By Amanda-Kathryn (aka RamblesofRed)
I am so happy to announce that Spring has finally came to us! With the weather finally improving,
and the school semester ending, I now have some time to enjoy the bar scene for a bit and catch up with some friends. My first stop for some RnR? The Orange Lantern in Paramus. I was able to have a sit down with
24-year employee Brenda Brundage before karaoke started, to talk a little about the history of this awesome bar,
and what has kept it going for so long.
Starting off as a lit lantern and a dream, The Orange Lantern wasn’t always the pub we all know and love.
Purchased by Grandfather Herman with money from his business Paramus Dairy in 1933,
the land began as a dirt road on 17 before becoming a gas station and package store. Fun fact! During the
prohibition era, the store secretly sold moonshine to its patrons before finally converting into a bar and
restaurant once prohibition was concluded… the rest was history. Since then, the OL (as locals call it), has been passed down from generation to generation. Once Grandfather Herman died, son Eugene “Bus” took over
the business before retiring in 1980 and handing over the reins to his son and current owner, Gene Faatz.
Gene’s hope is to keep the tradition going by handing the torch to his grandson Stephen, but only time
will tell what will become of this historic bar once Mr. Faatz retires.
As I looked around, it wasn’t hard to see the history that has come in and out of this place. Firstly, if
you check out the dining area, you’ll notice a big frame of photos of patron’s past on the wall next
to you. It is awesome to see how many people have come in and out of this place, and how much
it has changed over the years. As I continued my tour, I noticed some NASCAR car hoods hanging on the
wall and became curious on their significance to the establishment. Brenda explained to me at one point,
the Orange Lantern used to sponsor race vehicles. If you decide to pop in, ask her to see the neat memorabilia,
and even check out the race décor above you. It’s something you don’t see every day and adds a little
something extra when grabbing some food and drinks with pals. Another cool aspect is that one table includes
seats from actual sports stadiums! You’ll get the best spot in the house for watching live entertainment
by the stage, and a nice view of the big screens surrounding the huge rectangle bar.
One thing that hasn’t changed besides the history this pub brings is the sense of community it instills in both its patrons and surrounding neighbors. To keep people coming back, Orange Lantern believes in,
“keeping things as they were from years ago.” According to Brundage, “This is Paramus, this is home.” She, along with the rest of the staff, also believe in going above and beyond with their service. I came to know that
this philosophy didn’t just pertain to serving drinks, but also charity work as well. Some active projects include
Toys for Tots and Pig Roasts/Block Parties to raise money and donations for groups in need.
It’s not hard to see why this bar maintains such a good presence. They plan on continuing to volunteer
and stay active in their communities by helping whatever, and whenever they can.
On my visit Wednesday, I could say that this is one of the friendliest staffs I have come across in the bar scene.
I needed a good meal, and my waitress was more than helpful in suggesting the perfect starter.
I began with the chili appetizer, which came with tortilla chips on the side. The chili was thick, not too spicy,
and topped with melted cheese (mmmm so good). It’s worth a try if you are looking for a hearty starter that
isn’t the typical fries plate. After that epic starter meal, my stomach needed a rest! I caught up with my friend,
John Joseph of Precision PerformX Enterprises, as he was prepping for his karaoke show that night.
Now if you are karaoke junkie like me, you MUST check out Orange Lantern’s karaoke night on Wednesdays.
John’s sound and song selection is amazing, and the Orange Lantern staff is great at keeping the drinks flowing
all night ensuring a good time for all.
To conclude my evening, I decided to try one last food item that I’ve heard A LOT about. This item
is the famous Faatz Burger. Now you may think…”another burger, big whoop.” Well, let me say you
would be wrong. Coming with sautéed mushrooms and onions, bacon, cheddar, lettuce, tomato and fries,
this burger is worth its reputation and then some. It is piled high and every meat lover’s dream.
Don’t forget to give this a try in between karaoke sets, you won’t regret it!
Upon writing this article, I learned two important lessons from the Orange Lantern: I learned about history
and how important it is for a bar to remember where they came from to get where they’re going,
and the importance of a bar staying good not only to its patrons, but its community as well.
The Orange Lantern’s rich history, charity work, and awesome staff and nightlife events continue to make it
one of NJ’s most welcoming and honored establishments, as well as a staple to its surrounding community.
If you are looking for a place to hang your hat for the night, stop in for their famous Faatz burger and thriving entertainment. You won’t be disappointed, and thanks for the awesome time Orange Lantern staff!