Smokey's experiments with drone delivery

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  • PHOTO BY JANET REDYKE Bruce Zaretsky (left) and Chris Lennon sit and chat in Smokey’s Brick Oven Tavern about their recent test drone delivery.

Smokey’s Brick Oven Tavern in Vernon has made news before as one of the most innovative restaurants in New Jersey and possibly the entire Northeast. The entire restaurant has been solar powered for years, receiving their energy from solar panels from a nearby field behind the restaurant.

Smokey’s provides free electric charging outlets for their customers with electric cars and at one time had their own electric car providing area deliveries.

Now advancing technology allows Smokey’s to experiment with delivery by drone.

“Call for a drone on your phone and get a pizza or a calzone,” quipped Peter Lyons Hall of Smokey’s Brick Oven Tavern.

Recently, the test drone flight took place with successful results. A freshly made boxed pizza was inserted in a wire container with a rope, tied to a drone. Using GPS and also powered by Smokey’s solar charging system, the drone took off carrying the pizza across Vernon Valley hills to a location above boaters in Highland Lakes. With a remote release system as the drone descends, it drops the pizza to the boaters, it then ascends and flies back to Smokey’s.

According to owner Bruce Zaretsky and manager Chris Lennon, the drone delivery was a success after several attempts.

“My 16 year- old nephew shot the video, however, there were many missed targets and the pizza wound up in the lake,” Zaretsky chuckled.

“Right now, drone delivery is still in the testing stage. It’s back to the drawing board for now,” said Lennon.

Both men agreed that drone delivery technology is definitely a futuristic happening for restaurants and Smokey’s will probably be one of the initiators down the road.

A YouTube video of the drone pizza delivery can be viewed by visiting or

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