CEDAR GROVE, NJ - While the name may be in question, there’s no doubt that there is a new happening place to eat in Cedar Grove.  Whether you call it the Panther Den, the Black & Gold Cafe, the Palace or the beloved “Snack Shack,” the concession stand at Cedar Grove High School’s new athletic complex offers a variety of delicious food options for fans to enjoy as they cheer on CGHS athletic teams.

Part of the recent renovation of the high school athletic field, the new concession stand is outfitted with equipment found in a commercial kitchen, giving the Black and Gold Club, which runs the concession stand, a much bigger variety of options when it comes to the menu -- including chicken fingers, burgers and French fries, and churros.

Mary Ellen Lynch has been running and volunteering at the concession stand for more than 10 years and is thrilled with the new improvements.  

Sign Up for E-News

“We’ve really come a long way with the stand.  In my 10+ years,, I’ve worked through all conditions and can honestly say I’ve loved every minute -- working with lots of different people and making new friends while working together for our children,” Lynch said.  “The best part hearing the positive feedback at the end of each game.  It’s been fun to expand our menu this year and we hope to have more parent volunteers so we can open the stand for other sports as well.”

“We’ve created combo platters consisting of an entree and fries together,” said Black and Gold Club member Dina Fernandez.  “ People could really come and have lunch or dinner.  The churro was also a new item we introduced and it was a huge hit. But I think the number one is the French fries.  We can't make them fast enough.”

Affectionately referred to in the past as the “Snack Shack,” the new concession stand has yet to be given an official name though several ideas have been floated around.  Sources say that Superintendent Michael Fetherman has referred to the stand as “The Palace,” while Principal Rick Mangili is partial to “The Panther Den.”  

“We haven't officially given it a name, but you are correct - both labels have been floated,” Fetherman said. "Panther Den" seems to be gaining traction and is currently favored by the high school administration.  We shall see if it sticks. For the record, my term of endearment is still ’Snack Shack.’  I like the irony.”

“The name of the concession stand is still undecided, but I have been pushing to call it the ‘Panther Den’ for a little while now,” Mangili added.  “We have also discussed having the students come up with a name as well.”

Regardless of what they like to call the stand, both Fetherman and Mangili agree about how nice the stand is and how well-received it has been so far.  

“The concession stand looks incredible, it has been upgraded with so many more appliances and stoves which has allowed for even more food choices than in the past,” Mangili said.  “Although the new concession stand has only had two home football games up until this point in the season, the overall response has been extremely positive with the various food choices and quality.”

“I'm a big fan of the burgers -- simply delicious!  And it appears the chicken fingers and French fries are also a big hit,” Fetherman noted.  “The entire operation is first class and the volunteer members of the Black and Gold work tirelessly to provide fast and friendly service. It was a long time in the making, but now we can enjoy the fruits of our labor.”

For its part, the Black and Gold Club is thrilled with the new digs and the support given by the community.  Primarily a scholarship organization, the CGHS Black and Gold Club raises funds to recognize graduating student-athlete seniors, with the concession stand being one of its primary fundraisers.  Local businesses can support the club through multiple levels of sponsorship including Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze.  

Current sponsors include: Platinum -- il Tulipano, Rare, Canterbury and Cedar Grove Education Association, Gold -- Cedar Grove Deli and Primo Driving School, Bronze -- Pronesti Surveying, Rita's Ice, Investor's Bank and UNICO. 

The concession stand will be open Friday, Oct. 20 for the football game, Tuesday, Oct. 24 for the Girls Soccer Senior Night and Friday, Nov. 3 for last regular home football game of the season.