Mar 30, 2014 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
There’s a new restaurant and bar in Cazenovia that the owner believes will fill a gap in the current food and beverage offerings in the village — a place that serves lunch and dinner seven days a week with high quality food, a fully stocked bar with multiple televisions at which to relax and an overall family-friendly atmosphere.
“I just felt it was a place the town needed — a place where family, friends, everyone can meet,” said Geoff Zimmer, owner of Junior’s Caz Bar at 64 Albany St. “It’s different. We cater to a crowd looking for an atmosphere conducive to conversation, community and camaraderie.”
“’Gastro-pub’ is the local term used now,” said Brian Duffy, Junior’s head chef. “The concept is that you can get a nice dinner at a moderate price with the option of drinks and watching sports. There’s really nothing like it in Caz.”
Junior’s Caz Bar, which had its grand opening Tuesday, April 1, is in the former Henneberg Tavern location on Albany Street. Zimmer, the co-owner with his father of Ayer & Zimmer Funeral Home and former bartender at B.G. Buda’s, along with Cazenovia resident Hank Mullins, the business’ minority owner, purchased the bar from John Henneberg, who closed his tavern on March 1.
For the ensuing two weeks, Zimmer, Duffy and a vast number of helpers worked fast and feverishly to transform the inside of the bar to the new concept. The entire kitchen was swapped out for new equipment; the dining area was completely renovated with the removal of one dividing wall, the cutting of an open window in the second dividing wall, the walls were all painted in a soft tan color, the old furniture, bar tables and chairs were completely removed and new dining room tables and chairs were brought in; and nearly one dozen televisions were hung on the walls.
“We wanted to open it up and make it warm and inviting,” Zimmer said of the interior renovations.
The bar is mostly the same as in its previous iterations with beer (10 draft handles), wine and spirits, including a selection of local favorites Empire Brewing Company and Good Nature Brewing (Zimmer said he is also talking with Owera Vineyards and Critz Farms to have their offerings on hand as well).
One of the biggest changes will be the food. The focus is to offer high quality meals, from the typical pub fare of burgers and fries up to dinners of hand-cut steaks, seafood, pasta and pork chops, with appetizer and entrée specials offered daily, Duffy said. Menu prices range from $8 or $9 for sandwiches to $20 to $22 entrées, he said. There will also be a kid-friendly menu.
“We have probably the best pork chop you can get anyplace … and a signature crab cake that will rival any,” said Duffy, who has a long cooking resume that includes work as assistant chef at the Brewster Inn, head chef at The Ridge, The Foggy Goggle and The Grill House in Henderson Harbor.
Duffy said he will be using as much local food from local producers as possible, including meat from Meadows Farms and Side Hill Farms, cheese from 2 Kids Goat Farm, produce from Sorbello’s, products from Golub’s Our Farm as well as vegetables and grass-fed lamb from Duffy’s own farm.
“Consistency is huge in our menu, and we really want to showcase specials,” Duffy said.
“The idea is that we want people to say, ‘I can’t believe I missed that special,’” Zimmer said.
Since Junior’s soft opening on March 14, the public reception has been extremely positive, with lots of compliments and a great enthusiasm for the broad menu, said Zimmer and Duffy.
“Both of our commitments is to the community — make this community-based and really be involved,” Duffy said. “We just want to be a place the community comes for great food, drinks and entertainment.”
Junior’s Caz Bar opens at 11 a.m., serving lunch and dinner seven days a week.
For more information call 815-5122 or visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/juniorscazbar.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.