SCOTCH PLAINS-FANWOOD, NJ – A loss versus Germany was still a win for Team USA as the Americans move on to the next round of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The U.S. advance makes local businesses winners, too.
Darby Road (450 Park Ave.), which has hosted an outdoor tent featuring beer taps, flat screen TVs and a play area for kids since the start of the World Cup, has enjoyed large crowds that can be heard cheering from blocks away. Grillestone Restaurant (2377 Route 22), which has been providing food at the Darby tent, has also received a boost from the international soccer tournament.
“Doing the food, has been a big plus for us,” said Frank Peterpaul, owner of Grillestone. “At the restaurant, people are coming out for the games. We’re full, so it (the World Cup) is definitely a big boost for us.”
Stage House Tavern (366 Park Ave.), just down the block from the Darby Road, has also seen larger than normal crowds who come in to view the World Cup matches both inside and at the restaurant’s outdoor patio.
“On Sunday, it was so busy, it felt like my first time bartending,” said Michael O’Connor, 28, who has worked at Stage House Tavern for the past seven years. “The crowds have been big, and they’ve been polite, so it’s been great for me.”
“Turnout for U.S. games has been up almost 50 percent,” said Tom Britt, co-owner of Stage House Tavern. “We are happy that they are advancing. There’s lots of enthusiasm for this World Cup because the matches are played in the same time zone and because this generation has grown up playing soccer. I've heard roars that rival the volume for NFL games.”
In Fanwood, Oh Brian's Pour House (200 South Ave.) offers beer and themed food specials, such as wiener schnitzel when the U.S. played German today.
“When we post specials for the World Cup, like $3 domestics and 50 cent wings, the place gets mobbed,” said Brian Walter, owner of Oh Brian's. “Even people who don't know about soccer understand that something special is happening. Instead of staying home, they come out. The World Cup is a communal event.”
Thanks to Portugal's victory over Ghana, the U.S. moves to the round of 16 and will face Belgium on Tuesday, July 1st, at 4:00 p.m.