Let the games begin!

NFL contests can be seen at bars, pubs, diners

Hungry for some regular season NFL pro football after seven months of feeling deprived?
There are an abundance of places in the county to hunker down, kick back, or pony up, starting right here in Secaucus.

The Plank Road Inn

Food and football fun is the formula at The Plank Road Inn in Secaucus.
“I come here on a Sunday regularly during football season,” said Daniel Beschetti of Secaucus. “It’s standing room only.
“Everybody comes here for football on Sunday,” he said. “It’s a good atmosphere. The guys who come here just come to have a good time. They’re good guys.”
Lori Kowalewski of Secaucus echoed Beschetti’s statement on July 24 at the inn.
“I come here for the atmosphere,” she said. “The people are friendly and fun”
Kowalewski was here with her husband celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary, and taking a break from watching her 7-year-old son, David.
“It’s revitalizing to a mom to get out,” she said. “I don’t get to do it often.”
Their menu runs the gamut from the basic; wings, fried mozzarella sticks, and fried calamari, to the fancy: Thai beef salad, zuppa di mussels, stuffed mushrooms, and Gai Yang wings.
Much of the football crowd there orders from the affordable appetizer menu: $6.96 to $8.95, with $1.75 and $2.50 soups. Football specials are the norm on days when games are played.
Chef Oscar Phemsint expands his “Oscar’s Menu” from Wednesdays-Saturdays to include Sundays during the football season, according to bartender Karyn Taylor. On it are 27 dinner entrees, from $9.95 pastas to $16.95 veal dishes. Gung Pow chicken, shrimp fra diavolo, veal pizzaiola, and steak marsala are among the choices.
Going to the Plank Road Inn can almost be a “religious” experience for the pigskin fan on game day: with 30 flat screen TVs, they might just stand there in awe. They’re split between the bar, back room, and an area between both.

Coach House Restaurant

The Coach House Restaurant is happy to be a venue for the football and hot wing crowd, according to owner Nick Pappas.
“We have football on all the time, and we’ve very focused on sports,” Pappas said.
And with nine televisions sets, and room for 20 to 25 at the bar, county residents don’t have to go far for their share of first downs and foot longs.
Come early, come late, the chips are always on the bar, according to Pappas.
“We have happy hour specials Monday through Friday – Mondays all night – and the rest of the week, Tuesday through Friday, we have them 4 to 8,” he said.
“We have drinks and small-plate appetizers discounted. Basically, it’s half-priced cocktails, beer and wine.”
A lot of his customers during football season come to do just that, watch the game and get something to eat, either light appetizers or a complete dinner. A full menu is available at the bar.
“I see more and more people come in to sit in the bar and watch games,” he said.
For the comfort food fan, nachos, Buffalo wings, barbecued ribs, and potato skins are, of course, available. But they aren’t the only offerings.
“As a healthier choice, we have pork or veggie dumplings, pan-fried,” Pappas said. “Also, we have a salad bar that’s second to none.”
James Taylor, 41, of Jersey City has been coming to the restaurant for 20 years. On Saturday, Aug. 24, he was there to watch the Giants-Jets preseason match-up and “to eat a nice meal.”
“The food is delicious,” he said. “I’ve been coming for sports here about a good 10 years now.
I’m a Giant fan, but I wanted to see Geno Smith, see when he gets the starter job,” he said.

Park Avenue Bar & Grill

The Park Avenue Bar & Grill in Union City describes itself as “casual upscale.”
“You can have a date and have a nice dinner, but we also have jerseys over the bar,” said manager on duty Albert Martinez on Aug. 27.
They get quite a football crowd there, too, enough so to roll out two large-screen projectors on Sundays during football season to project onto two different walls, in the restaurant and in a larger back area.
“They’re really massive,” Martinez said. “One takes up the whole front window, and the other, a whole back wall.”
Football fans will like the two projectors, seven TVs, and dozens of football-viewing seats between their two bars and enclosed courtyard area.
But they’ll like even better their beer tower specials; $20 for a 100-ounce domestic beer mini-keg (Bud Lite or Park Avenue Lager); and $24 for a 100-ounce import (Stella, Blue Moon, or Samuel Adams).
“We get a pretty mixed crowd,” Martinez said. “We get Miami fans, Jets fans, Giants. We get some Patriots fans too.”

Other football favorites

Other places to view your pigskin favorites are: the Big Apple Lounge & Restaurant, Bayonne; Beer Garden and York Street Tavern, Jersey City; Applebee’s, Boulevard Diner, and Waterside Restaurant, North Bergen.
Also, the Chart House Restaurant and Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Weehawken; Lusso Pizza Bar Grill and Son Cubano, West New York; and Houlihan’s, Bayonne, Secaucus and Weehawken.

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