Chef Michael Merida Opens Montclair Social Club

Plus: Other openings and closings in Fairfield, Hammonton, Englewood, Jersey City and beyond.


*There’s serious culinary power behind the menu at Montclair Social Club, now open in the former Rascals Comedy Club space. Executive chef Michael Merida has spent time in the kitchens of Le Bernardin, the Fat Duck, and El Bulli, among others. Now at the helm of the Social Club in partnership with proprietor Jason Miller, Merida executes a globally-influenced, progressive, playful menu with an appropriately social, shareable vibe. The menu offers “Social Bites” and “Nibbles” as well as entrée-style “Grand Fare,” with globally-influenced modern American dishes that are seasonal and often local. Current offerings feature Satur Farms baby beets and Goffle Farms roast chicken. For an insanely whimsical dessert, go for the already Yelp-adored Zeppole Tree. Chef Merida recommends going for the all-inclusive “Chef’s Tour” tasting menu. Art deco booths and a sleek, polished deco vibe round out the club feeling—warm atmosphere, cool customers. 499 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair; 973-436-4200

*Not to be confused with Joe’s Crab Shack, Joe’s Seafood and Bar opened this past Sunday in Fairfield. The Cajun-style restaurant is still in the process of hiring, meaning things might be a little “in progress,” and the space has historically had trouble holding onto a restaurant, but so far the grand opening has good feedback on social media. 168 Passaic Avenue, Fairfield; 973-227-6888

*Sharrott Winery on the border of Hammonton recently opened a new, larger 7,300-square-foot facility. This next iteration of the winery incorporates the footprint of the original 2008 space, and was largely undertaken to increase capacity and avoid weather pitfalls that previously hindered winery events. A larger indoor tasting space accommodates 60 instead of 20 guests. There’s a new 90-seat wine bar indoors, and a heated patio with 90 seats located outside. The new space hopes to reflect New Jersey’s growing wine industry. 370 South Egg Harbor Road, Hammonton; 609-567-9463

In the Works:

*A July 16 application for liquor license transfer suggests that Lefkes, a Greek-style modern restaurant, should be opening in the former American Cut location in Englewood in the near future. Given the size and polish of the American Cut interior, it’s likely Lefkes will have an upmarket vibe and higher-end Greek menu The restaurant is owned by the New York City-based Kellari hospitality group. 495 Sylvan Avenue, Englewood

*Six26 Lounge and Rooftop is coming soon—any day now—to Christopher Columbus Drive in Jersey City. The LGBTQ restaurant and lounge welcomes everybody to what promises to be a haute late night hot spot (the design just might include a massive chandelier) that doubles as a chic food and drinks spot for any night of the week. Keep an eye on their Instagram for menu and decor teases. We’ll keep an eye on the opening for rooftop access while the weather is warm. 128 Christopher Columbus Drive, Jersey City; 201-706-2273


*Spain Restaurant on Market Street in Newark seems to be closed, or possibly in the process. The restaurant’s phone line is disconnected. A family illness had threatened to shutter the place entirely, although there were rumors the restaurant owner’s brother would take over. 419 Market Street, Newark; 97344-0994

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