Teaneck–After several delays, the Teaneck Doghouse, the area’s first kosher sports restaurant, is set to open on Thursday, September 4th, at 1415 Palisade Avenue.
The bar and table tops–covered in decades worth of cards from a variety of sports–are the statement pieces setting the tone for the establishment. Interesting pieces of sports memorabilia line the walls and will be available for purchase. The restaurant is also host to a dartboard and jukebox.
The Teaneck Doghouse’s hashgacha is being provided by Rabbi Zushe Yosef Blech of Bais Ben Zion. All bread products will be pas yisroel. The drink options include mevushal wines, 12 draft and 20 bottled beer choices, and a wide variety of spirits. As Doghouse is a family restaurant, virgin versions of cocktails like daiquiris and Shirley Temples will also be offered.
In addition to the 28 sports-tuned TV’s, the menu boasts typical gastro pub fare: Specialty hot dogs, hamburgers, grilled and fried chicken, and meatball and steak sandwiches. Beef jerky and signature bbq brisket round out the offerings.
“It’s a true sports restaurant,” Jonathan Gellis, one of the four managing partners, said. “Doghouse is a popular pub name; they have one in a lot of towns all over the country. We’re called the Doghouse because we’re offering a one-of-a-kind hotdog bar, with six to eight different hotdog and sausage choices, and at least 20 hot and cold toppings to choose from, on a specialty bun!”
Gellis said that he and his partners jumped when they found out that the owner of Vinny O’s, whose building the Doghouse took over, wanted to go into semi-retirement, since they saw an opportunity to fill a need for the community. While it’s possible to take out professional colleagues to a kosher place for a drink in Manhattan, the partners found Bergen County sorely lacking in this area. The hundreds of people who work locally often have had to watch colleagues eat and drink at non-kosher establishments, and always hoped a kosher place would open that would be able to serve their demographic.
“We saw it as a good opportunity to make something that barely exists in the Jewish world,” Gellis said. Kosher Teaneck has come out with some tremendous, high-end options, he added, but didn’t have a place where colleagues, Jewish or not, could go for a beer and watch a game or eat together casually. That’s just one reason Gellis is confident in Doghouse’s success. For many, it’s a given that one has to socialize with friends or coworkers in a casual setting, and they have to choose whether to look awkward and not eat, or make a less-than-ideal choice in terms of kashruth.
“A lot of locals who live and work in Teaneck or Hackensack have people come to visit them and they haven’t had anywhere to take them,” Gellis said.
Gellis added that big crowds come in from Passaic and Monsey to eat in Teaneck and they often have to rush to get to town before the restaurants close, so Doghouse will act as a late night option. That late night factor isn’t just for out-of-towners–Gellis knows a number of people from the West Coast who now live in the area. They want to watch West Coast games, which air late at night here, but they want to be able to do so without keeping a spouse awake or waking a baby up. Doghouse will show games from around the world, although New York/New Jersey games with local fans will take precedence in relation to screen time, Gellis said.
In terms of minors, Doghouse is set up into two areas–the restaurant, which has 45 seats, and the bar, which has 25 seats–and opens into the restaurant section. Local sports for kids are also represented. A trophy case, a staple from the days of Vinny O’s, will be displaying MGBL and TBO trophies as well as always keeping at least one from Vinny O’s selection on display to preserve the tradition. Doghouse will also display local team trophies on a rotating basis.
Doghouse will be open from 11:30 a.m. through 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and will be open for lunch on Fridays. Saturday hours are from one hour after Shabbos; the closing time will be officially set after the managing partners get a better idea of how late people like to stay. The kitchen closes at midnight. No unaccompanied minors will be allowed inside after 10 p.m.
For more information and the menu, visit http://www.teaneckdoghouse.com.
By Aliza Chasan and Elizabeth Kratz