Helmers Restaurant

Helmers’ Restaurant in Hoboken to close at end of 2014

One of Hoboken’s oldest establishments around – Helmers’ Restaurant – is expected to close for good, on December 31, 2014.

While this may come as a shock and make some people sad, others we spoke with were surprised it took this long. Since the fire of 2006, many say the place “was not the same” when it came to food, beer choices, etc. Who knows the real reason – but regardless of what kind of business you have – you need to “love” what you’re doing for the positive results to materialize.

And besides that, the faltering economy, and bigger, brighter “Euro-style” places like Pilsener Haus & Biergarten providing that “ethnic” like atmosphere may certainly have played a role.

Other people we spoke with said the place has already been rented ($15,500 per month! $186k a year!). Apparently, the place will be “gutted” and the new owners will put a “dance floor” in? Not sure where they did their market research, but that doesn’t sound right. But you never know, maybe that style venue is just what Hoboken is lacking. We’ll see in 2015!

Nice knowing you, Helmers’!

Helmers Hoboken Closing forever 2014 NJ

Helmers’ Oktoberfest 2007


Just in time. Helmers’ is having one of their Oktoberfest gigs tonight from 7-10pm. Celebrate fine beer, watch the authentic German girl prance around, and be amazed by the rare and authentic wooden keg of Paulaner beer.


8/8/2007 Update: Open Today!

Last night was the friends and family pre-opening party. They’re open for business today! But please go easy on them as they get back up to speed!

My favorite item from the night (besides the Weiss beer) was the bacon wrapped scallops with a hint of maple syrup!

Welcome back, Helmers!

(see many more pics after the break)

Oh, here’s a PDF list of their 16 delicious draft beers.

Helmers Hoboken


This will turn into a “smokers lounge”:

The Parents:

Awesome Cuckoo clock!

7/3/2007 Update:

A reader chimed in and mentioned that the opening date keeps getting pushed back, which is expected in Hoboken.

“I just called and, to my surprise, someone picked up the phone!

The guy said that a realistic estimate for reopening is one month. Almost ready he said.

I’m stoked!!!”

6/14/2007 Update:

I walk by Helmer’s every day. The employees have been out there daily as well. I’ve asked on several occasions, and they’re hopeful to be open by the end of the month. I take every prediction with a grain of salt, but hopefully they’re right, and I can try some of that awesome meatloaf sometime soon!


It’s been almost a year since the fire, and Helmer’s is still not open yet. One of the contractors that was working on this project said “We’re essentially done. I’m not sure what he (the owner) is waiting for, unless he has a ton of money to waste.”


See below for other pictures since the fire.

12/07/2006 Update:

For the past week or two, big-time gutting of the Helmer’s building has been taking place. Finally! Every day a full garbage truck hauls away the piles of debris the workers have been pulling out of this Hoboken landmark. From what some of the employees had told me previously, the restaurant is supposed to open before they finish renovating the rest of the building. More to come on this. Hopefully they can complete the job quickly (good luck).


Update 5/23/2006: Pat, a waitress there for over 8 years, indicated that they hope to be re-opening within the next three months. Maybe they can still get some customers in while the outside eating is still an option.

Helmers will be back.JPG

Fire Destroyed corner building at 1036 Washington Street early today. See below for more pictures.

German Bar & Restaurant

Description – Serving authentic German cuisine, micro and import beers and a large liquor selection. Zagat rated.
Services –
Bar, Lunch, German specialties, Meat, Wurst, Sandwiches, Specials
Website – www.helmerscafe.com
Address –
1036 Washington St, Hoboken, New Jersey ( NJ ) 07030-5202
Telephone –
(201) 963-3333

helmers.JPG Click to see more about the fire, etc.

Update 5/11/2006: It seems like Helmer's intends on re-opening as soon as they can. Building inspectors and fire officials are coming this week and they will assess what needs to be fixed in order for them to be back in business. The destruction inside the restaurant was only limited to some moderate water damage in the front of the building. The kitchen remains fully intact. Richard, who owns the restaurant and the building had converted the six apartments above the restaurant to condos. All this talk of insurance fraud I think is ridiculous. The risk of getting caught, especially for a condo building is not worth it. I would assume that is more likely with rent-controlled buildings. Our apologies for the mis-information. This was taken from a long-time employee who had made incorrect assumptions. We vow not to report misleading information in the future. Thanks for your understanding. I'm sure the tenants had appropriate insurance, so they'll be OK. Alan, the long-time chef there had sadly indicated that regardless of how fast they re-open, that he'd need to go to unemployment immediately. I'm sure the same will go for the waitresses and bartenders there. If I didn't sleep like a log every day, I'd probably have heard this happening, since I live right around the corner. Not sure what caused the fire, but apparently everyone got out OK. Seems like the fire started on the first floor, since Helmer's doesn't appear damaged. However, they'll most likely be closed for a while, if not forever. Several people on the street were overheard mentioning the fires of 1979 and 1980, where landlords were suspected of setting fire to their own buildings to get the tenants out. You can catch some video from the Channel 2 site. P1010489.JPG P1010486.JPG P1010487.JPG P1010485.JPG P1010483.JPG

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200 Comments on "Helmers Restaurant"

9 years 9 months ago

Some call this Jewish Lightning.

9 years 9 months ago

Great pictures of sad event. It woke me up at around 5. Makes you realize how short life can be and what can happen if your not careful. Thank God noone lost their lives and it didn’t spread. Does anyone know if arson is suspected?

Richard Canuck
9 years 9 months ago

I am greatly saddened. This is the only place in Hoboken to get decent ales and brews, from people who run a place that caters to people who go to a bar to have a beer. I sure hope they re-open. We can’t all be sitting in the dateless and desparate ‘egg’n’sperm’ bars on Washington St.

9 years 9 months ago

What would be the reason for torching?? They’re condos on top!! The owners of the condos would get the insurance money.