Friday, December 5

The Old Mill Inn

“Food as close as possible to that served in the best homes . . .
family recipes and absolute cleanliness.”

Still Serving!
Now called The Grain House Restaurant
(part of The Olde Mill Inn)
(908) 221-1150
225 Route 202
Basking Ridge, NJ 07920

Among their specialties are roast duck and fried chicken, along with Virginia ham (if they can get it). About six kinds of desserts. Lunch from 85¢; Dinner from $1.60. Liquor served.

In Hines' time the Old Mill Inn was a small inn serving meals to lodgers and, presumably, the general public. Years later, this business not only survived, but expanded. The Inn was rebuilt across the street with significantly larger accommodations. The restaurant remains in the original charming building but is now called The Grain House Restaurant. You can still dine in much the same atmosphere as Hines did 60 years ago.

The opening quote is from William Childs, a famous restaurateur who acquired and redefined The Old Mill Inn in 1929, just in time to welcome Duncan Hines. He even moved the structure (previously a grain house and barn) across Route 202, restoring, rather than gutting, the 200 year-old building. Features such as the beams and fireplaces are original. William Childs was not the only one in the family involved in restaurants. He and his brother Samuel ran an extensive chain of 107 establishments across the country. Surely, his name was not unknown to Hines. Of many progressive policies, Childs' restaurants were among the first to employ women to wait tables!

Although the Grain House Restaurant (and The Olde Mill Inn) are now owned and operated by The Bocina Group, they seem to have fastidiously maintained the business philosophy and presence begun by W. Childs.

The restaurant today... still looking good!

Bernards Inn

"Celebrating 100 years of gracious hospitality."

Still Serving!
(908) 766-0002
27 Mine Brook Road
Bernardsville, NJ 07924

Hines: An old hotel, not large, but serving good meals. You will probably like their lemon chiffon pie particularly well—most people do. Breakfast, 45¢ up; Lunch, 85¢ up; Dinner $1.35 up. Sundays and Holidays, Dinner 12pm - 9pm, $1.50 up. Liquor served.

The restaurant, to its credit, is still going strong in its original location. Unlike places such as the Grain House (see above) which have held onto the vintage aesthetic, Bernards Inn has completely revamped itself as a higher-end, local hot spot. It caters to the business crowd as it only offers lunch on weekdays and hosts corporate meetings, and yet it is also positioned as an upper crust location for social events. The "Library Bar" offers live music and a reserved "tastings" menu. They also still provide extraordinary guest rooms for overnight stays. This would certainly be a place to impress while putting up your in-laws!

Hoping to try the breakfast sometime (a tad more in my price range) otherwise it might be a while before I am able to dine at this restaurant... maybe even as long as has passed since dinner cost $1.50! According to the current menu, dinner at the Bernards Inn these days is anywhere between $38 and $45, although smaller dishes at the bar are also an option.

Thursday, December 4

Le Deauville Inn

> > Demised < <
Hamilton Road (?)
Glendola/Belmar, New Jersey

Open all year, every day, except Mondays and Tuesdays, 12:30pm to 11pm. Features: mushroom soup, steaks, chops, lobster and crab meat cocktail. They will prepare special dishes if you notify them in advance. Lunch or Dinner, $1.50 - $3.00. Liquor served.

Sadly, I can find very little on this establishment. I did find an entry in the history of Wall Township that notes: "January 1981 Fire destroys the 54-year-old restaurant landmark Le Deauville Inn, located on Gully and Remsen Mill roads in the Glendola section."

Do not be confused with a newer Sports Bar, known simply as Deauville. It is located in Strathmere about an hour further south on the coast.

Tuesday, December 2

Hackney's [Sea Food Restaurant]

"Famous as the Boardwalk"

> > Demised < <
Maine Avenue/Boardwalk
Atlantic City, New Jersey

On the Boardwalk, near the Inlet. Said to be the largest sea food restaurant in the world. An almost endless variety of shore dinners. See their live lobster purifying pools where large quantities are kept for a period of time before serving. All food cooked to order. Lunch and Dinner, from $1.25. Liquor served.

Harry Watson Hackney was born in New Jersey and opened his first restaurant on the Boardwalk in 1912. Destined for greatness, Hackney's had enough business to remain open year-round by the later 1920s. Pretty remarkable for what was once a seasonal destination. In Hines' day, it was known as America's Largest Sea Food Restaurant, taking up an entire city block. With an amazing seating capacity of 3,200, Hackney's was once the star of the New Jersey surf!

Mr. H. W. Hackney passed away in 1945 (2 years before the edition of my guidebook) at the age of 73 and the restaurant fell under the command of his son, Edward and ultimately his grandson Ralph. During Ralph's ownership, a fire destroyed the restaurant in 1963. Although he rebuilt and reopened in 1965, Atlantic City was in decline and the restaurant struggled until finally shutting its doors in the early 80s.