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A Peek Inside the Box Car Bar & Grill

The Short Hills Train Station restaurant will open for coffee, breakfast next week, with full service in a few weeks.

The will begin opening next week, owners say, first with coffee and continental breakfast served inside the Short Hills Train Station waiting room.

Two or three weeks after that the rest of the bar and grill will open, too, said co-owner Jeff Tauber.

"It's a long-time coming for the suffering commuters," Tauber said. "But it's going to be worth it. This is something the neighborhood desperately needs."

While many agree with him, there have been some grumblings about the construction, which has taken months beyond what they expected and has displaced the men's room to a portable toilet outside.

"Those days are almost over," he said.

And some residents have questioned whether the neighborhood needs a restaurant with a liquor license.

"We hope it will reinvigorate the area," said Tauber, who with his wife, Jane (who helped choose the interior fixtures) lives in Short Hills.

The Box Car Bar & Grill will serve 18 different wines by the glass and will have an array of food, from breakfast and coffee for commuters to sandwiches and pizza for lunch and dinner fare in the evening. Commuters will be able to order ahead and grab take out on their way home.

The owners have kept the character of the historic building that once was a used as the train station’s baggage room and a waiting room for commuters.

"We thought we had to do that. It wasn't in the lease, but it's the right thing to do," Tauber said. "We had talks with the historical society about maintaining the historic nature of the building."

On one end of the building is the bar and grill and the other is the brick oven and sandwich bar.

"There are going to be a lot of surprised commuters in a few days," Tauber said.

Bill Greene March 29, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Thumbs Up! Can't wait. Love the idea that I can now more easily get something on my way out and wind down on my return.
Elizabeth Alterman (Editor) March 30, 2012 at 12:09 AM
I've been waiting to hear about this! Can't wait to try it!
Joanne Smythe March 30, 2012 at 01:03 AM
Mixed emotions. A new restaurant sounds great, as current options in that area are abysmal. However, it's not hard to picture drunk patrons fogging up car windows in the train station parking lot, driving home drunk, or tossing beer bottles and garbage throughout the area.
Leslie March 30, 2012 at 03:39 AM
This is terrific for the area. I have a question, though: Why can't something be done about the abandoned gas station a short distance down the street. What's the story with that?
MarkDS March 30, 2012 at 10:10 AM
The lot is owned by Summit Medical. They made their first proposal for expansion a while ago, but it was way too large and was widely opposed. So they pulled the application. They said they would be back with a new proposal but have not done so yet.
Leslie March 30, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Oh, that's right. Now I remember. The good people of this town would rather have a derelict gas station than an expanded medical facility with medical professionals who can serve the local population. I just don't get it.
Leslie March 30, 2012 at 02:41 PM
The sides of the new ADA ramps on the south side of the station are terribly designed, tripping hazards. There is a very subtle, almost invisible two-inch rise without any colored markings or rail. Someone who is walking from east to west, such as a restaurant patron returning to her car, is going to fall, get hurt, and sue the town, I am sure.
Hedley March 30, 2012 at 04:17 PM
MominSH March 30, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Leslie, the proposal for the expanded medical group was out of size/proportion/scale to the rest of the surrounding area which is residential and it included a parking garage that people were uncomfortable with. I believe Summit Medical Group is redoing its proposal to come up with something more appropriate.
Leslie March 30, 2012 at 07:01 PM
The surrounding area consists of another gas station, the existing medical facility (with large parking lot), the three-story dental building and a multi-building apartment complex. I don't see the conflict. I hope they decide to proceed with a "more comfortable" design and not decide that it isn't worth building something that's too small. What a shame if we end up with 10 more years of the disgusting abandoned gas station because of the town's anti-development sentiments.
Leslie March 30, 2012 at 07:29 PM
By the way, they withdrew their proposal in September 2010, 18 months ago. And they have yet to submit anything new. I have a feeling we chased them away for good. The outcome (and expense) of the Chai Center hearings could not have been encouraging. I bet we're stuck with the chain link fence and gas station for the next decade.
MrJones March 31, 2012 at 12:12 AM
I may be wrong, but I believe that the NJ Transit stations have liquor licenses grandfathered in. That's why it works there instead of at the gas station. It'll be a nice addition to the neighborhood; I hope they do well.
WSM April 02, 2012 at 03:56 AM
Here's a name change for consideration, and it has some history as previous establishment in Millburn....The Lackawana Tavern....
Leslie April 05, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Well that is interesting and makes the space especially valuable considering how impossible it is to get a license otherwise. I wonder if the town put the space on the open rental market before signing up this deal. They should have been able to get premium rent if the liquor license is included.
m April 05, 2012 at 03:15 PM
The township does not own or rent the property- the space was put up for bid and cooperman won, uncontested.
Leslie April 05, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Good to know. Thanks.
Joanne Smythe April 06, 2012 at 03:01 AM
I see the "Boxcar" people have just installed an eyesore satellite dish in the front of our historic train station. This absolutely should be removed.
Ahmadés Tpripoazal April 13, 2012 at 12:01 AM
I see this "Joanne Smythe" person has just posted another comment, one which is (although hilarious) full of judgement being cast on others, criticism, and disrespect. As usual. This absolutely should be removed
Parking Police May 04, 2012 at 01:39 AM
can they get their patrons to stop triple parking in illegal spaces
Stacey Snacks May 05, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Box Car is a much welcome addition to the neighborhood. The crowd is not the "drunk patron fogging up cars" type. We've been there twice so far, and the dining room and the bar has a nice local crowd. They did a BEAUTIFUL job with the interior and restoration of the neglected baggage room. Liquor license is owned by NJ Transit and we are excited to welcome them to the community!
Lynne Ranieri May 05, 2012 at 10:47 PM
m, The town owns both buildings at the Short Hills station.
Rick Lechtman May 07, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Summit Medical Group (SMG) is a wonderful health care provider, they just should not be in the business of owning real estate. Dr. Tansey's father build a taseful medical building on the site many years ago, they acquired the ajoining office building later and then bought Ted's Texaco without thought regarding the size, scope and cost required to redevelop the three parcels. I would not be surprised to see another owner-user develop the parcel, if SMG is willing to part with the parcel at FMV which is probably less than they paid for it. SMG and the township may want to consider striking a deal, demolish the structure, perhaps repave/strip parcel and township should rent the lot as surface parking until SMG either designs/develops the parcel or sells it to the next developer.
Rick Lechtman May 07, 2012 at 03:25 PM
We had a great meal Friday night. Marc and his team did a great job opening weekend. We enjoyed the Beet Salad, Cerviche, wings, a few different designer pizza's and the ribs. Deserts were solid especially the Lemon Custard and Chocolate Pudding! Service was spot-on and the bar was hopping.
LI June 09, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Wow just did a walk through. What a creative repurposing of the space. Very tastefully done. Times change and spaces need to be preserved and redefined. This is very practical, functional and good looking all at once.
Archie Hudson June 17, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Its a great addition but the music being blasted all day sunday - hope its not going to be happening everywkend.. can def be annoying to the neighborhood - did the city take that into consideration? they had a live band playing all day today..
Archie Hudson June 17, 2012 at 11:37 PM
Great addition but they need to keep the music down - played a live band outside all day today - hope they keep the music down else there will def be complains. I have been there once & its a great place from the inside (good food & drinks) but would say - let music be music and not noise.


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