Restaurant Passion
Bookmark this Site
Mahwah Bar & Grill

History

The AB&G and the MB&G:
A Four-Generation Family Tradition


Way back in 1935, the Allendale Bar & Grill had its humble beginnings as a neighborhood tavern located in the old Allendale Hotel. Owned by Mike and Maude “Mom” Connelly, the establishment even then was known for its good food and generous portions at bargain prices. Mom, who took care of the kitchen, was known county wide for her generosity to those down and out. Hoboes and vagrants dropping off the freight trains that rumbled through town were assured of a meal before passing on. She also established the tradition of inviting the residents in for a free corned beef and cabbage dinner every St. Patrick’s Day – much appreciated by residents in those Depression years. It’s said that in her day there wasn’t a fire in Allendale that Mom didn’t attend to provide hot food and drink to the town’s volunteer fire fighters. Yankee immortal Babe Ruth was a frequent visitor.
In 1948 the AB&G relocated to its present site on West Allendale Avenue. Mom and her five daughters lived in the house next to the tavern (part of which is now the Snug bar and remodeled restaurant area). Gradually she turned over more and more of the operation to her eldest daughter. Marge and her husband Walt Kunisch, who ran the bar operation at night, while working as a printer during the day. Pizza to eat in and “to go” was added to the basic bar menu. In fact, present owner and third generation member, Mike Kunisch, learned the restaurant trade literally at his father’s knee by folding pizza boxes when he was just five years old.
By the early Sixties Mom Connelly had sold the business to Walt and Mike Kunisch and two other partners. They re-did the bar area in a colonial motif and created a larger eating area by eliminating the shuffleboard that lined one wall and furnishing it with captain’s tables and chairs. The menu was upgraded to provide full bar fare.
In the years since, the menu has been completely redone with continuing emphasis on quick food for those in a hurry (example: the AB&G hamburger has been rated tops in North Jersey for its generous portion and low fat content), and a greatly expanded dinner menu at attractive prices. In 1991, with the cooperation and encouragement of the Hackensack University Medical Center and daughter, Katie, then working there as a dietician, the AB&G introduced “The Lite Choice”, a cuisine highlighting heart-healthy, nutritional entrees that taste good, too.
Most recently, the Kunisches acquired the Mahwah Bar & Grill and celebrated the arrival of the fourth generation, sons Chris, Craig, Ken and daughter Katie, to help run the business. Their prediction: continued success at both restaurants so long as they never lose track of Ma Connelly’s goal some sixty years ago of providing good food and plenty of it and generous drinks at reasonable prices to her customers.

Items and pricing subject to change without notice.