By Kait Kelly
According to owner Mary Barnes, the HOB Tavern has truly been the Heart of Bordentown for more than 60 years.
Barnes attributes much of the tavern’s stability to her staff and customers.
“I have a really good staff,” Barnes said. “Honestly, I’m really lucky. I even have customers who help me when they can, like with the Cranberry Festival and everything. I just have customers like that, who have become friends and are just so helpful. They’re really good to me.”
The HOB Tavern strives to stay active in the Bordentown community. You can find the HOB Tavern October 6-7 at the Cranberry Festival, on October 12 at the Haunted Hayride, on October 19, the HOB Tavern is set to host its 3rd Annual Breast Cancer Fundraiser.
Barnes has also partnered with Bordentown Home for Funerals since they’ve been around to do Senior Citizens Luncheons at Christmas time. She’s also been involved with the Downtown Bordentown Association since she took over the tavern 11 years ago, and she’s part of the Mercer Chamber of Commerce.
Because community is so important to Barnes, she likes for her business to be viewed that way.
“One of my tag lines is ‘where friends meet friends,’ and it’s so true,” she said. “A lot of people come here in groups to meet their friends. I like that.”
Barnes said most of the community knows the HOB for its Heart of Bordentown Favorites and wings.
The Heart of Bordentown Favorites are made up of sandwiches that have been on the menu since Barnes took over the tavern, and they are all named after famous people who have lived in Bordentown City. Barnes claims the Thomas Pain and Bonaparte are a few of the tavern’s best sellers.
There are even a few local celebrities in Barnes’ eyes that have made the menu. She has a sandwich named after her daughter, Sami, and her neighbor, Nate.
“That’s a big thing now; everybody wants to be on the menu,” she said. “I named a special after the mayor’s daughter a little while ago. She came in and gave me a big hug.”
As for the HOB’s wings, Barnes said they are probably the best in the area. The HOB Tavern now offers multiple sauces for wings, like peanut butter and jelly, whiskey, honey BBQ, buffalo and buffalo garlic parmesan.
“You kind of have to talk people into trying peanut butter and jelly wings,” she said. “But once they do, they always think they’re so good.”
The HOB Tavern offers a wing sampler from 4-6 p.m., so people can try out the different sauces they offer. Customers also have the option of having chicken tenders with the sauces in the place of wings. The HOB also has started a “sauce of the month.” October will feature the Hawaiian Ginger sauce.
The latest thing for October at the HOB will be the vegetarian menu, including lightly fried tofu bites that customers can have with any of the sauces. The HOB will have at least 10 new items that will be all vegetarian.
Barnes said the HOB tries to price things so people can come in and eat there a couple nights week without it being a stress on their wallet.
“We’re always looking for something new and creative to encourage people to come in,” she said.
The HOB Tavern now offers Sunday brunches.
Also new at the HOB is Chef Brenna Jobes. She is now cooking dinner specials Thursdays through Saturdays from 4-9 p.m.
“We usually stick to home cooking,” Barnes said. “We’re not a French restaurant or an Italian restaurant. We do like a cowboy steak, BBQ chicken and ribs, beef brisket, meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Very home-cooked meals.”
Barnes said her menu suits her customer base. She said she has people who come in two or three times, if not every night, for dinner.
“We really want to show people what we can do,” Barnes said. “I’m proud of this place.”
The HOB Tavern is located at 146 2nd Street in Bordentown City. It is open Mondays through Thursdays from 11 a.m. to midnight, Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 2 a.m. and Sundays from noon to midnight. For more information, call (609) 291-7020 or go online to hobtavern.com.