FORT LEE, N.J.– Wyckoff artist Mark Oberndorf worked for 16 consecutive days painting a 15-by-20 mural of the former Callahan's – and it left him craving the hot dogs that made the restaurant a Fort Lee staple.
“I was asking the [co]-owner [Leonard Castrianni] every single day for a hot dog," Oberndorf said.
He'll be able to chow down on May 23, when Callahan's makes it return to the borough. It will share space with Kocher's Meats at 1400 Anderson Avenue.
Oberndorf drew the mural freehand before painting over it with artist-grade acrylic paint – "and a lot of it," he said.
"That is the focal point. There's not going to be much for decoration," said Leonard Castrianni, an heir to the restaurant.
It wasn't the first time Oberndorf painted the establishment, but it his first large scale work.
The original Callahan's on Palisade Avenue, obtained by Castrianni's late father in 1950, closed 10 years ago.
"It's nice to bring it back to life," said Oberndorf, 55. "I can’t wait for it to open.”
"You come back to Fort Lee and people are happy to see us," added Castrianni. "I think we're going to be a success."
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