Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Jersey City Shake-Ups

There were quite a few restaurant changes and shake-ups in Jersey City over the holiday season. I'll be going a little more in-depth on some of these later, but for now, a recap:

The Kitchen at Grove Station has closed temporarily, announcing in late December they were undergoing some repairs and changes. Shortly after that, it was further announced Executive Chef David Viana and his staff had departed The Kitchen, but that the creative directors and management team were remaining and that the restaurant would reopen early this year with a new chef at the helm. To date, no announcements regarding who that new chef might be or what the anticipated date of reopening is have been made.

Bell + Gray, the restaurant that took the place of Carrino Provisions, also made an announcement shortly before Christmas that they would be closing their doors for good after just a little over a month in business. While it didn't come as a major surprise, the decision did seem to come abruptly, made shortly after and in fact taking the place of their holiday hour announcement. In the post (no longer available on social media), they did make mention of possibly opening the space again at some point, but specified there were no plans to reopen any time soon and that Bell + Gray itself was permanently shuttered.

Raval closed briefly for renovations before New Year's, removing the mosaic booths in the front for more functional seating along with some other interior changes and in that time, also redid their menu. They removed their brunch options and streamlined the dinner menu to a much more simplified list of tapas offerings. There are rumors the chef de cuisine, Ed Radich, has left the restaurant but these aren't verified and his name is still mentioned on the site.
(Raval's new interior)

Shortly after New Year's, Park & Sixth Gastropub announced they too were temporarily closing for renovations, citing too much confusion and similarity between the menus and locations of Park & Sixth and Park & Sixth Gastropub. They stated they would reopen in late January under new name "The Draper", a new concept inspired by Dorothy Draper. The front of the restaurant will remain a pub serving full lunch and dinner menus, but the rest of the space will become a luxury cocktail lounge with cocktails and finger foods. In addition, they'll be adding a game room downstairs. No menus have been released as of now.

9 comments:

  1. Union Republic Restaurant and Third and Vine are better than ever!!! So much deliciousness there to be had.

    ReplyDelete
  2. No shock that Jersey City Eats is thrilled that Bell+Gray/Provisions went out of business. They wear that hatred on their sleeve for that poor restaurant.

    That being said, I've never seen such a TOXIC RESTAURANT CULTURE as Jersey City. Its impossible to open a restaurant [on time; on budget] in this city. There are cities 1/2 the size of JC that have 2x as many, and more "sane" retaurants.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not thrilled at all that Bell+Gray went out of business. I didn't even get a chance to try it. I wasn't excited by their menu, but I was still interested. When I say it wasn't surprising, I mean because of the extremely mixed reports I read and the fact that it was pretty empty almost every night. No hatred at all on my part. I was really disappointed with how Carrino turned out and I had hoped a lot of those issues were going to be resolved with Bell+Gray.

      As far as it being a toxic restaurant culture, I don't know if we're the worst out there, but it certainly isn't easy which is to our own detriment. The city regulations and inspection process is absolutely horrible. I haven't run into a restaurant owner yet who didn't face major delays because of the city. It's a prohibitive environment which will inevitably affect the restaurants that come here. I actually have a lot more to say about this, but not in a comment. Look for an upcoming post in the next couple of weeks - I'd be curious to know your thoughts.

      Delete
  3. Park & Sixth Gastropub has one of the worst menu's in the city, and its lunch business is all but dead.

    Restaurants closing for multiple weeks, leaving tens of thousands of dollars on the table is so foolish; if the food is good and service is adequate, who cares how it looks inside. Dropping another $150K in renovations doesnt fix bad meals. The most successful restaurants in the city are ho-hum interiors. The food and menu at the York Street Tavern was much better even if it was dumpy.

    The other poster was right, it seems "toxic" that our city has garbage restaurants that can't sustain themselves culturally or operationally.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As far as food/interior goes, I think it really depends on what kind of dining experience the patron is seeking. That said, food is definitely the priority for me and you're right, a lot of the best food around is in places where the interior is not the primary focus.

      However, I think renovations can help a restaurant out, sort of like a total refresher - but they do have to be willing to re-examine and work on the menu along with it since that's usually where the problem starts.

      Delete
    2. What about renovations within 4 months of a place opening [and failing]? You really think that's the specific refresher they need?

      Delete
    3. The Gastropub has been open for a couple of years.

      However, I was actually referring to renovations in general and why a restaurant might decide to do them, not any specific place.

      Delete
  4. I'm pretty sure the Kitchen at Grove Station is closed for good. I'm friends with one of the staff, they haven't heard from the managers in 3 weeks, even after they reached out asking when they were re-opening.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I sincerely hope that isn't the case although I do think it's difficult to come back from a sudden closure. I'm also sorry to hear the staff hasn't heard anything; that's not fair to them. Thanks for mentioning.

      Delete