WAYNE, NJ – It’s a cheerless St. Patrick’s Day in Wayne this year.  Not since prohibition have bars, taverns and restaurants been closed on St. Patrick’s Day.  Even in Ireland the pubs are closed at least until March 29.

Here in Wayne, festivities have been canceled and restaurateurs are left holding the bag…literally holding to-go bags out to customers to come pick up.

Erik Methven, the manager and chef at the Taphouse Grille on French Hill Road showed disappointment at this year’s St. Patrick’s Day. “I made all this corned beef and cabbage, pot roast, Irish beef stew and shepherd’s pie and now no one can come,” said Methven. He stood in the middle of his empty restaurant, surrounded by merry, green decorations and could only smile wanly.

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“We did such a great job with decorating, and we prepared to make this the new Wayne St. Patty’s Day place,” said Methven. “We have new owners; new food, and we were ready.  Now, we’ll have to wait for next year.”

The Taphouse Grille and most other restaurants are offering take-out and delivery.

No sunshine hit Wayne’s streets this morning only some spitting rain, but there were people out and about and many businesses open.  The grocery stores were very busy and all of them had plenty of corned beef for sale, though chicken was pretty much non-existent.  Drug stores seemed busy, cars were pulling in and out of gas stations. Delis, nail salons, beauty spas, printing companies and more were seen open for business.

As one could imagine on St. Patrick’s Day, the liquor stores were open and had their share of customers.  “I think liquor stores should be considered ‘essential businesses,’” joked Steve Foster, a customer coming out of the Bottle King on Route 23.

When asked if he was Irish, Foster replied: “Aren’t we all Irish, today?”

People, for the most part, seemed to be going about their business, but with the announcement of Wayne’s first presumptive positive coronavirus case, business across the board may slow even more. 

Wash your hands, keep away from others, and if you’re Irish, don’t let anyone kiss you!