Sunday, November 22, 2009

Italian-American Plus a Touch of Mexican

You might think you're outside when you're inside the restaurant section of the Valley Restaurant and Pub in Long Valley. There's an immense mural of verdant greens surrounding a familiar bridge in the center of town.

"It just naturally goes with Long Valley," co-owner Tim Janiszewski says of the massive wall painting facing tables in the back of the building.

"I think that it kind of depicts the center of Long Valley, so we kind of wanted that bridge. (Tthe artists) took an angle shot of it and got down there by the river, behind what used to be the old general store and took the picture (for reference).

When asked what the customers think of it, Tim just smiles.

"They love it," he says. "I was in another location for 23 years. We moved over here in 2000, and it's worked out great. We had to renovate the whole place from top to bottom. That's where this came to mind to put the picture there."

That's not the only thing the customers love about the place. The Valley Restaurant and Pub's cuisine is an eclectic mix of Italian and American, from chicken parmigiana to chili-taco salad.

"It's an Italian-American pub," says Tim's wife and co-owner, Tammy. "We run the gamut from specialty pastas, like shrimp and scallops florentine, to a turkey club. So there's something for everyone."

There's also a little flair added in the middle of the week: "We run Mexican specials," Tim says, "We started to run them on Tuesdays. It was very popular so we expanded it to Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and that's in addition to our regular menu. People can come in and get the regular menu also."

The Mexican specials include an extended drink menu including margaritas, sangria and Corona beer; appetizers such as chicken or chili nachos; entrees that chicken or steak fajitas served with rice and beans; and tortilla con quesa, which is just another way of saying Mexican pizza.

In addition to the Mexican nights in the restaurant, Monday evenings offer free wings and reduced-price beer in the pub section for the Monday night sports games.

"We have Monday night football with free wings," Tim says. "It does bring in a lot of people on Monday nights. Our main interest is to fill the place up."

Tammy adds, "We also have $2 mugs of beer."

"Well," Tim adds, they're $1.85, really. We can't take credit for the tax."

Tim started out the pizza business before he decided to move to a different location with his family and expand the menu. Outside business hours, his great passion is his family.

"When I first started, I knew that I would have children someday," Tim says, "and it's nice to see that, as grown-ups, they work in the business, and it's nice to work side by side with them."

He and Tammy have three daughters: Jordan, in college; Paige, in high school; and Andrea, 13. Whenever they can, Paige and Andrea work in the restaurant, and Andrea wants to, but she's too young.

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