2014-01-16 / Front Page

Plan for new Olde Silver Tavern gains approval

Staff Writer

MANALAPAN — The Olde Silver Tavern, a local bar and eatery, has sat closed and boarded up on Freehold-Englishtown Road (Route 522) for several years, but plans are now in place to bring one of Manalapan’s busiest hubs of activity back to life.

The building that has stood on the property for more than 90 years will be demolished and a new Olde Silver Tavern will be built in its place, according to plans approved by the Manalapan Planning Board in December.

According to the application, the current owners of the business are James Lawson and Agostino DiFiglia.

“The Olde Silver Tavern is an icon,” said attorney Gerald Sonnenblick, who represents the owners. “[The new restaurant] is going to be very pretty and it is going to sit pretty much where it was before, with outdoor dining and about the same size with parking, and the bar will be separate from the eating area.”

According to Sonnenblick, when the business went bankrupt under a previous owner, Amboy Bank foreclosed on the property and a liquor license that is associated with the business.

“The liquor license goes along with the sale of the property, which is subject to the transfer of the liquor license and approval by the board,” Sonnenblick said. “We have an easement that we needed and we are going to bring sewer and run the lines, which is subject to the approval of the Western Monmouth Utilities Authority (WMUA).”

WMUA General Manager Katherine Leatherman said an application was made to the authority for sewer service at the Olde Silver Tavern location some time ago. She said two criteria for sewer service have been met: the property is in the county and state’s waste water management plan and the township, through the Planning Board, has granted approval of the application.

Leatherman noted that the WMUA does not install sewer lines. She said it will be the responsibility of the property owners to locate the nearest sewer line and extend that line to the Olde Silver Tavern property if they want sewer service.

Once a sewer line has reached the tavern property, a hook-up can be made to the new business and the WMUA can transport and treat the waste that is generated by the business, she said.

Sonnenblick said that given other action that must be taken on the Olde Silver Tavern application, he could not provide a date for when the new restaurant will open.

According to previous articles, the Old Silver Tavern dates back to the 1930s and has had several owners through the years. The first recorded sale was made by Joseph Rauber, who sold the establishment to John and Bertha Smarr on April 12, 1956.

The Smarrs sold the business to John and Susan Mascilak in July 1957. The tavern was sold to Andrew and Elsie Szeles and William Rohaly in May 1959, and they sold it to Gerald and Jeanette Burke in March 1970.

The tavern was sold to Galbarb Inc. in May 1974 and to Fecht Enterprises on Feb. 9, 1982. In 1988, the Von Der Fechts became the full owners of the tavern and ran it until George Sapirstein bought it in 2004.

Sapirstein was forced to close the business for one month in 2008 due to health code violations regarding sanitation and food handling. A fire damaged the building in 2009.

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