Sports rivalries can reach ridiculous heights, but few turn into grueling and personal legal battles.
Such has been the case for New Jersey club owner Lawrence Blatterfein, a loyal Yankees fan in the New Brunswick area whose only wish was to open a new bar called Buck Foston’s Road House.
Unfortunately for Blatterfein, when he attempted to secure a liquor license for his new venture in 2011, the city of New Brunswick and its mayor stepped in and put the kibosh on the entire operation.
According to Sue Epstein of The Star-Ledger, Blatterfein personally blames New Brunswick mayor James Cahill, “an avowed Boston Red Sox fan.” The club owner filed a suit against Cahill, the city and then-council president Robert Racine, accusing them of organizing the liquor license rejection and infringing on his constitutional rights.
Cahill denies these allegations, saying the name had nothing to do with the city council blocking Blatterfein’s application. He says it was a matter of public safety, as the bar would have been located at one of the heaviest-traveled intersections in town.
“Motorists and the surrounding neighborhood who travel the roadway will not be burdened with a night club and sports bar drinking establishment that doubles the occupancy of the former restaurant on the site,” Cahill said to Epstein. “[It would have been] located on a dangerous off-ramp connecting two major highways in New Brunswick.”
Indeed, why put a business in a place people frequent?
As for the establishment’s proposed name, you can make an argument for either way. If you consider the innuendo, the bar sounds like an unoriginal dive.
If you look at it a different way, “Buck Foston’s” sounds more like a cool, outdoorsy-themed pub. I picture a hunting lodge with stuffed game on the wall where patrons drink craft beer and smoke their own jerky, preferably at the same time.
There’s good news and bad news for those hoping to knock back a cold one at Buck Foston’s. The good news is Blatterfein won his case and was awarded $1.5 million for his troubles.
The bad news, however, is that Buck Foston’s will never come to be—not in New Brunswick at least. According to Epstein, Cahill maintains the property is not up for development.
"Cahill said the property would not be permitted to be developed today," Epstein writes. "[Cahill said] the restaurant, a gas station and a car wash that existed prior to the overpass that took Route 18 over Route 1 more than two decades ago were grandfathered into local ordinances."
All hope is not lost, however. Blatterfein now lives in Florida and says he intends to find a way to open a Buck Foston’s concept bar in a new location.
This is the American dream at work, people.
Buck Foston’s: Come in, or don’t. Just stop blockin’ the door, would ya?