—Due Mari in New Brunswick is slated to close on December 22. Part of the Altamarea restaurant group, the restaurant focused on regional Italian with an emphasis on seafood and was among the favorite New Brunswick restaurants for many locals (who expressed their frustration via Reddit, among other places). The restaurant group also owns Osteria Morini and Nicoletta Pizzeria in Bernardsville and rumor has it they’re focusing their efforts on those more successful spots. There is a silver lining, though: Due Mari will be holding a “Clear the Cellars” wine promotion, with bottles going for half-price Sunday through Thursday until the closing, while supplies last. Due Mari, 78 Albany Street, New Brunswick; 732-296-1600
—According to a December 1 Facebook post, the Merchantville location of McFarlan’s Market is closing on December 14. (The Collingswood location had already closed on August 15 and is in the process of being converted into the chef-driven culinary concept by chefs Joe Muldoon and James Liuzza.) Owners Pete Burgess and Janet Stevens ran both markets, with the Merchantville location lasting for a decade before this year’s closure. Per the Facebook announcement, the couple “did not take making this decision likely,” and community responses seem just as heartfelt. No word yet on what will replace it. McFarlan’s Market, 27 South Center Street, Merchantville; 856-662-1400
—It’s been two years in the making, but Red, White & Brew Beer Co. in Audubon is open. The exact Grand Opening date is December 14, but the taps are working—they held a soft opening on November 30—so things should kick into gear fairly quickly and (here’s hoping) smoothly once the doors open on Saturday. The brewery, started in 2016 by Erik Hage, Stephen Picone, and Chris Bauman, is housed in the former home of the Audubon National Bank, with a tidy roster of four “standard” and four “seasonal” beers on tap. Among the standards are an East Coast IPA and a smooth English Porter, though the seasonal Roth IPA (a rye IPA with flecks of spice and citrus and that round ruddy rye flavor) is calling our name. Red, White & Brew Beer Company, 100 West Merchant Street, Audubon; no phone yet.
In the Works:
—Cajun seafood mini-chain Hook & Reel already has one New Jersey location in West Orange, but they’re coming hard for the Garden State, with another spot set to open at the Twin City Shopping Center in Jersey City soon and several more to follow (in Union, Linden, Kearny, and Elmwood Park). The chain does New Orleans-inspired Cajun-style seafood primarily, with fish and shellfish cooked up simply and doused in your choice of sauce with varying heat levels and sides like corn on the cob, Cajun fries, and (for some reason) boiled eggs. You can also do fried seafood by the basket or a classic Po’ Boy sandwich, and there will very likely be a liquor license and signature cocktails and beer etc. to wash it down. No word on exact opening date. Hook & Reel Cajun Seafood & Bar, 2 Garfield Avenue, Jersey City; no phone yet.
—Also coming to Jersey City, and likely making a larger splash despite being based on a land animal, is the Committed Pig, a much smaller, Jersey-based self-described “burger and pancake house” chain that actually deals in brunch hedonism at its best, e.g. the Brunchwich, a bacon egg and cheese on French toast, or the Good Morning burger with pork roll and fried egg. (They also do lunch and dinner.) The restaurant, which comes from business partners Tony Monteiro and Jerry Rotunno, has three other locations in Summit, Morristown, and Manasquan. The Jersey City location, set to open sometime early next year and will feature a strong beverage program (watch out for a decent wine list), because pork roll is pairable, too. The Committed Pig, 1 Exchange Place, Jersey City; no phone yet.Click here to leave a comment