What's Going on at "The Park"? (Hazlet, NJ)


(Greg Caggiano) #1

This has been discussed in other threads but wanted to give it a dedicated thread. As you may know, The Park (formerly the successful Park East) closed last summer. It was slated to be reopened as Blue Moon Mexican Cantina in the fall, but it never did and now the sign was gone when I passed by the other day. Blue Moon has another location in Englewood, assuming it is the same people.

However, according to this article from just two days ago, the location suffered a “catastrophic” burst pipe. But it also lists the location as “Slab Bar and Grill”. Guess Blue Moon fell through. As the article mentions, this place has been a slew of businesses over the years.

I lived literally up the street from this location for nearly 23 years. I offered this in another thread:

First was Shore Point Inn (yes, that dingy motel had a restaurant) where the average age of the customers was around 83. The Inn died with its patrons and it became The Cove, which was not bad but never went over well. Had two Thanksgiving buffets there as a child when my mom didn’t feel like cooking! After that, it became the Steak Exchange which lasted for about three or four years. Never went at that point and I believe it was one more business before it became Park East. Now THAT was a goldmine. They had a solid two or three years of absolutely packed parking lots. People were parking in the Goddard School lot on football Sundays. For some reason, it drew an odd mix of locals, BENNY’s, and New Yorkers. Quite a bit of rabble rousing from what I hear. My dad’s coworker witnessed a stabbing in the parking lot one night. Cops practically lived in the Exxon across the street. Watching. Waiting. For some reason, their run dwindled and last I saw it was The Park Tap and Grill. Restaurants at that location have been killed and resurrected more times than Dracula.


(Mr met) #2

that was actually a really interesting article. Looks like they are expanding the motel which the other brother owns. I can’t imagine how that place could really draw that many people- seems like it says business is mostly transient tradesmen on jobs in the area.


(Junior) #3

“Slab Bar and Grill” is probably just the LLC that owns the property per tax records. That has nothing to do with any operating name, regarding the Blue Moon concept the article stated it was going to be a franchise so not the same people of the Englewood location they just licensed the concept.

The owner listed is the same owner who purchased the business from Kosta & Dimitri who still operate the sister location to Park East, Mister. East in Roselle. At this location they have captured the same lightening in the bottle that they had at Park East, however with less problems. (take this for what it’s worth, but less NY/Staten Island influence if you ask me) After they sold Park East, due to pressure from the town over multiple DUI’s - accidents (at least one of which fatal) and I think an off duty cop was stabbed in the parking lot as well. The partners moved on to opened Gotham in Red Bank and continued their success, not sure if Catch which moved into the Gotham location is a joint venture or if they sold.

They also had a long history of successful clubs on Rt. 35 they owned club Abyss, Deko and several incarnations of the same locations in the South Amboy/Sareville area in the 90’s and 2000’s. They seem to be able to create concepts that take off, that’s for sure.

Now from reading the article it seems the current ownership is the same as who bought out Kosta & Dimitri. This is who purchase Park East and eventually (not completely their fault, the town placed a ton of restrictions on the sale of the license like no bottle service) drove the Park East brand into the ground and closing it. The Park was their attempt to recapture the previous success of Park East, but they lacked the secret sauce the prior owners bring to their brand of clubs.

With 11mos left on the lease and extensive damage I doubt you will see anything come of the space. My bet is they will sell the location to one of the developers they mention getting offers from. That location screams Wawa/Quick Check-Gas/Store combo. If I were the owner at 82 years old, I can’t see waiting for the insurance money, fixing the building, finding a new tenant and hoping they are successful and pay their rent without defaulting, AGAIN.


(Junior) #4

A couple pics from a Park East Anniversary Party, my phone says it was taken 2012 so I’m guessing 2nd or 3rd anniversary,


(Mr met) #5

wow- what a history lesson… so basically club abyss = Gotham…unreal

did they really hit with gotham- granted I never went, but everyone I know that went said it was a really odd spot and then they rebranded it as a restaurant that seems to plunder and the forthcoming Mexican joint seems to not really be a thing? I suppose with the deep pockets they have they can wait it out a bit.

I’d take umbrage with the SI/NY dig, but quite frankly that’s why I got the hell off the rock in the first place…


(Junior) #6

Gotham was a flash in the pan, but to my understanding they made money hand over fist for the year or so they were operating. I know I went there for a “business lunch” one day, and I was the only table in the place and once seated they gave us a lunch menu for Catch. (which at the time was a few doors down) When I inquired they said they “imported” their food from Catch for lunch time, I left. That experience is what made me think that the current incarnation of Catch at this location (a very quirky set up) might be a joint venture, but I do not know.

My apologies about the “dig” but it does seem SI/NY are attracted to the Southern Corridor of NJ clubs. Anything south of the Outer Bridge Crossing starting in Woodbridge/Chris Michael’s on down to Seaside draws a large NY influence. In my personal experience it seems as if there is some kind of SI/NY rite of passage to that includes starting a fight in NJ.


(Mr met) #7

no worries- my response was tongue in cheek. Like I said, its why I couldn’t get out fast enough. Chris Michaels does indeed seem to be the northern landmark on the SI to NJ club roundup.


#8

I spent many nights playing free poker at Park East and usually had fun. It absolutely had a shady and quite dark side. I never really felt comfortable there since I nearly always played alone, that parking lot made me nervous and some of the guys were really intense (especially after a couple drinks). The valet parking was a welcome option for me.


(Junior) #9

Ugggghhhh I use to despise you!! (joke) They used to turn the whole back room into a poker room, completely ruining my martini bar atmosphere! They used to pack them in though, there was a line out the door and never an empty seat.


#10

Yes, it got crazy there for a while. For a period, they used the upstairs room which made SO MUCH MORE SENSE. Plenty of room and not bothering the people who actually wanted to eat/drink in peace.

Free games bring out an interesting mix of people with bizarre playing styles.


#11

Is there any relationship to the old Park East that used to be in Manasquan? Sort of a wanna be upscale Italian restaurant? There were always rumors that it had a shady SI connection, and was connected.


(Junior) #12

lol glad to know I"m the “shady SI connection” resource of HO!! No not to my knowledge there was no relationship.


#13

You just have such a vast amount of restaurant knowledge… Not necessarily shady or about SI in particular.