Grasshopper Irish Pub and Restaurant opens in West Milford

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Grasshopper Irish Pub and Restaurant
2891 Rt. 23, Newfoundland, NJ 07435
On the median between north and southbound lanes of Rt. #23
973-506-6210
Business hours: Mon. through Sat. 11 a.m. to 3 a.m., Sun. 12 p.m. to 3 a.m.
Happy Hour Mon. through Fri. 3 to 7 p.m.
Sunday brunch 12 to 3 p.m.

BY GINNY RAUE
Some days you may be in the mood for corned beef and cabbage, other days it may be a fajita or chicken, veal, pasta, fish and chips or a burger. You’ll find it all, and more, at the newly opened Grasshopper Irish Pub and Restaurant in West Milford. As an aside, for those who crave bangers and mash, this may be the only place to go.

Owned by Tom Fitzpatrick, 51, and his father, Edward Fitzpatrick, the West Milford Grasshopper is fourth in the line of family owned restaurants, joining Grasshopper in Cedar Grove, Grasshopper Too in Wayne and Grasshopper Off the Green in Morristown.

Tom Fitzpatrick, a Wayne resident, has been in the restaurant business for 31 years, his father has logged 50 years. They have enjoyed the recurrent business of local people and “regulars” at their other establishments and, noting that West Milford’s population has grown, they chose the convenient township location at the Route 23 and Clinton Road intersection in Newfoundland for their new endeavor.

Naturally Irish
The décor is, naturally, Irish in theme; woods, stone and thatch with the inevitable Guinness Stout adornments. Located in the historic Newfoundland Public Schoolhouse building, erected in 1889, Fitzpatrick reports that he kept the integrity of the structure, bypassing exterior alterations.

The restaurant and bar employs 25 workers, 80 percent of whom are West Milford residents.

There are dart boards, 28 TVs, 26 different beers on tap, pub style and dining tables and entertainment, including trivia, Karaoke, live music and DJs.

Sunday brunch
If Sunday brunch is your pleasure, you can look forward to a Bloody Mary, Mimosa or Screwdriver on the house to wash it down. Or to help you think more clearly.

Happy hour gets even happier with a $1 discount on all drinks and there’s a $5 bar appetizer menu. Bookings for private parties are in the future, as the dust settles from opening a new establishment.

Fitzpatrick said that all food is made on the premises, fish is delivered daily and if you enjoyed a special dish last week and it’s not on this week’s menu they will try to accommodate you.

“We try to make everyone happy,” he said. “Come in and give us a chance and I guarantee you’ll come back.”

Fitzpatrick spent some time living in Ireland and finds some similarities between the old sod and West Milford.

“There are a lot of nice people around here, very friendly and everyone knows everyone,” he said.

He complimented West Milford’s mayor, Bettina Bieri, and the township officials who eased the process of opening a new business.

“The town is absolutely great,” he said.

Some food trivia
And now for those with inquisitive minds – what exactly are bangers and mash, who was Bloody Mary and how did fish and chips get to Ireland?

Bangers and mash are sausages and mashed potatoes, often served with an onion gravy. They are a British and Irish staple with a long history.

It is said that during World War I, when food shortages caused a severe reduction in the availability of meat, sausage makers filled out their product with scraps, cereal and water which caused them to hiss, pop and bang as they were cooked on shovels over open fire pits in the dreary trenches of Northern Europe. “Bangers” came into being.

The Bloody Mary, typically made with tomato juice, vodka and seasoning and long claimed as a hangover cure, is named after Queen Mary (1516-1558) who persecuted Protestant dissenters, burning nearly 300 people at the stake. The tomato juice is said to resemble the spilled blood of the rebels.

Fish and chips came to Ireland by way of an Italian immigrant who got off an American-bound ship by mistake in Cobh, Ireland. He made his way to Dublin and began selling fish and chips from a handcart, mostly outside of pubs. He eventually opened a fish and chips store and his Italian wife would ask customers “one of this, one of the other?” It soon became “one and one” and the expression is still used today.

Now, as you enjoy your meal at the Grasshopper Irish Pub and Restaurant, whether it be of Irish origins, a juicy steak or bowl of pasta, you can impress your friends with a bit of historic food trivia.


Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org; http://www.dailymail.co.uk

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