Our founder John Bahrs, the son of a tall ship captain, and his wife Florence, had their beginning in Newark where they owned and operated a small neck tie manufacturing business. One year they had a robbery and their entire supply of silk was wiped out, causing the business to fold. They sold what equipment they had left and headed for a new endeavor. This brought them to Highlands where they purchased a beached houseboat being used as sport fisherman's motel as well as a rowboat rental business. The houseboat structure still remains.
On the day after the Bahrs' signed the contracts (1917), a severe Nor' Easter arrived and wiped out all of the rowboats. Consequently, they started serving meals to the fisherman staying aboard the boathouse motel. Jack and Flo did all of the cooking, putting out breakfast of fried eels, fresh eggs, and buckwheat pancakes; lunches and dinners of stew meat, fresh caught fish, and of course, Jacks famous clam chowder. Helping run the new operation were young son's John Jr. (Bud) , Al, Ken, and daughter Ruth.
The family worked hard together as the shore business grew popular. Eventually the beach house was jacked-up and the property was bulkheaded and the restaurant was expanded to handle more seafood lovers. The motel upstairs was converted to offices in the mid 1950's.
Soon after the expansion came the Great Depression. Though some tough times were had, seafood was abundant and so were the customers. Bud & his wife Peg kept a watchful eye over the restaurants growth. Customers arrived by boat, cars and at one time by train. At one time a branch of the Central Jersey Railroad came from Hoboken through Highlands and continued down the coast to Long Branch. Bahrs Landing was one of its stops. Some remnants of the train bridge can still be seen out of our windows.
Bud & Peg officially retired in 1974. The Restaurant has been owned by Ray Cosgrove with his son Jay, the 4th generation great grandson of the founders. Together they have expanded the facility to include Mobys Outside Deck & Lobster pound as well as the original marina facility. Our family and experienced dedicated staff have served over 10 million customers. Bahrs Landing is considered one of New Jersey's famous landmarks as well as one of the country's oldest family run restaurants.Genealogy Tip of the Day