Remember the long slow downturn of Houlihan’s locations across New Jersey? I last wrote about one of their closures in January, the Cherry Hill location. That brought the number of remaining Houlihan’s in New Jersey to only 7.

One that closed down in Bridgewater has sat vacant on Route 22 since September. It’s an almost 7,000-square-foot ghost town of a building just screaming for a viable business in such a prime location. Well, it found one.

Stone Tavern is a family-friendly restaurant in Warren County. The Phillipsburg eatery owned by Steve Desiderio has a lot going for it. A modern, industrial design. A great menu that offers pizza, Italian, wood-fired steaks, seafood, burgers, etc. They have 30 beers on tap. They have events every night of the week, including live music, karaoke and Sunday brunch.

cheeseburger and fries on plate served with beer at restaurant

And they have a second location coming soon where that old Houlihan’s sat.

With massive renovations underway, Desiderio says you won’t recognize the place if you were ever in it as a Houlihan’s.

Nothing about it will remind you of Houlihan's when you step inside," says Desiderio, now a Bridgewater resident. “The bar will be nearly double in size, and everything will be relocated.

Glass of beer with barrel, bottle and fresh hops still-life

They’re looking at a November or December grand opening. They’ll be at 1288 Route 22 East in Bridgewater. I wish Desiderio the best of luck with his new location. His Stone Tavern has four years under its belt, three in Washington then one after moving within the county to Phillipsburg. He has his mind set on opening three more after Bridgewater.

Here’s a look at their website for a taste of what’s to come. Living just 20 minutes away I know I’ll be checking it out for sure.

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