Station restaurant fire: Residents displaced, owners hope to reopen soon
The owners of the Station restaurant in Bernardsville hopes to reopen before their 10th anniversary as the "Station Pub & Grub," after a fire early on Friday morning.
According to posts on the restaurant's Facebook page, the restaurant on the first floor of the 144-year old building received "minimal damage" from the fire. "There is a standard fire investigation taking place and as soon as they are finished our renovations will begin. We are hopeful that this will be only take a few weeks," wrote the restaurant.
The restaurant's anniversary in its current incarnation is in March. The building is nearly 140 years old, first constructed as the Claremount Hotel in 1878, directly across the train station, according to the restaurant’s website. It became “The Station” in 1972 and “Station Pub & Grub” in 2006.
The second and third floors seemed to take the most damage from the fire, which broke out around 3 a.m. Friday morning, Police Chief Kevin Valentine said shortly after the smokey fire was put out. He later told New Jersey Hills that he did not expect the apartments to be ready for residents to move back in "for an extensive period of time."
A picture of the bar area posted by the Station shows almost no damage.
The restaurant also said in posts it was grateful to firefighters for "keeping the fire under control, that there are no injuries and (for) minimizing the damage to the restaurant," noting that the staff knows many of the firefighters by name because they are frequent guests.
New Jersey Hills reported the Penguin Ice Cream Parlor, located in the building's rear west side, was not damaged and was open for business on Friday.
Twenty people who lived in apartments on the second and third floors were displaced by the fire and are being assisted by the Bernardsville Office of Emergency Management, Somerset County Social Services and the American Red Cross, officials say.
Geraldine Infantolino, the restaurant's general manager, told the Hills that several of the tenants are restaurant employees. "We were happy no one was hurt."