By Friday, Oct. 26, Jeffrey's of Westfield will have completed its transformation from restaurant to haunted dining room, replete with costumed servers and chefs.
Jeffrey's manager Steve Williams said this is the seventh year the Central Avenue eatery has gone all out to celebrate Halloween. Williams said owner and chef Jeffrey Rust outdoes himself every year. Over the course of three Sundays, Rust spends approximately 30 hours working to create a spooky interior with a menu to match.
"As soon as October begins, customers start asking about it; they anticipate it eagerly," Williams said. "We all put a lot of work into it, especially Jeffrey, but we love to do it. It's something special for our customers."
With so many restaurants in downtown Westfield, it can be hard to set your place apart, Williams explained.
"Everyone does something special for the holidays in December but this is a niche Jeffrey has carved for the restaurant. This has turned into the busiest weekend of the year for us, bar none," he said.
It's just a coincidence that the holiday occurs during the season that highlights Rust's favorite cuisine: comfort food.
While the chef works with fresh and seasonal offerings all year long, the bounty of autumn really showcases his talents, Williams said. The Halloween theme also gives Rust, a fourth generation Westfield business owner, a chance to be creative in the kitchen.
Menu entrees include Silence of the Lamb Chops, Spooky Sesame Crusted Salmon, Wickedly Wild Boar Stew, Rest in Peace Risotto, Spine Quivering Quail, Creature Under the Sea Food Linguini and Broomstick Bouillabaisse.
Williams said desserts are created just for the occasion, too, particularly the Ghostly Graveyard on a Plate which is a perennial favorite. Other offerings such as apple crisp and a pear bread pudding will round out the dessert menu.
Jeffrey's will host a costume contest open to all on Saturday throughout the dinner service. The winner will receive a gift certificate to the restaurant. On Sunday, the eatery also hosts a children's costume contest. The winner will take home a $25 gift certificate to Learning Express.
Williams said initially some children can be a bit apprehensive about the decor but once they settle in, they really enjoy the spooky ambiance and the chance to have their dinner served by a waiter or waitress dressed in an Angry Bird costume.
"It looks great; it's a haunted house in the interior and Jeffrey does a mock graveyard outside," Williams said. "We love to do it and we have a great time."
Reservations are recommended, especially for large parties. Please call 908-232-4517 to reserve a table.