By DONALD WITTKOWSKI
First, he hoisted a tall glass of beer into a celebratory toast. Then he wields a pair of oversized scissors to cut the ceremonial ribbon.
“Let’s open this place!” shouted Tim Fox smiling Saturday morning while inviting the crowd inside yesterday’s Creekside Tavern on Roosevelt Boulevard in Marmora.
In fact, Yesterday was already open. But Fox has given the bar and restaurant such a dramatic makeover since buying it in February that it’s actually a brand new place just waiting for customers to check it out this summer.
Updated with a new bar, dining room, and menu, Yesterday’s has been transformed into a sports bar that pledges allegiance to Philadelphia’s sports scene.
Adam Modder, the vice president of operations who oversaw yesterday’s redesign, called it “a tribute to Philadelphia sports.”
Fox joked that the place looked so good because Modder spent so much money on renovations.
“I spent a lot of Tim’s money on it,” Modder replied, prompting laughter from the crowd in attendance for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Modder said yesterday’s facelift combines a sports bar vibe with a family atmosphere.
“Were excited. We’ve invested a lot in this place,” Modder said, adding that it was one of the most satisfying restaurant projects he’s worked on.
Step inside and eyes are immediately captivated by a series of flat-screen TVs – tuned to every sports channel imaginable – hovering above the expansive, redecorated bar. An illuminated “Fly Eagles Fly” sign dominates one of the walls.
The smell of new wood is felt in the renovated dining room. There is also a new kitchen and a new menu. Yesterday also includes an attached liquor store that was touched up as part of the renovations.
Fox, already well known on the Jersey Shore for its 2019 purchase and acclaimed renovation of the historic Deauville Inn in Strathmere, set out to renovate Yesterday’s without completely erasing its past.
“Preserving history is an important lesson,” he said in an interview. “I think a restaurant should be clean and crisp, just like an operating theatre. I wanted to keep the identity, but clean it up and tighten it up.
He retained the iconic Yesterday name, but gave the restaurant a new spin, nicknaming it Yesterday’s Creekside Tavern to reflect the rebranding.
Fox paid $3.5 million to buy Yesterday’s and invested an additional $1 million in its renovation. He thanked Jeff McIntyre and his family, the previous owners since 1976, for allowing him to buy the restaurant.
“It’s important to carry on the legacy that has existed for decades,” Fox said.
Fox also expressed thanks to its staff, community and customers. Upper Township Mayor Curtis Corson was on hand to show his support for Fox.
Uninvited, Fox often goes out of his way to praise his employees and highlight their importance to his restaurant’s operations. At the height of the pandemic, when the restaurant industry was all but shut down and millions of workers were laid off across the country, the Deauville hostel kept all its staff intact.
Fox invested $4 million in payroll and also set up medical coverage for its Deauville employees to help them survive the economic and health crises caused by the pandemic.
During his remarks at yesterday’s groundbreaking ceremony, Fox noted that the restaurant’s employees made him feel warm and welcomed as the new owner.
One of Yesterday’s familiar faces is bartender Ronnie Rowe, a 38-year-old employee. Rowe celebrated his 61st birthday on Saturday as everyone celebrated the grand opening of the restaurant.
Rowe said the transition from the old Yesterday’s to the new sports bar should be popular with patrons of all ages.
“It’s good for everyone, young and old,” he said.
Echoing Modder’s comments, John Streckenbein, another bartender, called the new Yesterday’s a family sports bar.
“It’s a different vibe. It’s a classic vibe. It’s more beautiful. Everyone should love it,” Streckenbein said.
For more information, visit Yesterday’s Creekside Tavern (yesterdaystavern.com), call (609) 390-1757, or see the restaurant’s Facebook page.