Business & Finance

Buzzy’s Food & Spirits: Where Friends Meet in Piscataway

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Rob Brownlie, General Manager of Buzzy’s Food & Spirits Credits: Ken Simmons - TAPinto Piscataway
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Buzzy's Food and Spirits Credits: Ken Simmons - TAPinto Piscataway
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Buzzy's Food and Spirits Credits: Ken Simmons - TAPinto Piscataway
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PISCATAWAY, NJ – Buzzy’s Food and Spirits prides itself in serving good food and providing good service at affordable prices.

Established in 1990 by the Bussiere Family, Buzzy’s is located where the Carr’s Tavern once operated at 200 Stelton Road in the New Market section of Piscataway.

The Bussieres have been in the food business for over 50 years, first opening the Park Avenue Deli and Caterers in the 1960s, and later adding Piscataway Liquors, both currently located at 600 Stelton Road near Route 287.  

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But even with the successes of these two businesses the family always had a desire to open a restaurant.

“Opening Buzzy’s Food and Spirits became a pilot project for the family,” said the restaurant’s General Manager Rob Brownlie, who is married to the founders’ daughter, Sherrie.

Over the years, some of Sherrie’s relative’s who helped with the business have passed away. “A couple of her brothers left the business and a couple passed away, along with her Mom and Dad,” Brownlie said to TAPinto Piscataway. “Now my wife is the sole owner of the business.”

“Her main goal is to keep her family’s dreams alive here at Buzzy’s,” he said. “We have a lot of good family memories here that she doesn’t want to close the door on.”

To continue the family’s legacy, two of the Brownlie’s children are fully trained in the business.

“My younger son is actively involved in the operation,” he said. “My daughter is taking a little sabbatical because she is raising her three kids. Hopefully down the road, when her kids are more self-sufficient, she can jump back into the business.

For now “she handles a lot of the paperwork, alongside my wife at our off-site office,” said Brownlie, who worked with mainframe computers before becoming the restaurant’s general manager. “My family is trained and ready to do whatever it takes to keep the operation afloat.”

“The family is very service oriented,” he continued. “My father-in-law’s basic advice in the business was you have to ‘serve hot food, hot, and cold food, cold, and you have to hire good people’. If you don’t do those things, it’s a recipe for disaster.”

Many of the customers who have been coming throughout Buzzy’s 26-year history have children who have since grown and moved on, although “Mom and Dad” still patronize the establishment.

“We like to attract the families,” said Brownlie. “We like to be a family type of business where families can grow with the business.”

Their motto ‘Friends don’t let friends eat at chain restaurants’ is well received by their customers.

“We’re the kind of place where friends meet,” he said comparing Buzzy’s to the good-natured bar atmosphere of the 1980s hit TV show, Cheers.

“Our servers and bartenders do a pretty good job of learning names,” said Brownlie. “Most of the time when a patron walks through the door, the bartender has their drink served before they reach their chair. I think there’s value to that.”

“We have some specials,” Brownlie said when he described how Buzzy’s promotes itself to its customers. “We have Happy-Hour everyday from 4:30-7:00 pm during the week and on the weekend from 1:00-3:00.”

The restaurant also offers weekly specials including half-priced wings and dollar hot dogs on Sundays and Mondays for the bar room patrons. Tuesday night is Ladies Night and Wednesday night is Wine and Dine featuring half-priced wine served both in the bar and in the dining room. And Thursday is Thirsty Thursday serving discounted domestic drafts.

“We also have frequent diner packages where we offer lunch and dinner discounts such as for every 10 meals the next one is on us,” Brownlie said. Loyal customers can also receive coupons that are emailed to them several times during the year.  

A major attraction for Buzzy’s is that it has a grill in the bar area which was inspired by a concept the owners used to see at a southern New Jersey restaurant.

“When the family first setup Buzzy’s they decided to model it after that,” said Brownlie. “Cooking was always an attraction to my brothers-in-law and father-in-law. They thought the concept of a bartender cooking in front of the patron was an attractive lure for customers.”

"To this day when the grill is busy, the bar is busy,” he said. “A lot of the time it’s addictive to see when someone is having a burger cooked on the grill. It entices you to get one.”

Buzzy’s stands behind everything they offer. “If the patron isn’t happy with their order we replace it or take it off the bill,” said Brownlie. “We’re able to do that because it doesn’t often happen.”

While Buzzy’s has won recognition for their burgers, many patrons prefer to order from Buzzy’s Favorite Menu Items. These daily specials include crab meltaways and sautéed shrimp for appetizers, Buffalo chicken sandwiches and stuffed flounder, and barbeque baby back ribs and chicken kebobs as well as specialty desserts.

For those looking for a specialty drink to go with their meal, Brownlie brought back the Drinks of the Week feature which they are able to post for their social media followers.

And Brownlie will roll up his sleeves if he has to. “I’m the kind of owner that will bus a table and will jump in the kitchen if I have to,” he said. “I think sometimes when the employees see that it means a little something. We’re a team here.”

TAPintoPiscataway.net is a free online newspaper serving the Township of Piscataway. Sign up for our daily eNews and follow us on Facebook and Twitter @PiscatawayTAP.

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