FANWOOD, NJ -- It hasn't rained, but Fanwood is no longer dry as the new Sheelen's Crossing (200 South Ave.) opened on October 6.
For now, the establishment is offering a limited menu featuring burgers, pulled pork and grilled chicken sandwiches, as well as innovative appetizers including Reuben egg rolls, coconut chicken satay with apricot glaze, mussels with jalapeno-cilantro sauce, and fried plantains with guacamole and salsa.
The bar/restaurant is named for "Sheelen's Crossing" is a bridge that was named after Charles and Augustus Sheelen, who ran a country store near the intersection of North Avenue and Russell Road. The grocery store served commuters who worked in New York City and became a gathering point for the community.
"We are planning a grand opening celebration on Saturday, Nov. 5th, with a ribbon-cutting, live music, and drink specials," said co-owner Sean Flannery, who in 2010 opened Flannery's with chef Brian Walter at the same South Ave. location.
A challenge for the previous establishment was the lack of a dining room. Flannery has created an ambiance of Fanwood nostalgia, including a vintage photo of the original Sheelen's Crossing from The Historical Society of Scotch Plains and Fanwood.
"We named our bar Sheelen's Crossing to honor the Sheelens, and in the hope that our establishment will become a vital and welcoming door within the Fanwood community," says co-owner Frank Pascale, who for years ran the Netherwood Grill (formerly Cafe Vivace) in Plainfield. Residents there are definitely feeling the loss of a neighborhood joint where you could walk in and always know someone.
Fanwood has been without a bar/restaurant since mid-February 2015, when an upstairs pipe burst and damaged the building, which Flannery owns. Flannery undertook legal proceedings against Brian Walter for non-payment of rent at the bar Walter renamed and ran as Oh' Brian's Pourhouse. After a prolonged court battle, Flannery gained control of the valuable liquor license and began the renovation and expansion into the space that had formerly been the Lemon Tree hair salon.
"I'm so glad that Sheelen's Crossing is now open and that Fanwood is no longer a dry town," said Mayor Colleen Mahr.
The pub will have an official opening on Saturday, Nov. 5 that will include a ribbon-cutting, a tent actually on Sheelen's Crossing bridge, which will be closed to traffic during the celebration, live music and drink specials. The owners are planning to launch a Sunday brunch special that includes bottomless Bloody Marys. Food will be pub fare at the bar and higher end dining in the bistro featuring organic chicken, vegan selections and private-blended burgers.
200 South Avenue
Fanwood, NJ 07023
Hours of Operation
Pub: 12:00 p.m. - 2:00 a.m.
Bistro: Lunch: 12:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.; Dinner: 5:00 - 9:00 p.m.(Sun - Tues), 5:00 - 10 p.m. (Wed - Sat)