Brookdale Soda: Tchotchkes for Sale

Two fellows with a strong taste for those favorite flavors of Brookdale soda that sweetened much of New Jersey life from post-World War II to the late 1980s, are on a mission to bring back the soda pop brand of those great old days.

Bobby Cole and Kevin Calhoun, in association with Brookdale Beverage heir Joseph Pieretti, are reviving the logo of the infamous drink and emblazoning it across t-shirts, mousepads, refrigerator magnets, clocks and sweatshirts. Cole, aka Bobby Restaino, was proprietor of the Soda Pop Shop on Bloomfield Ave. in Montclair. Cole is Restaino’s stage name.

Cole and Calhoun have started to sell the Brookdale-Pride of the Garden State logo items both online and at local fairs. This Sunday (details at end of story), they’ll be at the Van Riper Street Fair in Nutley.

At the recent physical-world debut of Brookdale soda merchandise, everyone who stopped by the display had a story to share about growing up with Brookdale soda.

Some visitors remembered it as a special treat at every family holiday dinner, or grandma always having a favorite flavor in the ice box. Some remembered the delivery men bringing the cases into the house. Others recalled driving to the soda depots, on Sylvan Road and Montgomery Street in Bloomfield, at Allwood Road in Clifton and on Sixth Street in Newark. They recalled the best part of picking up soda at the depot was mixing the flavors in the case of twelve.

Nostalgia buffs Cole and Calhoun are also bringing back other long-forgotten items, such as items with rotary telephone dials and the local exchanges for Bloomfield, Belleville and Newark, PI, PL, NO, HU, and plenty more.

So, swing by on Sunday in Nutley and stir your memories with these Brookdale and other New Jersey nostalgia items. Or visit their Jersey Grown online store.

Who knows, if they sell enough t-shirts, maybe they’ll persuade Joe Pieretti to cook up those secret recipes and we’ll all be drinking Brookdale soda again.

Where and when:

Sunday, Sept. 5
11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Van Riper Street Fair
Franklin Avenue
Nutley NJ

Sunday, Sept. 12, 2010
11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Italian Festival
Diamond Spring Country Club
35 Evergreen Ave, Nutley NJ

Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010
Broad Street at Town Green
Bloomfield NJ

Anthony Buccino writes and blogs many places, including this blog all about Brookdale Soda.

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  1. Funny how different teritories have differnt products. I never ever heard of this soda-pop, pre-teen, teen any up – until I came on baristanet. I grew up way way way over in South Orange & Maplewood! Thats a whole 5 miles South of the Bloomfield/East Orange town lines! Last time this topic came up, I asked high school friends if they ever heard of it (thinking I missed something I sould have know about) … But, no … High School friends that I keep in contact with, never heard of this soda, either.
    No warm & fuzzy memories for me.

  2. Sandy, you might as well have been south of the Mason-Dixon line as far as Brookdale Soda fans are concerned! It was small turf circulation only.

  3. I have wonderful memories of going to the store on Bloomfield ave in Clifton, where the wine store is now, with my Dad. I can still taste the fruit punch!
    My brother was in touch with a cousin of the Brookdale people about a year ago, asking about the formulas. The family still has them. Be nice to see these re-introduced. I remember all the Brookdale sodas having a clean and crisp taste.
    Ah, always be careful of youthful remembrances…

  4. My favorite “Cola” is RC Cola. (Royal Crown). The “other two” are not as good. If this family brings back this Brookdale Cola (?) I will certainly give it a try.

  5. Sandy, I knew Jews in college that would take turns boycotting Pepsi or Coke, depending on who was (or was not) selling their brand of brown, fizzy, caffienated sugar water in Israel that year.
    RC never came up in conversation, somehow.

  6. I never boycotted them. RC is just olain better.

    What I do take exception to is that I was told, and it seems to bear out….
    Is that in Coke’s contract with the food corporations, who own/operate the supermarkets, is a clause that the ONLY competitor to be allowed is Pepsi, and the same in Pepsi(s) contract – allowing ONLY CokaCola to be “shelved” and no other brands oc Cola ! (Which is way I have to go to K-Mart or Wallmart to get RC !!
    I think that is wrong and in a way, control of the market. If ones goes to Shop-Rite, one can find 6 different brands of BUTTER ! (and) 3 different brands of dental floss, BUT only 2 brands of COLA ! Hmmm…..
    When it comes to Root Beer, Ginger Ale, Club Soda, and Carbonated lemon-lime soda pop, there are many brands on supermarket shelves (example) = 7-UP. Sprite, Sierra Mist, etc, etc…BUT….only 2 Colas.
    It is called “Control of Market! It’s not fair play.

    Stop & Shop gets RC Cola, for me, they can get it….BUT they are NOT allowed to place it on the shelf, for sale. I order it, they get it & I ask for the manager and he brings it out from the warehouse area in the store. It will scan properly at thr register. also. Just not allowed to put out on shelf display for sale. They always have it.

  7. Sandy – Sprite is actually a product of Coca Cola, and Sierra Mist of Pepsi. 7-up is a Dr. Pepper/Snapple product, as is RC Cola. I guess 7-up is too popular to ban in their contract. It’s an interesting market those companies have set up!

  8. Sandy, I agree with you regarding RC, I have always preferred it to Coke and Pepsi; coke is my 2nd choice.
    My wife and I have a Soda Stream seltzer maker and for Christmas she bought me 5 gallons of RC Syrup from SeaBreeze in Lincoln Park. Nothing beats fresh squeezed soda!
    As I recall Brookdale Cola had a lighter flavor than the other brands, and seemed to refresh better.

  9. I am well aware of SeaBreeze. However I do not mix my own. I guess it’s a time alotment problem for me.
    I can’t stand it, when in a bar and I order a 7&7 and they mmake it using Sprite.

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