15 February 2018

Amwell Farms Inn - Capri's - et. al. (1933 - 2010)

John Trimmer was a huckster. The fifty-seven-year-old from Three Bridges Road in Hillsborough was described as such in the 1920 US Census - which noted that he sold fish and eggs. Traditionally, a huckster is a person who sells small items either door-to-door or from a stall or small store. In Trimmer's case, his store was a roadside stand at the corner of Route 31 (now Route 206) and Hamilton Road.

20 April 1932 Courier News
By the mid 1920s Trimmer's sons John. Jr. and Alfred had joined the business, expanded into trees, shrubs, and nursery items, and called the business Amwell Farms. In 1933, with the repeal of Prohibition just around the corner, New Jersey loosened the laws on beer sales, and many of Hillsborough's long dry eateries applied for liquor licenses. It was probably around this time that the Trimmer brothers sold their store to Willard S. Hafner who remodeled Amwell Farms into Amwell Farms Bar and Grill.

15 June 1938 Courier News

The business took off. By 1936 Hafner was offering live music on Friday and Saturday nights, promising, "Good Food at Reasonable Prices", and advertising in the classifieds for a "Middle-Aged woman (white) for kitchen work in bar and grill. Sleep in. Wages $30 a month and board." In December 1949, Hafner sold out to John Bennett and Edward Lyver who continued the tavern under the name Amwell Farms through the mid 1950s.

Matchbook circa 1958

In 1957 the restaurant was sold to Peter and Mary Pilat who officially changed the name to Amwell Farms Inn. Around 1961 the tavern was purchased by Salvatore Coffaro - of the well-known central Jersey pizzeria family - and his brother-in-law Michael Mastrobuono. 

3 October 1963 Courier News
It wasn't long before the pair changed the name from Amwell Farms to Capri's - which better represented the Italian-American cuisine.

9 May 1969 Courier News
After their retirement in 1973, the establishment retained the Capri name for three years - continuing to offer live music and dancing on Saturday nights. Couples only!

14 February 1975 Courier News
In October 1976 the name was changed to Hillsboro Inn.

2 October 1976 Courier News

Hillsborough residents will remember that at the time that the Hillsboro Inn went out of business in the early 1980s, it had been operating as a Go Go bar.

22 July 1982 Courier News
The site was revived in 1987 by the Charlie Brown's restaurant chain, and was very successful in Hillsborough until the entire company went bankrupt in 2010.

16 March 1997 Courier News
Today, as the corner of Route 206 and Hamilton Road approaches its centennial as a prominent place of commerce, a Chase Bank sits on the site.

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