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

10/18/2007:

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.

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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
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This will turn into a “smokers lounge”:
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The Parents:
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Awesome Cuckoo clock!
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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!

4/25/2007:

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.”

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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).

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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.

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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

200 Responses

  1. strand says:

    Jay I am with you. I have also had 2 bad food experiences from them and I am entirely done ordering food at Helmers. Its just not good and really overpriced for what it is. The one thing I will do is sit at the bar and have a beer, if of course you can actually get a seat at the bar.

  2. Jay says:

    [quote comment=”50412″]Jay – did you speak to the manager?[/quote]

    I didn’t – I know I should have but I was with the family who I don’t see much and it was meant to be a nice afternoon out – I just didn’t want to create a scene (and I would have because my blood was boiling).

    I really don’t mind having a one off bad experience – I understand, it happens, but to have been treated this way both times I’ve been in here just makes me not want to go back.

    It’s a shame, because they have a great selection of beer – but then again, so does my local liquor store and they don’t have an attitude.

    For every action there is a reaction. This is mine.

  3. strand tramp says:

    thank god some of you are starting to drop off. i’ve been going there for +10yrs and they have always treated me just fine. i’ve been waiting for the newbies and the parents to stop checking out the “new place”…you people have been killing the atmosphere. take your mega-strollers and your little screaming poop machines and go back to the Elysian.

  4. strand says:

    It takes a special kind of person to be happy with a place that is messing up so you can have bad food to yourself.

  5. Jay says:

    [quote comment=”50449″]thank god some of you are starting to drop off. i’ve been going there for +10yrs and they have always treated me just fine. i’ve been waiting for the newbies and the parents to stop checking out the “new place”…you people have been killing the atmosphere. take your mega-strollers and your little screaming poop machines and go back to the Elysian.[/quote]

    Shall do buster – you can take your cr;p food – hostile wait staff – cr’p atmosphere and good beer and have it all to yourself.

    The more I go out in this town, the more I want to stay in.

  6. danzig says:

    [quote comment=”50449″]thank god some of you are starting to drop off. i’ve been going there for +10yrs and they have always treated me just fine. i’ve been waiting for the newbies and the parents to stop checking out the “new place”…you people have been killing the atmosphere. take your mega-strollers and your little screaming poop machines and go back to the Elysian.[/quote]
    My sister – who, by the way, is one of those stroller-pushing annoying hoboken mother-monsters – doesn’t go to her usual pharmicist anymore because she swears that the last three times she’s been to Helmers she’s seen him at the corner of the bar pie-eyed and foul mouthed. I told her, gee, I wish my pharmacist was a drunk so he might bounce me a free dozen percosets every once in a while.

  7. MauMau says:

    Not so long ago both Helmers and Elysian had their sad belly up to the bar regulars. Elysian has moved to another plain. Oh, how the crusty regulars at Helmer’s wept after the fire. Where were they going to hang and get their nightly fill. Now they’ve come back to pasture.

  8. derkland says:

    My wife and I have visited Helmers on several occassions now.
    We have been customers for many years and have been extremely disappointed by what they call a “come back” You should at least be as good, if not better, than you used to be.

    The food is not very good and it is tremendously overpriced. The attitude of the staff is appalling. They have been rude, at times they don’t look the cleanest and some guy there has some chip on his shoulder. Not the most friendly place to be at.

    It’s really sad that what once had a good reputation, and that we enjoyed going to on a regular basis, has been such a disappointment and let down.

    We will no longer give our hard earned money to a place with bad food, high prices and bad attitudes. It’s no longer like the good old day’s….

  9. CharlieAParker says:

    Finally got around to going back. The food was as I remember it, OK, edible, but nothing great or special but not horrible. Not what I would call truly authentic, but again an OK for the effort. The service was acceptable, if a little indifferent. I guess the one word review would be: meh.

    Some other observations, they have Kölsch on tap but don’t have the right glasses, where’s the fun in that? I don’t know if I like the new lighter interior, it’s just not really gemütlich. The typos on the menu are now different, I want my Lieber Kasse back. On a positive note, the Bratkartoffeln (pan fried potatoes) where unique, in a good way.

  10. Sandwich says:

    Anyone know when it FIRST opened (I’m talking about before the fire)

  11. wiskeytango1 says:

    what ever dawn sigs on liston to address al arrizzio this cup cake better be good with uis hiands .Let him man up before he calls the police..go dawn you are destroying the entire city..you dont have a clue…Liston go to the gym and work out..This mayor is totatly out of controll.. 😡

    • Hoboken17 says:

      I will give $100 to the first person who can explain why Whiskey found his below comment (for lack of a better word to describe it) relevant enough to post under a Hellmer’s story written in 2007.[quote comment=”201749″]what ever dawn sigs on liston to address al arrizzio this cup cake better be good with uis hiands .Let him man up before he calls the police..go dawn you are destroying the entire city..you dont have a clue…Liston go to the gym and work out..This mayor is totatly out of controll.. [/quote]

      • homeworld says:

        It’s called trolling. [quote comment=”201770″]I will give $100 to the first person who can explain why Whiskey found his below comment (for lack of a better word to describe it) relevant enough to post under a Hellmer’s story written in 2007.

        [/quote]

      • BklynHobo says:

        That’s easy…Helmer’s was one of the places they went to look for Arezzo so it’s obvious to put a comment here…I’ll take the $100 in cash thanks :)[quote comment=”201770″]I will give $100 to the first person who can explain why Whiskey found his below comment (for lack of a better word to describe it) relevant enough to post under a Hellmer’s story written in 2007.

        [/quote]

      • Hoboken17 says:

        To actually have the capacity to comprehend his comments and make that association…..you deserve it.[quote comment=”201780″]That’s easy…Helmer’s was one of the places they went to look for Arezzo so it’s obvious to put a comment here…I’ll take the $100 in cash thanks [/quote]

    • Irish says:

      PLEASE tell me your writing ability is not a product of the Hoboken School District :roll: [quote comment=”201749″]what ever dawn sigs on liston to address al arrizzio this cup cake better be good with uis hiands .Let him man up before he calls the police..go dawn you are destroying the entire city..you dont have a clue…Liston go to the gym and work out..This mayor is totatly out of controll.. [/quote]

      • escaped68 says:

        Old white trash is no dope and he is just toying with people, read the stuff he wrote in “hoboken stealing from its residents’ and you will see its all a game with him. He like to break balls that’s all.[quote comment=”201791″]PLEASE tell me your writing ability is not a product of the Hoboken School District

        [/quote]

  12. john14 says:

    Stinks when a business loses their touch and fades away. I’ll miss seeing the name each time I ride down Washington. Times are changin’.

  13. 9th Street says:

    Dang. That really sucks! I really liked the laid back and cozy atmosphere at the bar. Rarely got buybacks, but you didn’t need too many to catch a monster buzz. Too bad, the 11th Street intersection sure has changed for the worse now.

  14. showme789 says:

    I’ve been going to Helmers for more than 40 years and the quality of the food has never changed. What has changed is the quality of the people who frequent the bars and restaurants in this hell hole of a town. Unless you can get drunk and scream at the top of your lungs to converse with your friends, there is no interest in going to a restaurant. It’s sad that there are so few places left to have a decent meal and a quiet conversation.
    I’m sure we’ll find another sports bar or yuppie hangout in that location that will last a few years and then close in favor of whatever is trendy at the time.
    Sorry to see you go, Helmers. Just another casualty of transient Hoboken.

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