By: Paige Britt, Follow South Jersey Intern
BARNSBORO, N.J. — On March 19, 1776, John Barnes went to the judges of the Gloucester County Court to license his home as a tavern. Located at the intersection of five main roads in Mantua Township, Barnes said, “An Inn at this said house is much wanting, as there is not one on said road nearer than eight miles on one side and five on the other.” And so, the Barnsboro Inn was born.
John Barnes’ tavern license required him to keep at least two spare beds for travelers and provide stabling for their horses. In his honor, the community changed its name to Barnsborough, which was shortened to Barnsboro.
The now-restaurant has been called many things, such as the Spread Eagle, the Crooked Billet Inn, and the Barnsboro Hotel.
While the Barnsboro Inn has entertained many guests, one of the most notable was Teddy Roosevelt in 1912. Then called the Barnsboro Hotel, a campaign rally was held for Roosevelt at the tavern.
In its long history, it stopped providing a bed to travelers and instead focused solely on food and drink.
Now under new ownership, the Barnsboro Inn maintains its historical charm with a few modern touches.
In late 2021, Al Scuderi became the new owner of the Barnsboro Inn. Although it has not been his for long, he has a detailed history with the restaurant.
“I was a patron here for many, many years, probably around 10 at least,” Scuderi said. “I was even here when I was younger with my family. When I got older, I would start coming here as my local bar, and I love the place. Actually, I would always say to people that I want to buy the place. I like being a host and entertaining people, and I can do that on a bigger scale here.”
When asked what he loves about Barnsboro he responded, “Quite a few things actually, I’ll give you the top three.” Scuderi went on to explain. “The history of it, being that it’s the oldest operating tavern in New Jersey, how many people can say that they own that? I love the people that are here, the clientele and the people that come here. When people come for the first time, they comment on how friendly everyone is. I love this place from hanging out myself as a regular patron.”
As for his plans for remodeling, Scuderi emphasized the integrity of the restaurant’s history.
“Everything will center around the fact that I do not want to change the original history of it. I want to bring it back to where it would have looked back then. So not changing anything, but freshening it up,” Scuderi commented.
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