Founder John ”Jack” Bahrs, the grandson of a tall ship captain, and wife Florence, had their beginning in the Dutch Neck section of Newark where they owned and operated a small neck tie manufacturing business. The family was interested in Highlands and, after a robbery and their silk supply and finished neckties, they cemented their resolve to move to Highlands. They purchased a small boat rental business on Cedar Street that they operated in the summer and went back to work in Newark for the off-season. In 1917, they purchased the beached houseboat at this location, moved the rental boats over and started cooking up chowder. The rest is history! Jack, Florence and their four children, John(Bud), Al, Ken and Ruth, worked hard together selling bait, renting rowboats and cooking up dinners for fishing parties that would come down on the train Friday night and pay $2.50 for room and board. The two story houseboat had a potbelly stove and operated just seasonally. The houseboat structure remains as the interior of main dining room and reception area.
From the 1940s to the 1970s, Bud and his wife Peg successfully grew the business to a year-round destination entertaining seafood lovers visiting from Monmouth Park, the Garden State Arts Center, and the beaches. Famous stars such as Frank Sinatra, Joe DiMaggio and Ernest Borginine, and many more enjoyed lobster dinners at Bahrs. In the early days you could arrive by steamer or train when the Central Railroad of NJ came from Jersey City and stopped at Highland Station, just outside of Bahrs front door, on its way to Long Branch.
Bud & Peg officially retired in 1974. The Restaurant has been owned since by Ray Cosgrove and his son Jay, the fourth generation great grandson of the founders. Together they have expanded the facility to include Mobys Outside Deck & Lobster pound as well as the original marina facility. Our family and experienced dedicated staff have served over 12 million customers. Bahrs Landing is considered one of New Jersey’s famous landmarks as well as one of the country’s oldest family run restaurants.
Bahrs Landing specializes in catering to large and small groups, with friendly service, creating special memories for you and your family!