FANWOOD, NJ – The old Fanwood Corner Store experienced a reincarnation of sorts when the long-awaited Fanwood Grille at 34 S. Martine Ave. in Fanwood opened Friday, July 7.
The menu features items from traditional breakfast favorites including omelets and Belgian waffles to lunch dishes including hot dogs and hamburgers with a variety of toppings, falafel, chicken shawarma and lobster rolls.
The eatery in Downtown Fanwood has undergone a retro facelift on the inside and out. The old fashioned luncheonette countertop has been updated and new retro-look spinning seats have replaced the old ones. The interior redesign included an overhaul of the cooking facilities, an expansion of the restroom to make it handicap accessible and the creation of a small meeting room.
“I always love sitting at lunch counters from the time I was a little boy and spinning around on the seats. I still do it,” said John Mooney, owner of Fanwood Grille (and owner of TAPinto Scotch Plains-Fanwood), who has lived in town for two decades. “Every since moving here, I believed the Corner Store had such great potential if someone would invest in restoring it to its former glory. When the opportunity arose to do this, I wanted to bring it back.”
Mooney partnered with Paul Watterson of Nick's Pizza, who has moved four doors down to be the general manager of The Fanwood Grille.
Many items on the menu are named after some of the restaurant’s influencers, including:
- Gerry Cooney Prime Steak Sandwich: It’ll knock you out! (Slow-cooked meat, served in own juice on a 6-inch hero roll with toppings of fried onions, peppers, mushrooms).
- Cowboy Tony's Texas Grille Dog (a 12-inch hot dog with Texas topping, mustard and onions).
- Reagan’s Fat Breakfast Sandwich: (Three eggs served with extra meat and cheese on a handmade Brooklyn Bagel)
- Grandma Chippy's Sunday Pancakes: (A 100-year-old recipe served with butter and pure Vermont maple syrup).
- The Robert Anthony: (Fanwood Grille Burger with Taylor Ham and a fried egg)
"We want this place to be a place for the whole community to gather and enjoy," says Watterson, who developed the menu. "There's nothing else like it around here, and our customers will get a good value for their money. It'll be an enjoyable experience for commuters who want coffee and breakfast in the morning or people who work locally and want to get a great lunch."
Among the more intriguing items is the Grille's lobster roll, made from cold-water Maine lobster and served on a grilled, butteredNew England-style split roll. The sandwich was a hit when it was introduced at the Fanwood Council Reorganization Meeting luncheon at The Chelsea earlier this year. The Grille will also offer authentic Israeli-style falafel (fried spiced chick peas with hummus topped with authentic Israeli salad and Allon Shadmi’s own homemade Tahini sauce served on a pita). Falafel comes with fries, health salad and a pickle. Shadmi also has developed a zesty chicken shawarma pita.
“It has taken us about a year to do the renovation, develop the menu and put all the pieces in place to make this a vibrant establishment in Downtown Fanwood,” Mooney said. “The feedback we have gotten in advance from the community has been overwhelming. We are looking forward to becoming part of Fanwood's redevelopment.”
The Fanwood Grille will be open daily at 6 a.m. Customers can place their orders ahead of time by calling 908-322-9500 or by pre-ordering and paying online via the website www.fanwoodgrille.com so they can quickly grab their food and head home. For more information, visit The Fanwood Grille Facebook page.