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New ownership team set to preserve The Cranbury Inn’s historic past, create a bright new future

The Cranbury Inn has been a mainstay of the Cranbury community for over 200 years.

Under new ownership, the historic and iconic restaurant, bar and event venue is set to fully reopen by the end of October, announced Bill Arnold, managing member of the new ownership team, in a press release on Oct. 4.

“We are proud to assume stewardship of this magnificent gem,” Arnold said. “It is a privilege to uphold the rich legacy of the Inn and to provide the community with a relaxing, updated venue to enjoy.

“We welcome you, your family, friends and co-workers to enjoy a delicious meal in our spacious dining rooms, celebrate a special event in one of our private dining areas or relax in our reimagined bar or comfortable and inviting lounge area. All of these options offer a familiar nod to the past while welcoming the future,” he added.

Many of long-time staff have remained and some exciting new team members have come on board.

By popular demand, the menu has been updated with many new delicious offerings and, of course, will continue to include many beloved selections, according to the press release. Lunch and bar menu items, and daily specials, will be available.

“It is a very exciting time for the Inn,” Arnold said.

In advance of the long-awaited grand re-opening, the new owners of the historic building have taken the opportunity to further preserve the site’s rich heritage.

Repairs and updates necessary to maintain the structural integrity of The Cranbury Inn have been made.

“Rest assured, we are prioritizing preserving as much of the beloved charm of the building as possible,” noted Arnold, “while making repairs and upgrades necessitated by time and changing times.”

As mentioned, The Cranbury Inn’s bar area has been upgraded and features an extensive wine list, more than two dozen wines by the glass, 24 beers on tap, a full-service bar and more, according to the press release.

Another surprise is its new retail store: NJWineSeller at the Cranbury Inn. NJWineSeller branded stores are New Jersey’s premier destination for wine, spirits, beer, gourmet food, gifts and more. With independently owned locations in Green Brook and Cranford, NJWineSeller’s latest destination will reside in the rear legacy banquet area of the Inn, according to the press release.

The new store will feature the same great selection, service and customer experience for which the NJWineSeller brand is known.

All items served in the new bar area will be available for purchase in the new retail store, which is slated to open in late October – early November — shortly after the restaurant is fully reopened.

“Expect to be impressed by our dedication to our customers as well as our outstanding selection of wine, spirits and craft beer and much more,” Arnold said.

Once reopened, the Cranbury Inn experience — a meld of old and new — is sure to be a favorite gathering spot for lunch, dinner, celebrations, or even a relaxing drink or two, he said.

History of the Cranbury Inn

The Cranbury Inn has been functioning as a place to eat and drink since the 1750s with many famous people coming through, according to its website.

It was an alleged stop on the underground railroad. It was also speculated General George Washington’s troops under the leadership of Alexander Hamilton and Le Marquis de Lafayette traveled along the main thoroughfares and may have stayed at the Inn during their travels.

What is known is Madame Chiang Kai-Shek, first lady of the Republic of China at the time, and her entire entourage stayed at the Inn in April 1943. The Inn also saw the likes of the Prince and Princess of the Netherlands and the entire City Council of Moscow stayed at the Inn in 1995, according to its website.

Physicist Albert Einstein came to the Inn frequently to drink beer with and speak German with his friend and Inn owner Adrian Van Ravesteyn. Actress Brook Sheilds came to the Inn when she was attending Princeton University. Paramount Pictures filmed scenes from the movie “I.Q.” at the Inn featuring the inside and outside of The Cranbury Inn as “The Old Geneva Café.”

Actresses Meg Ryan and Susan Sarandon and Actors Walter Matheau, Lou Durning and Tim Robbins and producers and directors of the movie were at The Cranbury Inn for four days, according to the website.

In the 1980s, the Cranbury Historical Society was successful in having Cranbury placed on The National Registry of Historic Places. The Cranbury Inn is part of the historic district.

The Cranbury Inn is at 21 S Main St., Cranbury. For more information about the history visit https://www.thecranburyinn.com/cranbury-inn-history.

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