Down on the Corner

by Erin Feith, Research Assistant
May 21, 2024

The brick building at the corner of Franklin Place and Speedwell Avenue has served Morris Plains under many different names for over a century. Today locally famous Arthur’s Tavern, the structure has been the site of generations of restaurants where residents and visitors alike could gather. While its surroundings have changed over the years, the restaurants at that location have consistently remained a fixture of the community.

Postcard printed by Elzerman of his establishment (far right)

Its story begins in 1917 when Heinrich Elzerman purchased the corner lot from local blacksmiths, the Tunises, and moved their shop down the road, constructing a new brick structure in its place. No stranger to the restaurant business, Elzerman was a former chef for Holland America and head of the doctor’s kitchen at Greystone. Since 1907, he had leased a restaurant space on Jacqui Avenue from Dan Merchant (later Morris Plains’ first mayor) and gained loyal patrons who followed him to the new location. Elzerman’s Restaurant, as it was named, offered home-cooked meals, a confectionery, and ice cream parlor that further enticed locals of all ages.

The tavern’s shuffle boards in the 1950s when the building was The Brook Tavern.

Elzerman sold the property to another restaurateur, Ezra Cohen, in 1928. Renamed the Morris Plains Restaurant, it advertised daily dinners for 90 cents from noon to 9 o’clock in the evening, including special mention of its steak dish for $1.25. Like its predecessor, Cohen’s establishment became the gathering place of local groups and events, such as the Morris Plains Business Men’s Association and the community Halloween block party. Following a remodeling in 1941, a partition was erected between the dining room and bar, while two shuffleboards were added for patrons’ use.

In 1957, the restaurant, by then known as the Brook Tavern famous for its pickled green tomatoes and peppers- was purchased by Arthur McGreevy. Renamed one final time to Arthur’s Tavern, it still serves as a cornerstone of the Morris Plains community to this day.  

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