By DONALD WITTKOWSKI
First, he hoisted a big glass of beer in a celebratory toast. Then he wielded an oversized pair of scissors to cut the ceremonial ribbon.
“Let’s get this place open!” a smiling Tim Fox shouted Saturday morning while inviting the crowd inside to Yesterday’s Creekside Tavern on Roosevelt Boulevard in Marmora.
Actually, Yesterday’s was already open for business. But Fox has given the bar and restaurant such a dramatic makeover since he bought it in February that it is, in effect, a brand-new place just waiting for customers to discover it this summer.
Updated with a new bar, dining room and menu, Yesterday’s has been transformed into a sports bar that pays allegiance to the Philadelphia sports scene.
Adam Modder, the vice president of operations who oversaw Yesterday’s redesign, called it a “homage to Philly sports.”
Fox joked that the place looks so good because Modder spent so much money on the renovations.
“I spent a lot of Tim’s money on it,” Modder shot back, drawing laughs from the crowd on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Modder said Yesterday’s facelift combines a sport bar vibe and family-friendly atmosphere.
“We’re excited. We put a lot into this place,” Modder said, adding that this was one of the most satisfying restaurant projects he has worked on.
Step inside and the eyes are immediately transfixed on an array of flat-screen TVs – tuned into every sports channel imaginable – hovering above the expansive, redecorated bar. A lighted “Fly Eagles Fly” sign dominates one of the walls.
The smell of new wood can be detected in the remodeled dining room. There is also a new kitchen and menu. Yesterday’s also includes an adjoining liquor store that has been touched up as part of the renovations.
Fox, already well known at the Jersey Shore for his 2019 purchase and acclaimed renovation of the historic Deauville Inn in Strathmere, set out to refurbish Yesterday’s without completely erasing its past.
“Preserving history is an important lesson,” he said in an interview. “I think a restaurant should be clean and crisp, just like a surgical suite. I wanted to maintain the identity, but clean it up and get it tight.”
He preserved the iconic Yesterday’s name, but gave the restaurant a new twist by dubbing it Yesterday’s Creekside Tavern to reflect the rebranding.
Fox paid $3.5 million to buy Yesterday’s and invested another $1 million into its renovation. He thanked Jeff McIntyre and his family, the previous owners since 1976, for allowing him to purchase the restaurant.
“It’s important to carry on the legacy that has been here for decades,” Fox said.
Fox also expressed his thanks to his staff, the community and the customers. Upper Township Mayor Curtis Corson was on hand to show his support for Fox.
Without prompting, Fox often goes out of his way to praise his employees and stress their importance to his restaurant operations. During the depths of the pandemic, when the restaurant industry was all but closed down and millions of workers were laid off nationwide, the Deauville Inn kept its entire staff intact.
Fox invested $4 million in payroll and also established medical coverage for his Deauville employees to help them survive the economic and health crises caused by the pandemic.
During his remarks at Yesterday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, Fox noted that the restaurant employees made him feel warm and welcomed as the new owner.
One of Yesterday’s familiar faces is bartender Ronnie Rowe, a 38-year employee. Rowe celebrated his 61st birthday Saturday at the same time everyone celebrated the restaurant’s ribbon cutting.
Rowe said the transition from the old Yesterday’s to the new sports bar should be popular with customers of all ages.
“It’s good for everyone, both young and old,” he said.
Echoing Modder’s comments, John Streckenbein, another bartender, characterized the new Yesterday’s as a family-friendly sports bar.
“It’s a different vibe. It’s a classic vibe. It’s better looking. Everyone should love it,” Streckenbein said.
For more information, visit Yesterday’s Creekside Tavern (yesterdaystavern.com), call (609) 390-1757 or check out the restaurant’s Facebook page.