I love a good restaurant that not only serves up good food, but also feels so comfortable, it simply entices you to hang out for awhile.
Toss in a restaurant that has a wee bit of history behind it, and I'm knee deep in my element.
This past weekend, I not only got to spend a great day with my dad, I had the pleasure of spending a brief amount of time with a dear old friend. In between a thousand different conversations which ranged from our love of music to reminiscing about growing up in Jersey, talk got around to my alter-ego, the foodidude.
The restaurant is a four-generation family operation which dates back to 1935 and began at the old Allendale Hotel.
"Mom" Connelly, who worked the kitchen, became as cherished and renowned for her good will as she was her good cooking.
She generously, and regularly, served up warm meals to hobos and vagrants who stumbled into town on passing freight trains.
She also began a tradition of serving "free" corned beef and cabbage each St. Patrick's Day to locals during the Depression years.
In 1992, Mike and Bobbie acquired the Mahwah Bar & Grill, whose walls were rich in history as well.
Formerly a general store and gin mill, nearby workers gathered here, not only to wet their whistles after a long day's work, but also, to catch a glimpse of one of the first televisions in town.
Today, the Kunishes welcome a fourth-generation - Chris, Craig, Ken and Katie - to run the establishments.
Although wings were the pre-concieved notion, we were swayed quite easily towards the Saturday Soup-of-the-Day ~ "Cream of Mushroom Pumpkin".
I somewhat expected your average bar & grill soup-of-the-day. That is not what arrived. I've liked a lot of soups, but few as much as this one.
It had a slightly sweet and spicy pumpkin flavor which danced along the back of your tongue, while a black peppery edge spiked the roof of your mouth. And the vivid and rich mushroom flavor managed to pull the sweet and savory elements together in splendid harmony. It was the perfect Autumn soup.
But our mission was originally wings, and wings we ordered.
The wings arrived plump and hot. I enjoy my wings with a potent bit of zing, and although they were short on peppery zing, they were fabulous and definitely not short on flavor! In fact, they pretty close to the perfect wings.
The outside crunched with every bite, while the inside remained moist and juicy, but not greasy at all. There was a ton of flavor and the buffalo taste was an enhancement as opposed to a cover. Great, great wings.
The Lagunista IPA on the other hand, not so good. Not that it is a bad beer by any means... it was far too hoppy to pair with the wings in my opinion.
Upon leaving, I had the pleasure to meet manager, Craig Kunish, and he was a delight to speak with. I related my high thoughts on his restaurant.
In retrospect, they had a great menu priced right, and about 10 or 12 nice choices of beer on tap. It is a well run establishment with great food and ambiance, and the Mahwah Bar & Grill will definitely be on my short list of revisits.
2 Island Road
Mahwah, NJ 07043