Ellery’s Grill, in Middlesex, NJ, is about to launch 35 days of $5 craft drafts, which runs from Friday, January 26, through Thursday, February 29.
And they’re kicking off with a bang: On Friday, January 26, Kelsey Grammer — yes, the Kelsey Grammer — will be in the house to pour his Faith American draft beer selections.
Two years ago, one of Ellery’s distributors built a relationship with Kelsey, whose beer is brewed in Catskills, NY, explained Ben Hydo, general manager of Ellery’s. “He does events in NJ for the beer, and we had an event set up on his bar tour,” Hyde said.
Ellery’s Neighborhood Pub & Grill opened 27 years ago in Middlesex, NJ, on March 15, 1997. While the initial focus was more bar-first, owner John Ellery and his management team have worked up fairly priced, quality food options for the menu at this Irish-American-style sports pub.
Today, most people in the Middlesex area and its surrounding community know Ellery’s Grill for its consistent food and drinks, friendly service, and outdoor patio band sessions in the summer. And, yes, some people know the spot as the place where Kelsey Grammer appears from time to time to pour his beer.
Food and Drink
The menu at Ellery’s is most easily described as that of a typical American tavern — with everything from burgers and wings to chicken pot pie, BBQ items, and entrees like chicken parm for event catering.
Hydo, 39, is the restaurant and bar manager but he’s happy to step in and make pizza in the kitchen — or pour beer when Kelsey Grammer needs a backup. In fact, he’s learned to work every position at Ellery’s to keep the place going for the 11 years he’s been working there.
“The burgers, wings, and pizza are the best sellers,” Hyde said. “We make our own burgers in house. For our pizzas we make our own dough and we have our own pizza oven. Entrees like our chicken pot pie, meatloaf, and penne vodka are bestsellers and nice comfort foods.” He noted that the restaurant has had the same recipe for its 14-inch, thin-crust pizzas for all 27 of its years.
Specials and Events
The staff at Ellery’s keeps an ongoing calendar of new events that keep the community engaged. Hyde talked about the weekly prime rib special—every Thursday. “We get fresh cuts in and cook Thursday afternoon so I can look people in the eye and tell them it’s as fresh as possible,” he said. But that’s not all for the specials. “We do Taco Tuesday. And right now, our wings are half-price on Wednesdays.”
A Meaningful Relationship
“We were so appreciative that we turned [Grammer’s] IPA into our house IPA,” said Hydo. “And he was appreciative of us — he started coming by more and he developed a friendship with me and John.”
“So, on the 26th, for our craft beer month kickoff, we’ll have his four beers on draft,” said Hydo. “He’s the nicest guy and he’s someone you can sit down and drink beer with, it’s fun.”
The community appreciates Grammer as well. In fact, Hyde said Middlesex will be giving him the key to the city. “Whenever he’s in town he stops at the police and fire departments. We’re a very small city. It’s a [way to say] thank you.”
The Nuts & Bolts
Owner John Ellery saw a need for catering on and off premises with his food truck. And he has invested in two rooms for catering at the pub. He’s also turned his outdoor patio into a a summer destination, with its rocking bands and great vibes.
For the Ellery’s team, community is priority. With that in mind, the business supports local fundraising efforts for sports teams, schools, and the PBA.
“We get into some big ones, like the Torch Run,” said Hydo. This statewide event supports the Special Olympics, and ends with a party with the athletes, at Ellery’s.
“We have a very loyal following and we like giving back to community,” said Hydo. “They are there when we need them. Places like us go forward due to the closeness we have with customers.”
701 Lincoln Boulevard