We prefer no cheese,i truley beleive the reason the pie taste different is the cheese,the quaility of the cheese used is not so great for my taste,I think if Neena’s used a better quality of cheese the pizza would be primo..and yes i would like to know also..what ever happened to that great tasting tomato pie that we ordered before?we have gotten before and it was so good we ordered one to take home..ordered it again and it was not even close to the one we ordered the first time..we love the desserts,my boyfreind loves the cannolis and the chai tea..me I love a good pizza!!!Please if possible find a better cheese..other than that the place is outstanding!!!!

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  5. Tommy Celano says:

    Well me and my family will drive anywhere almost for a good pizza,these days it’s hard to find a real good pizza.We take chewru guru’s word of taste on places to eat in the N.J./P.A. area,well we heard BRICK OVEN PIZZA!!!We are there,I knew something was wrong as we are walking to the door,I said to my wife;”I don’t smell brick oven”If you are up the corner from Tocconelli’s in Port Richmond in Philadelphia..you can smell brick oven,and what a great smell it is.We open the door and I look for the oven and see a stanard pizza oven with brick’s covering the front of this oven seen these ovens in alot of pizza shops,and the places that use this oven does not advertise brick oven pizza,truthfully for that matter every pizza shop that I get pizza from have bricks to place the pizza on in the oven.just they don’t have bricks on the outside of the oven.Does it make it a brick oven if the bricks are on the outside?we ordered two different pies,and I can say the combo on the bada bing was tasty,and we ordered our favorite,a cheese pizza,the sauce was fair,but the cheese was a little different from what we are use to,the bread sticks was a nice start.We really enjoyed the dessert which really doen’t look like it’s a lot but 3 people could share the choclate mouse cake that was served,I can also say the place has freindly staff,very nice place to relax and enjoy time with the family,the only dissapointment was we traveled over the bridge thinking we were getting a traditional brick oven pie,Other than the false advertising it was a nice evening,and my family most likely would not travel the distance for that kind of pie,it’s a one time stop for us

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  6. Dominic says:

    My husband and I used to go to Neena’s in Woodbury and loved it. We were so happy when it re-opened in Sewell and are happy to say it’s just as good if not better then it was. We love the fact that we can bring our own wine and that they offer entertainment on Thursday nights. The pizza is deliciaus and it seems like it’s a good place for family’s not just for couples.

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  7. matt says:

    the food here made me very sick! I thought i wouldnt make it. I will never eat there again. and the owner was very rude and dirty.

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  8. Chewru Guru says:

    Thanks for the comment. We hear it’s been going downhill since our reviews in 2007. They kicked out the live music, too. Shame.. it had a lot of potential. Don’t forget to vote! (under our score, you can give yours).

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  9. dudette says:

    Went to the one in Woodbury and it SUCKED! Walked out because the staff were literally SCREAMING at eachother on the floor in front of the customers. It was a horrible experience and I will NEVER go again.

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  10. pizzalover44 says:

    Yay! They brought back live music, friday’s and saturday’s. Me and my wife have seen both preformers and they are fantastic! Can’t wait to go back.

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