The spirit of the razed Stone Balloon Tavern in Newark lives on—subtly. The storied property that hosted rockers like Bruce Springsteen, Bad Company and the Dave Matthews Band until 2005 hasn’t forgotten its niche in musical history. Photos of musicians greet visitors in the front dining room of the new Stone Balloon Ale House on Main Street. A drum kit is mounted on a wall, and guitars are placed strategically. Music from past performers wafts through the space. Even the menu showcases a torn ticket from a 1975 Rush concert held on the site. Price tag: $2.50.
But the restaurant isn’t trying to re-create the old days. “The nostalgia is brought by the individuals who come here,” says restaurant manager Philip DiFebo. Indeed, on my first visit, a woman at a neighboring table regaled her younger companions with tales of visits during Stone Balloon’s heyday. But a celebration of the former concert hall only goes so far in entertaining today’s diners. The restaurant’s focus is very much on updated comfort food. “Our spin is on everyday classics,” DiFebo says. Read full article