Whether you're a Jets or a Giants fan—or any football fan for that matter—Miami Mike's was the place to be for the preseason game between the two New York teams last weekend.
Several hundred fans came out Saturday to celebrate the start of the NFL season at the popular East Hanover establishment, rated the top sports bar in the state by NJ Monthly in 2010, for its 10th annual NFL Kickoff Party with a free barbecue, drink specials, live music and games.
Party-goers even got the chance to meet N.Y. Giants Super Bowl XXV MVP O.J. Anderson, who signed autographs and hung out with the crowd. Lindsay Klein from from WDHA 105.5 was also at the event.
Although this was only the first barbecue this year, owner of the restaurant "Miami Mike" Minervini said it is definitely not the last, as he plans to have more throughout the football season. Rain, snow or shine, Minervini says he's excited to cook out more this season.
These cookouts, which all offer free food and drink specials, is his way of giving back to his devoted customers.
"Fans travel from many miles to come to Miami Mike's for these games," Minervini said. "Some travel from South Jersey, some come from New York state, so I want to make it more exciting to offer them some more fun stuff this year."
In addition to the barbecues, Minervini has a new lineup of football specials and promotions during the week, including a new menu.
Starting Sept. 10, Miami Mike's will have a special Touchdown Taco Bar for every Monday night football game. The special will feature an "all you can eat" taco bar from 7 to 11 p.m. for $10.
Thursday's new special, which Minervini says is one of his favorites, is a special NFL carving station for Thursday NFL games. Starting Sept. 13, the restaurant will offer fresh hot roast beef and fresh mozzarella sandwiches with hot gravy.
On every college football Saturday, the restaurant will have $3 Coors Light draft specials, and on NFL Sundays it will feature $3.50 Bud Light drafts anad play all games in high definition with 50 TVs and big screens.
On non-football days, the restaurant will give customers a free personal pizza with the purchase of any 23-ounce draft. There will also be a happy hour on Fridays from 4 to 7 p.m.
With a successful kickoff party with more than 250 attending, Minervini is excited for customers to enjoy the rest of the season at his restaurant.
"The big screens are all in, the new projectors are all up, we're ready to go," Minervini said. "For the fans that travel, I want to make it exciting for them. And by doing all these promotions and events, that's my way of giving back to them."
Although football season is probably the most popular time of year at Miami Mike's, Minervini stressed that he streams sports events year-round. The restaurant saw large crowds for the Devils and Rangers hockey games through June, the NBA finals, and now they are getting ready for the Yankees' push for the playoffs.
While Minervini takes pride in his devoted customers, he's also excited to meet some new faces this year.
"We're looking forward to seeing some new fans," he said, "some new faces come into Miami Mike's for the first time and really have that true sports experience at Miami Mike's."