Michael Kunisch, the owner of the Mahwah Bar and Grill, Allendale Bar and Grill and Manchester Bar and Grill in Vermont, died Thursday, March 1 after a battle with cancer. Kunisch was 70 years old.
According to an obituary on the Van Emburgh-Sneider-Pernice Funeral Home website, Kunisch “died peacefully surrounded by his loving family [after] a brief but courageous battle with cancer.”
Kunisch was the third generation owner and operator of the AB&G. The Kunisch family opened the Mahwah version of the restaurant in 1992. Since then, Mike, his wife Bobbie, and their kids, Chris, Craig, Ken and Katie have become a well-known part of the Mahwah community.
Last year Mike, who lived in Allendale, and the rest of the Kunisch family, were awarded the Colleen Giblin Foundation Humanitarian Award for charitable work. The family has been involved with the Tomorrow's Children Fund, which works with children with cancer and serious blood disorders, the Mahwah Marine Moms, Rose Foundation of Haiti, Mahwah Little League, Mahwah Schools Foundation, The IronMatt Foundation, and the Giblin Foundation, which works to treat and cure childhood neurological diseases.
The family also founded ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ to raise money for a Jersey City school.
The funeral home posted the following obituary on its website:
"Kunisch, Michael Walter, 70, died peacefully surrounded by his loving family on Thursday, March 1st after a brief but courageous battle with cancer. Mike is survived by his true love Bobbie (nee Storms), his wife of 46 years. He was the proud father of Chris and wife Jean, Craig and wife Denise, Katie and husband Pete Ohnegian, and Kenny and wife Jamie. Also survived by dear brothers Bob and wife Karen and Art Kunisch; adoring mother-in-law Jean Storms and beloved Aunt Connie Yoke. He was the beloved "Mick" to 11 grandchildren, Brianne, Caitlyn, Thomas, Carly, Shaun, Allison, John, Andrew, Michael, Jackson and Hudson. His life and love revolved around them. Mike was a dear brother-in-law to eight of Bobbie's siblings and their spouses and a special Uncle to many nieces and nephews. Mike owned and operated the Allendale Bar & Grill since 1967. Because of his passion and dedication the AB&G became a Bergen County institution and gave way to the Mahwah Bar & Grill and Manchester (VT) Bar & Grill. By example, Mike instilled in his children that a restaurant's success is measured by its impact on its community. Mike and Bobbie's life work has always been helping others, among them family, friends, employees and many charitable organizations."
Visitation will be held on Monday from 2-9 p.m. at the Guardian Angel Church in Allendale. A funeral will be Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the Guardian Angel Church. Kunisch will be laid to rest at Maryrest Cemetery in Mahwah.
The Kunisch family is asking members of the community to “help continue [Mike’s] legacy” by sending donations to Sacred Heart School, c/o It's A Wonderful Life, 67 West Allendale Ave, Allendale, in lieu of flowers.