Bunny’s reopens with new sports bar feel
Seton Hall students searching for a sports bar around town; look no further than a mile down South Orange Avenue.
Bunny’s Restaurant, located around the corner from the South Orange train station, reopened its doors in December after undergoing its first significant remodeling since the 1970s.
The once two-room bar and restaurant has been opened up into one room with more of a sports bar feel.
Named after owner Leslie “Bunny” Pogany, the establishment has long been a fixture in the South Orange and Seton Hall communities.
The renovations completely closed the restaurant down over a four month period beginning on Aug. 19. A soft opening took place in December with final touches to be finished before a grand opening that has yet to be determined.
“The guy who did this is Michelangelo so he’s got to make everything perfect,” Pogany said. “Right now we are open for business, I’m itching though.”
Bunny’s changes started from the ground up; new Brazilian Cherry hardwood floors, all new furniture, a new bar, 18 flat-screen televisions, and several new windows. The bathrooms were completely remodeled and, in the summer, patrons can expect an enclosed garden in the back with benches to enjoy
Memorabilia adorns the walls throughout, including the “Blue Wall,” which is dedicated to Seton Hall athletics.
A fourth generation family-owned business, Bunny’s was a candy store prior to the prohibition period. After prohibition ended, it acquired one of the first 10 liquor licenses in the state. Since then it has developed into a more family-oriented place.
“Once the drinking age went back up to 21 we knew we had to get families in here so we moved to the pizza and Italian food,” Pogany said.
Despite this shift, Bunny’s has long been an attractive spot for Seton Hall students. According to Pogany, the inspiration for Bunny’s most recent change to more of a sports bar feel was from her sons.
“They wanted to make Hoboken come to South Orange,” Pogany said.
Bunny’s son Ryan Pogany, 26, has been working as a bartender since the day he turned 18 years old. He wanted to begin renovations earlier in the summer based off a bar in Hoboken that he had researched.
“Me and my brother, about the last year or two, we’ve been going into Hoboken and the city, going into other places to see how we wanted it to look,” Ryan Pogany said. “And we wanted to look like a sports bar.”
Despite the significant hiatus, response from patrons has been mostly positive.
“Out of the several bars located in South Orange, that was my favorite one,” Eric Bishop, Bunny’s patron and recent Seton Hall graduate said. “It took some getting used to but I definitely approve. It’s a lighter atmosphere and they have windows which are nice.”
The new look to the building has also given new excitement to the owners.
“I’m excited,” Pogany said. “It’s funny; one of the great things is to watch people’s faces. Some of my clientele that I’ve had for years, the look of surprise and shock on their face when they come in, they just love it.”
Those who have a missed the bar and pizzeria no longer have to wait.
“The renovations started on Aug. 19, one customer told me his life ended then, until we opened again,” Bunny Pogany said.
Most recently, Bunny’s hosted a special event for the Super Bowl this past Sunday.
All throughout the game, prizes were being raffled to all customers present.
Some of the giveaways included tickets to other sporting events as well as gift cards.
With the revelation to a new atmospheric feel, life has indeed returned to Bunny’s.
Zack Cziryak can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.