By Sally Deering
If the walls of the Madison Bar and Grill could talk they’d tell stories of longshoremen stopping by after a day working Hoboken’s piers to belly up to the bar for some shots and beers. They’d tell of Thomas F. Vezzetti, a larger-than-life character whose family owned the bar back in the day (long before he was the 33rd Mayor of Hoboken) who would sleep on the pool table with a baseball bat to scare off any burglars.
The Madison Bar and Grill still has its old Hoboken charm – a long and beautiful bar, a lovely dining room, the original tin ceilings and outdoor seating during warmer temps. The menu is a mix of burgers, sandwiches and entrees and the bar offers more beers than back in the day. There’s also an extensive wine list.
Manager Brian Davis says the Madison Bar and Grill isn’t the sports bar it was back in the 1990s and the place has become more family friendly and singles friendly where on weekend nights, they move the tables to the side and people dancing the night away.
“It’s a little bit of everything,” Davis says on a weekday afternoon. “On Sunday every football game is available and at the same time its very family oriented.”
The Madison serves lunch, dinner and brunch on the weekends. The dinner menu features appetizers, soups, salads, sliders, pasta dishes, sandwiches, burgers, entrees and a raw bar. A sampling of the menu includes appetizers like Crab Cakes, Mac & Cheese and French Onion Soup Dumplings.
“The French Onion Soup Dumplings are pretty unique,” Davis says. “People don’t realize they’re dumplings. They’re very popular. And some people say the Mac & cheese is the best in Hoboken.”
Sliders include Filet Mignon, Meat Ball Parmigiano and Pulled Pork and they come three to an order. Pasta dishes include Fusilli Bolognese, Shrimp Angel Hair and Risotto Du Jour. Entrees include Wasabi Grouper, Gaucho Steak Fritte, and Grilled Ahi Tuna.
“The Wasabi Grouper is a popular dinner entrée,” Davis says.
There are lots of side dishes from the Spuds section including Truffle Fries in a Cone.
“Truffle fries are fries that are cooked in truffle oil topped with Sea Salt, cracked pepper and Pecorino cheese,” Davis says. “They are very popular.”
The Madison burger is made with dry aged beef served on a Brioche bun and cooked any way you like.
“It’s a big juicy burger,” Davis days, “definitely a popular order.”
The Raw Bar serves Chilled Shrimp, Little Necks and a variety of Oysters. And one of their most popular sandwiches is Lobster 07030, lobster with avocado, tomato, bacon, arugula, and honey mustard vinaigrette in a New England style roll with French fries.
“You see the food trucks out on the Pier 14,” Davis says. “We’ve had them on the menu since we started – Maine lobster in a New England style roll.”
Davis says there’s an Omelet special every day and sandwich specials, too. On Sundays, the Madison offers a brunch buffet from 10:30 am – 3 pm, an all you can eat buffet for $25 per person which includes one Mimosa or one Bloody Mary and all the coffee and tea you can drink. There’s even a kids’ menu offering cheeseburgers, chicken fingers, pizza and mac & cheese. Everything on the kids’ menu is $8.
“The Madison is cool,” Davis says. “It has a lot of the old hotel feel to it. It gives you a sense of Hoboken’s originality. We don’t try to be too modernized. We don’t want to forget our past. Hoboken has been here a long time and just may be getting on the map, but we like to keep to our roots.”
IF YOU GO:
The Madison Bar and Grill
1316 Washington St
Hours: Restaurant/Bar Opens Mon-Fri, 11:30 am; Sat, 11 am; Sun 10 am
Fri & Sat, Bar stays open until 3 am
Tues-Sat, Dinner is served until 11 pm
Sun, Dinner is served until 10 pm