Today March 24, 2022 national cheesesteak dayand stopped by Donkey’s Place in Camden, New Jersey earlier this week to show off the complete experience!
At the end of this post there is a video of Mark’s recent donkey experience which is about 6 minutes long.
This article also features three other popular local and international YouTube Foodie bloggers and Anthony Bourdain New Jersey Food Trail.
If you just want to jump to Donkey’s Mark’s 42Freeway video, here’s the link.
This is our second visit to Donkey’s. In 2017 we featured Camden Distillery (now closed), but we also covered Donkey’s in that post.
Donkey’s Place – Literal Media Feeding Frenzy
For all good reasons, Donkey’s Place Camden and its amazing cheesesteaks are hot subjects for foodie content creators right now. But first take a step back.
Donkey’s Place is located on Haddon Ave in Camden, New Jersey, near the Kaighn Ave intersection.
Donkey’s was opened by Camden boxer Leon Lucas nearly 80 years ago. Leon competed in his 1928 Olympics and had a “punch like a mule’s kick”, from which the donkey nickname was derived.
It is now run by third-generation owner Rob Lucas Jr.
Donkey’s is a small, thin local bar with maybe 12 stools in the bar, some tables in front and a large dining area in the back. It’s rustic like a ‘1982 clapboard wall’, but it’s full of character and always filled with happy people.
Donkeys and their cheesesteaks have been a local favorite for decades…but things really started to change in 2015 after famed celebrity foodie Anthony Bourdain stopped by to shoot a segment..
(Philadelphia) Cheesesteak Center of the universe. But what if it’s not?
…and the best cheesesteaks in the region may come from New Jersey.
Anthony Bourdain : Part Unknown New Jersey 2015
That Youtube clip now has over 600,000 views… which is great, of course.
Donkey’s cheesesteak is like no other. Bourdain calls it a “Jersey cheesesteak,” but it’s really a donkey… served on a big round poppy seed roll. The traditional style is meat (of course), cheese and fried onions, cooked to perfection as if you were eating dessert.
But over the last few years, foodie celebrity culture has grown like wildfire across all media. New social media outlets such as the Food Network, YouTube Food Channels, and TikTok, of course.
Audiences are figuratively and literally… eating up.
Beginning with Mr. Bourdain’s visit seven years ago, Donkey’s Cheesesteaks has firmly established itself within Foodie’s media stream, and things seem to have really exploded in the last year.
Video cue 42Freeway turn. 🙂
As mentioned above, Donkey’s has been featured on many YouTube channels over the past seven years.
In 2018, local food celebrity JL Jupiter showed YouTube viewers what the donkey experience was like. It has garnered nearly 90,000 views to date.
And those in the know will remember when ABC’s TV show “The Goldberg’s” covered an episode of Donkey in 2018… “The best cheesesteak in Philadelphia is actually New Jersey!” I use Anthony Bourdain’s mantra.
More than just a mention, it’s literally the episode’s core plotline when Barry goes on a quest to find the “World’s Best Meat Sandwich” at Donkey’s in New Jersey!
Anthony Bourdain New Jersey Food Trail – Road To Donkey’s
Anthony Bourdain spent his childhood in Leonia, New Jersey, visiting 10 very interesting New Jersey restaurants on various food-oriented TV shows.
The State of New Jersey has successfully summarized the location in a section of their tourism website, “Visit NJ,” with both a well-prepared website and an easy-to-print PDF.
The Bourdain Food Trail seems to have caught the eye of several people, and in 2021 world-famous foodie video blogger Mark Wein will run the entire Bourdain New Jersey trail and share the experience with his YouTube followers. Decided to share.
Mark Wein’s has a very individual and energetic presentation style. As he describes the restaurant and its dishes, it feels like you’re sitting with him and savoring every bite.
He now has 8.6 million followers and his fans are very much in tune with his style. Wow!
He unveiled the third day segment of the Bourdain Jersey Food Trail on October 9, 2021.
Today, the segment featuring the Donkeys has reached 1.4 million views!
Travel Thirsty is a YouTube video channel that is unique in that it focuses on food and preparation. Never speak to the camera.
Travel Thirsty seems to have started out as a chronicle of Asian street food vendors. Both the process and the food and their success as videos gave them the opportunity to spread to other countries.
A complete 180 in Mark Weins style. In Weins’ videos, he’s had as much experience with folds and restaurants.
But at Travel Thirsty, we use sophisticated videography and editing to guide you through the preparation process. The only sounds you hear are the sizzling of the room and the cooking.
Travel Thirsty has 7.5 million subscribers!
And the Donkey’s Cheesesteak video that was just released a month ago?
1.4 million views. in a month.
I’ve been to Donkey’s a dozen times, maybe a hundred times, but most of my visits have been on “open first Saturday of the month” days.
Yes, normal business days are Monday to Friday only and closes at 6pm.
But when it opens on the first Saturday of every month, the suburban atmosphere bursts forth.
So many people that Saturday so if you weren’t there early.. you couldn’t get in the door early, like 9am.
This week Mark from 42freeway stopped by early Monday morning around 8am hoping to shoot a video for National Cheesesteak Day on Thursday March 24th, 2022.
The video conveys the full experience. My amateurish way is, “Damn, I should have brought my GoPro. I’m looking at the wrong end of my iPhone for the camera.”
Rob, the owner, says there are usually a few customers in the shop at that time, but he happened to find a quiet morning, so Rob said, “Bar fills up”
So I went through my own version of the donkey experience without any script or pre-planning.
I apologize to Kelly behind the counter for admitting I didn’t catch her name before the shoot. What!
Mark’s 42Freeway Donkey Experience Video – 2022
Direct link to video YouTube or view below.
link and location
donkey place camden nj
1223 Haddon Ave
Camden NJ 08103