Here’s Susan Bloom’s latest look at some key openings around the Garden State. Have a restaurant or food outlet opening, closing, or other key development to share? Email your news to [email protected]
Stone Harbor Pizza Pub, at The Reeds at Shelter Haven (pictured at top)
9601 Third Avenue
On May 4, the Reeds at Shelter Haven in Stone Harbor opened Stone Harbor Pizza Pub, the fifth dining concept for the 37-room, boutique, year-round luxury resort and wedding venue located by the beach and Shelter Haven basin. The new bay-front pizza destination serves a variety of specialty pizzas and pub fare along with 12 local craft brews on tap in a contemporary rustic setting that features whitewashed exposed brick, distressed woods, industrial finishes, and seating for roughly 100 indoors as well as on an outdoor deck. The Reeds resort also opened its Water Star Grille on May 15 and taqueria-style Buckets Margarita Bar and Cantina on May 5 and will launch its Wafflewich Ice Cream and Waffle Shop (featuring the renowned waffle and-ice-cream sandwiches made famous on Coney Island) on June 26. “As The Reeds heads into its fifth summer, it seems only appropriate to welcome our fifth dining concept to Stone Harbor,” said Ron Gorodesky, managing director at The Reeds. “We’ve had incredible success with the culinary program at the resort and Stone Harbor Pizza Pub brings yet another style and experience. We look forward to welcoming hotel guests and the community to one more spectacular bayside dining outlet.”
675 Route 1 South, Suite 8 (at The Plaza at Woodbridge)
On May 19, Woodbridge welcomed the official launch of Bar Louie, a popular chain known for its shareable plates, flatbreads, salads, sandwiches, burgers, signature dishes such as its Spiked Bulleit® Bourbon Burger, Buffalo Chicken Tatchos, and Voodoo Chicken Sandwich, and extensive selection of beers, wines, and hand-crafted cocktails, including its Stoned Fruit Sangria (combining flavored vodka, sparkling rose, citrus fruits, and juices topped off with prosecco) and “Me and Julio” margarita. With over 125 locations in 29 states, the opening represents Bar Louie’s second New Jersey location, following the opening of their first Garden State location, in East Brunswick, last December. “We’re excited to join the Woodbridge community and offer a gathering place where local friends and neighbors can come together and relax,” said Bar Louie Woodbridge Director of Operations Pete Ciaramella. “We look forward to welcoming future patrons and taking the bar experience to new heights for all who enjoy premium cocktails, local brews, great food, and hanging with friends.” Spokespeople for Bar Louie, which was founded in downtown Chicago in 1990 and is headquartered in Addison, TX, report that the launch of this new location has brought 75 jobs to the area.
501 Route 17 (Southbound side)
Following the success of its two-year-old location in Manhattan, Eons Greek Food For Life will open a second location in Paramus on May 25. Promoting the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet, the quick-casual eatery features build-your own salads and dishes founded on choices of pita or rice, a protein such as chicken, steak, lamb, or pork, and sides, including hummus. The restaurant reflects the partnership of chefs George Georgiades, formerly of Varka (Ramsey) and John Piliouras, formerly of Orama (Edgewater), Nisi Estiatorio (Englewood), and Sofia (Englewood).
313 Union Avenue
Following more than nine years of success enjoyed by Mambo Tea House on Rutherford’s Park Avenue, the popular Cuban restaurant has just launched a cozy satellite eatery named Mambo Empanadas across town on Union Avenue. Officially opened the week of April 24, “Mambo Empanadas is a smaller place that emphasizes empanadas stuffed with beef, chicken, fish, cheese, and mushrooms as well as popular American fillings like mac ‘n cheese, cheeseburger, and margarita pizza,” said owner CiCi Nunez. “We’ll be featuring the crispy empanadas that we offer at Mambo Tea House as well as unique empanada varieties including sweet corn with Mexican cheese and onions, broccoli with cheddar and mozzarella, and Nutella and banana.” The 30-seat restaurant, decorated with palm-tree-themed wallpaper, also features such dishes as Latin-spiced rotisserie chicken, Caribbean ceviche, and Dominican specialties. “Mambo Empanadas captures a little bit of everything,” Nunez said.
