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Jake’s Restaurant & Bar in Flemington closes

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The owners and operators of Jake’s Restaurant & Bar on Route 202 in Flemington, N.J., have decided to retire from the restaurant’s daily operations and permanently close the “popular local hangout” after three successful decades in the community.

“I think of it as closing a chapter in a book,” said Executive Chef Bill Kinslow. “It wasn’t the first chapter, nor will it be the last. Without a doubt, though, it’s been the longest and best chapter. We have enough memories to last a lifetime.”

Chef Bill created the first menu for Jake’s; some of those same original items remained on the menu 30 years later.

The casual dining restaurant opened its doors in 1991 with Stephen Little at the helm and Chef Bill running the kitchen.

The Little family name has long been a staple in the Flemington business community. Generations of family members have been the entrepreneurs behind such well-known local businesses as Stephen Sturges’ Central Tavern on Main Street, Jack Little’s Weiner King, The Garden Cafe in Liberty Village, Jake’s All-American, the Milford Market and most recently Central Wine Merchants and Little Brothers Beverage Outlet.

On March 16, in response to the Corona Virus outbreak, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced new rules for restaurants — restricting them to take-out only.

Little and Kinslow began reviewing costs and options for the business and its 35 employees under the new guidelines and ultimately a decision was made. After 30 years of weathering all types of challenges, the pair understood that closing the business was the best option, though a painful one.

Along with the financial sting felt by both the business and its employees, is the sadness and disappointment they all share — wishing they could have more appropriately thanked each other, the regulars and the community at large who brought them so many memories, laughs and good times over the years.

“You are the heart and soul of Jake’s, and you’ve made these last 30 years an unforgettable ride,” said Little about the people he’ll miss.

“It’s been our honor and pleasure to serve you,” he added, finishing the farewell thought.


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