WESTFIELD, NJ — A long-awaited restaurant and bar specializing in organic meat is still on track to open, despite coronavirus, the mayor said.
Last week, Mayor Shelley Brindle said the owner of the Bareburger franchise conveyed to her that New Jersey’s rules for indoor dining capacity will determine the specific opening time.
“They’re making a lot of progress on their space and it looks great,” Brindle told the board of Downtown Westfield Corp. “They said they will be ready to open in November, but if they open in November will depend on indoor dining capacities.”
If they don’t make November, she said, Bareburger anticipates opening by January 2021. The upscale hamburger franchise is slated for 126 Central Avenue next to the eyeglasses retailer Warby Parker.
As of this week, the state is allowing for indoor dining at 25% capacity. Gov. Phil Murphy said New Jersey needs to see fewer COVID-19 outbreaks before the state allows for higher indoor dining capacities.
“A sustained lack of outbreaks in either gyms or indoor dining would ultimately, I can't tell you when, will ultimately lead to a decision on capacity,” Murphy said in is COVID-19 update Wednesday.
In 2018, Bareburger purchased the unused liquor license from the former Jolley Trolley Bar & Grill. The Jolley Trolley had closed in 2016.
On Twitter, the town then expressed optimism: “In case you missed this news at last night's Town Council meeting... Who's excited about @Bareburger coming to Westfield?,” the town Tweeted.
Officials had previously anticipated the franchise would open in “early 2020,” according to Brindle, who then included the restaurant’s anticipated opening in a year-end list of town accomplishments made in 2019. That, however, was prior to the pandemic.
The high-end hamburger chain has existing locations in Montclair, Ridgewood and New York City, among its 37 restaurants nationwide, according to Bareburger.
The company's website describes itself in this manner:
At Bareburger we take a simple, joyful, and organic approach to food.
Fresh, vibrant, clean ingredients make for good food, and good food enjoyed in a fun and happy space can make your corner of the world just that much better.
We take as much pride in preparing and cooking our food as we do in getting to know the farmers who grow it. We cook fresh, and we serve fresh.