Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Atlas Public House Opening Next Week

The long-awaited opening of Atlas Public House, formerly Monty's, is almost here.


First, the backstory: In late 2012/early 2013, local resident Monty Melwani took over a former photo shop at 130 Newark Ave, just steps away from Grove Street. The initial plan was to turn it into an upscale sports bar. After several "Coming Soon" announcements and a few appearances at All About Downtown, everything seemed to quiet down. Then they announced some new partners had joined the venture, it was being renamed Atlas House, and was changing over to a lounge with an international tapas menu.


After several months of finishing up the space which has touches like dark leather and brick walls, getting permits, and finding and training staff, Atlas announced they're ready to open. Inside, there are two bar areas; the front one will feature 24 taps focused on self-distributing craft and New Jersey breweries while the back bar will be more intimate and feature custom cocktails by Max Goldberg, formerly of The Dillinger Room in New Brunswick. They also have a 200 bottle wine cellar with over 20 wines available by the glass.


The menu, created by the owners and Chef Kenneth Johnson from Gran Morsi in Manhattan, primarily offers small plates (though there are some main courses), many of which seem to have Middle Eastern/Asian influences although the whole menu pulls inspiration from all over the world - which tends to have wildly varying results in restaurants. I have to admit, I was a bit taken aback by the $8.50 pommes frites (Belgian fries) and the lack of vegetarian options, but overall, there are several dishes I'm interested in trying including the curried zucchini chips, grilled prawns, ricotta bruschetta and tandoori spiced lamb ribs.

Atlas will have their friends and family night this Saturday, then start their soft open to the public on Monday, 11/14 before introducing their entire menu on Wednesday, and celebrating their Grand Opening on Thursday, 11/17.

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