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05/19/2022

Familiar eatery moving into vacant Quaker Steak & Lube spot in Phillipsburg area

Lehigh Valley Live
Familiar eatery moving into vacant Quaker Steak & Lube spot in Phillipsburg area

A familiar Warren County restaurant is moving into the 6,000-square-foot building that once occupied Quaker Steak & Lube in Pohatcong Township.

 

Stone Tavern, previously known as “Desiderio’s Stone Tavern,” plans to open in the space, 1304 Route 22, on June 17. It’s sat vacant for nearly two years.

 

Quaker Steak & Lube shuttered all its New Jersey locations in early summer 2020 after opening the regional site in August 2014. The former Desiderio’s Stone Tavern closed its Washington Township location along Route 31 in October 2021 to prepare for a relocation.

 

Owner Stephen Desiderio of Branchburg, Somerset County told lehighvalleylive.com he was looking for a larger space to accommodate more patrons. The previous Washington building was about 4,000 square feet and didn’t have a canopied outdoor bar like the Quaker Steak & Lube site.

 

Desiderio’s Stone Tavern opened initially in March 2019. The concept, Desiderio said, has always been a gathering spot among friends, family and regulars. The menu is known for its wood fired steaks, burgers, seafood choices, and Italian specialties. Desiderio plans to add a selection of various pizzas and dinner specials to the mix in Pohatcong, as well as offer catering.

 
 

The building has been undergoing both interior and exterior renovations for the past four months. Inside, there’s seating for 200 people, including enough for 30 people at a large bar. Outdoors, there’s seating on the patio and exterior bar for another 75 people. The restaurant will have a 20-beer tap system and new to the Pohatcong location will be a variety of frozen alcoholic beverages on the bar menu.

 
 

There’s additionally increased parking compared to the Washington location. There’ll be a lineup of musical acts and other events on select weekends and evenings. There’s also room for private parties.

 
 

Desiderio said he plans to hire a total of 30 full-time and part-time employees.

 
 

Despite inflation and food shortage supplies, Desiderio said he is working to keep menu prices affordable.

 
 

“As most people are aware, all food prices have increased since the pandemic and subsequent lack of inventory,” he said. “We will not compromise on quality, but are sensitive to the current financial situation and are always considerate of our clients when setting prices.”

 
 

Desiderio has a family background in the restaurant industry for nearly three decades. He opened his first pizzeria, Hampton Pizza, in Hampton, Hunterdon County in January 1994. Since then, Desiderio has owned more than a half dozen other pizzerias throughout Warren, Somerset and Hunterdon counties.

 
 

“My mother taught me how to cook at a young age and shared our family recipes with me,” he said.

 
 

Desiderio isn’t ruling out any future plans to open another Stone Tavern location in the Lehigh Valley. The focus right now, however, is getting the Pohatcong site open and thriving, he said.

 
 

“That is always an option,” Desiderio said about expanding.

 

Hours for Stone Tavern will be from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; and 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.

The tavern sits in a shopping center that also has a Wawa, Walmart Supercenter, and White Castle. It’s near Pohatcong Plaza, which welcomed Mountain Dudes earlier this year in the former Ruby Tuesday space. That shopping center also houses Tractor Supply Co., which in November 2021 announced it would be moving into the space vacated by Toys ‘R’ Us, as well as several other tenants, including HomeGoods; Regal Cinemas; Marshalls; and Hobby Lobby.

 

Pamela Sroka-Holzmann / pholzmann@lehighvalleylive.com.

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