Punto Rosso Ristorante
6 Park Street
On May 12, Montclair welcomed the launch of Punto Rosso, an Italian restaurant featuring authentic dishes that are 100% gluten free, as well as a wide variety of small-batch, freshly prepared items that are based on original family recipes. “Our goal at Punto Rosso is to accommodate our customers’ unique dietary needs by serving them delicious Italian food that doesn’t compromise on taste,” said co-owner Duke Carlino, whose family has also owned the popular La Riviera Trattoria in Clifton for over 30 years. In addition to the use of non-GMO, organic ingredients imported from Italy, fresh house-made mozzarella and pasta, and 100% organic, grass-fed meats, signature menu items include the Pork Chop Punto Rosso, a 12-ounce pork chop served in a balsamic fig reduction with toasted potatoes and vegetables, stuffed shrimp with crab meat served in a white wine sauce and a touch of marinara, and the La Romina salad, which features grilled romaine, shaved grana padano, pancetta, and house-made Caesar dressing. The restaurant also serves desserts baked by Carlino’s company, Duke’s Gluten-Free Desserts, which are featured in restaurants across the tri-state area, and has just begun selling packages of their special family-recipe, gluten-free pasta to customers. Working with chef/co-owner Ryan Vargo, Carlino and his sister Maria, the restaurant’s manager, hold official certification from the Gluten Intolerance Group, an industry leader in the certification of gluten-free products and food services.
341 W. Main Street
On May 3, brothers Carlo and Fred Procaccini opened Saladworks in Freehold, marking the second Monmouth County site for the popular franchise (the first is in Holmdel) and the latest addition to the quick-casual restaurant’s roughly 30 New Jersey locations. The brothers, Princeton natives, had owned two locations of Primo Hoagies before investing in Saladworks—a national franchise with more than 100 locations in 15 states which offers a variety of fresh signature and build-your-own salads as well as soups and sandwiches—and hope to open additional Jersey-based locations of Saladworks soon.
Surf City Bistro, at the Surf City Hotel
800 Long Beach Boulevard
Opened on April 28 under the new ownership of New Jersey natives and proprietors Greg and Colleen Gewirtz, the historic, 120+-year-old hotel’s dining and bar areas have been fully renovated and the hotel’s revamped restaurant, the Surf City Bistro, has been outfitted with all-new kitchen equipment as well as an energetic new chef and kitchen staff. “Our new menu features fresh seafood, steaks, chicken, pasta, burgers, sandwiches, salads, bar pizzas, soups (including clam chowder, French onion soup, and a soup of the day), and various appetizers and desserts,” said Greg Gewirtz. “In addition to the restaurant and pub bar, our separate Clam Bar is legendary on LBI as a popular destination from happy hour through about 10 p.m., where we offer drinks and a variety of fresh clams, shrimp, oysters, mussel dishes, and other seafood appetizers.” The Surf City Hotel complex also includes The Beach CIub, another separate bar area which is open from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. and features live music throughout the summer, as well as the Surf City Liquor Store; together, the hotel’s restaurant, pub area, Clam Bar, and Beach Club seat over 450. “Our hope and goal is to make our entire Surf City Hotel complex a fun, comfortable, and family-friendly place—with great food—that carries on the legacy of this historic site and continues to build wonderful memories for visitors for years to come,” Gewirtz said.
Tacoria Mexican Street Kitchen
367 Bloomfield Avenue
Following the success of Tacoria Mexican Street Kitchen’s flagship location in New Brunswick, which opened in February 2016, the restaurant is set to launch a second location, in Montclair, this summer. “We bring authentic Mexican cuisine with a twist,” said co-owner Sean Patel of the restaurant’s unique grilled burritos, wrapped and grilled quesadillas, tasty nachos, fried golden avocado, and other popular menu items. “Our sauces are all made in-house and our food represents the height of freshness,” he said, noting the absence of any kind of freezer on the premises. The new Montclair location, set to open in the former home of Euro Barbecue and Elevation Burger, will seat 60 to 80 people. “Montclair is a true foodie destination and we hope to bring something new—a different and fresh take on Mexican cuisine—to the Montclair community,” Patel said.