Wednesday, November 16th, 2011
When you walk into the newly refurbished Grasshopper Too, you’re instantly transcended into an authentic Irish pub, complete with Gaelic ambiance but still offering the same old Grasshopper Too personality.
Seated at the bar inside the freshly refurbished Grasshopper Too is owners Eddie and Tom Fitzpatrick. The popular eatery received flood damage from Hurricane Irene and the Fitzpatricks worked twenty-four hours a day to re-open on 11-11-11.
The business, steeped in rich Irish history, is owned by father-son duo Eddie “Chief” and Tom Fitzpatrick. Eddie Fitzpatrick originally lived in County Leitrim, located in West Ireland, before moving to America 54 years ago. He still wields a thick Irish accent, adding charm to any bar conversation.
Over the years Eddie opened a few bars/restaurants in the Bronx, N.Y. and Manhattan then in 1977 he sold them all and moved his family back to Ireland where they became farmers before returning to the states in 1983 at which time the Fitzpatricks opened the first Grasshopper in Cedar Grove. Today there is a chain of Grasshoppers around the metro area including Carlstadt and Morristown. Just a few months ago the luck of the Irish though fell short for the Fitzpatricks when the Wayne location on Erie Avenue took on three feet of water after Hurricane Irene, leaving Tom and his dad with only one thing to do – remodel.
“We did it the right way. To just do a touch up job after water damage wouldn’t be fair to our customers,” Tom said.
So they closed the business for over two and a half months and gutted the entire inside and brought in Keltic Construction, out of Clinton, to create a whole new design. During the construction many of the 26 employees remained on staff to assist the Fitzpatricks in the work.
“It feels good after a long 75 days working 16 hours a day, every day,” Eddie Fitzpatrick said of the opening.
The day before the grand re-opening last Friday, Wayne Today got a tour of the new place, which looks very different compared to the old design. There is more room for dining as well as more tables available for customers who prefer to sit within the bar area.
New shelving and pillars are the décor in the dining area all of which are trimmed with Celtic and English proverbs and lined with quaint trinkets bought at flea markets and antique shops. Employees were busy setting out the bar’s new china that was purchased along with all new furniture.
“It’s all new – from tables to bar stools,” said Tom, smiling.
The walls now offer a more vibrant appeal rich in deep red, green, yellow, and black. The floors are all tiled and there’s a dance area now too. The steps leading up to the DJ area resemble Ireland’s St. James Gate where the Guinness brewery is located and across from that depicts an Irish storefront.
There are 24 HDTVs around the building allowing customers ample viewing pleasure. A new addition soon to come on the menu will be homemade pizza cooked on the premises. The exterior of the building was also freshly painted and the parking lot has been paved.
“The Grasshopper is an important landmark in Wayne and I am very happy to hear that they are re-opening. I personally have enjoyed many meals at the Grasshopper Too and the Fitzpatrick family and their great restaurant is an integral part of the Mountainview shopping district. I only wish them the best of luck,” said Mayor Chris Vergano.
The Grasshopper Too is located at 26 Erie Ave. For more information and hours of operation call 973-696-9698.
Source: Debra Winters, northjersey.com