No sooner did the post beneath this one go live than the news came. There was a corporate temblor at Uno's of Metuchen which has necessitated the postponement of the February beer dinner. One of the after-shocks of the temblor was the news that longtime barman and beer dinner chef extraordinaire Moshe would be pulling up stakes and heading in a new direction.
I chatted with the venerable bartender recently, and I got the distinct feeling that this was not a decision joyfully made. "I love this place," said Moshe, and he said it with a conviction that allowed no room for doubt. In many ways, Moshe not only loved Uno's, he was Uno's, and for the thirsty or hungry beer lover, the site of Moshe and/or Lenny behind the bar was a sign that at Uno's, at least, all was right with the world. That world is coming to an end, however.
Where Moshe goes from here is anyone's guess, but with his considerable culinary skills, his knowledge of beer and how the former is affected by the latter, he would be a valuable addition to the staff of any brewpub or beer bar.
One of the Uno's regulars, a lover of good beer and a good friend of yours truly, Joe Skelly, penned quite a touching and apropos comment on his personal blog. Joe has given me permission to re-post his tribute to Moshe here. It's a measure of the impact a good barman can have on the psyche of pub-goers. Though Moshe is certainly not the only barman who has touched the lives and spirits of his customers, he is part of the proud fraternity of those who have done so since the first tavern's welcoming light beckoned to the wayward traveler. Thanks for the memories, Moshe, and good luck!
Our Inkeeper at Unos
by Joe Skelly
Sat at 9:16pm
Inns and taverns have waited for travelers along the roads of America for hundreds of years. Those who rode in wooden stages or on horseback or even a foot, would celebrate the sight ahead as they ended their day on the road. Thoughts of a good meal and a cup to drink and a bed would always bring a smile. The greeting of the innkeeper could brighten even the worst day of travel. Much has been written about the best innkeepers along the roads of revolutionary America by John Adams and Ben Franklin. Innkeepers were often the waiters and bartenders of the time and were held in reverence by wayfarers for their knowledge of the road ahead, their wit and conversation. They made you feel at home when you were not. So much has changed between then and now. The carriage houses that were usually about ten miles apart (which was a days travel back then) have been replaced by bars, restaurants and motels that seem to line our main roads every ten feet. We seldom need them for a place to sleep as our cars carry us over the miles to our homes. We do still rely on them for a bite to eat and a place to drink and a place to shake off the troubles of our day with our friends. Still at the center of this great institution is the faithful innkeeper. The best of them greet us with a welcome that still brings a smile to our face and helps us along in our travel down the bumpy road of life. Uno's will soon lose one of it's faithful innkeepers who has served many who read this. I still remember wandering into the bar in the late 1990's. I enjoyed the ale and the NTN trivia, but what kept me coming back for so long was the soul of Uno's. Part of that soul will depart after Moshe walks out from behind the bar for the last time. Join me on Thursday, February 4, 2010 at Unos Chicago Grill to celebrate the wonderful time that we have shared as we bid farewell to, Moshe, our faithful innkeeper.
Note: Moshe's last day at Uno's is set for Tuesday, February 9.