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"Operation Swill" Targets Freehold TGI Fridays

Investigation indicates customers were poured cheap booze, paying for premium liquor, authorities say

The Freehold Township TGI Fridays location is among 29 bars and restaurants throughout New Jersey state offiicals have targeted in a year-long investigation into bars they may have served cheap booze while charging premium prices, according to the state Attorney General's Office.

Alcoholic beverages have been seized and records have been demanded from 29 licensed bars and restaurants -- including the TGI Fridays at 3492 Route 9 -- in the state as part of "Operation Swill,'' according to the release.

The investigation alleges that the establishments -- a dozen TGI Fridays among them -- filled premium alcoholic beverage bottles with cheaper alcohol in an attempt to fool patrons and increase profits, the release says.

Customers paid for the premium brand, but were instead poured the non-premium substitute, the release says.

A press conference in Trenton is expected to release more details of the investigation on Thursday.

The full list of bars and restaurants targeted by Operation Swill:

  • Railroad Café, East Rutherford
  • The Brick House, Wycoff
  • Sunset Tavern, Burlington
  • Graziano’s Ristorante, Chesilhurst
  • Villari’s Lakeside, Gloucester Township
  • Yesterdays, Marmora
  • TGI Fridays, West Orange
  • Italian Affair, Glassboro
  • Bells Tavern, Lambertville
  • TGI Fridays, East Windsor
  • Brunswick Grove, East Brunswick
  • TGI Fridays, Old Bridge
  • TGI Fridays, North Brunswick
  • TGI Fridays, Piscataway
  • TGI Fridays, Freehold
  • TGI Fridays, Marlboro
  • TGI Fridays, Hazlet
  • Murray’s, Dover
  • TGI Fridays, East Hanover
  • Sona Thirteen, Morristown
  • Blackthorn Restaurant, Parsippany
  • Ruby Tuesday, Bridgewater
  • TGI Fridays, Linden
  • Café 34, Matawan
  • Applebee’s, Kearny
  • Cucina Calandara, Fairfield
  • TGI Fridays, Woodridge
  • TGI Fridays, Springfield
  • TGI Fridays, Clifton
Mike May 22, 2013 at 07:56 PM
It might have been a shorter list to note which TGIF's DID NOT have violations.
Carolyn Ann May 22, 2013 at 08:03 PM
Obviously this is SOP with TGIFs, as so many are listed. Time to chase after corporate, & not the restaurant managers!
lori doerrler May 23, 2013 at 02:18 AM
This is terrible. Absolutely terrible. They just blatantly took advantage of the customers that were willing to pay a higher price for a better drink.
David May 23, 2013 at 03:05 AM
Here's the simple solution - assuming the allegations are true, revoke their liquor licenses. This is a fraud, and I've seen licenses revoked for less serious variations. A license revocation doesn't require a criminal trial, and is very effective way to dissuade other bar owners from adulterating their liquor.
BoroPride May 23, 2013 at 03:07 AM
The Fridays in Freehold has the cock roaches showing you to the tables...wait long enough they will serve you too. This doesn't surprise me. Crooked!
David May 23, 2013 at 03:08 AM
My understanding is that TGIF is a franchise, and all 12 TGIF that were cited have the same owner.
DANIEL MURPHY May 23, 2013 at 11:47 AM
AS A RESTAURANT OWNER I VIEW THIS AS A THEFT....A THEFT OF MONEY..AND A THEFT OF TRUST. AS A RESTAURANTEUR FOR 43 YEARS I HAVE NEVER RUN ACCOSS ANOTHER OWNER THAT PRACTICED THIS FRAUD. IF YOU TAKE OUT THE 12 TGIF'S AS ONE OWNER THAT EQUALS A TOTAL OF 16 BAD OPERATORS. THERE ARE 60,000 OR MORE RESTAURANTS IN NJ. THAT COMES TO .0002 % OF THESE RESTAURANTS THAT ARE STEALING FROM THEIR CLIENTS. AS A BOARD OF DIRECTOR OF THE NJRA LET ME ASSURE YOU THAT THE OTHER 99.9998 % OF US RUN OUR BUSINESSES TO GIVE THE BEST SERVICE AND THE BEST VALUE TO OUR CUSTOMERS. DANNY MURPHY, DANNY'S STEAKHOUSE AND SUSHI BAR RED BANK, NJ
William May 23, 2013 at 01:23 PM
Love Dannys steakhouse, eat there often before going to Count baise for shows
Peter W Bennett May 25, 2013 at 12:12 PM
How did they determine fraud: video ?
Gary Parent May 26, 2013 at 11:19 AM
Shame on those places that charged extra for "premium liquor" while serving the bar brand, but it shows me that those customers that insist on premium liquors are posers and can't tell the difference anyway.
Gregg May 26, 2013 at 11:56 AM
I should now be able to take my receipts from Fridays, walk in, and demand a refund. Correct?
John Wyckoff May 26, 2013 at 01:45 PM
As always it's the minority that always causes the biggest headaches.

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