New Brunswick’s Stage Left Marks A Milestone

A lineup of special cocktails and dinners celebrate the restaurant's 25th anniversary.

Today—and again on Friday, May 19—we celebrate Stage Left, the landmark restaurant in New Brunswick that this month marks its 25th anniversary.

Founded by Mark Pascal and Francis Schott, who met while students at Rutgers, Stage Left in 2005 spawned Catherine Lombardi, one flight above the ground floor restaurant, and is the proud training ground of some of New Jersey’s brightest food stars.

We’ll talk more about that next week, but right now we want to clue you in on a few of this month’s anniversary festivities at Stage Left, which will feature the culinary crafts of executive chef James “J.R.” Belt.

Saturday, May 20, from 4:30 to 6:30 pm
Gamblers, Whiskey & Flying Horses: Cocktails, Stories and The Preakness with Dale DeGroff
Dale DeGroff—a.k.a. King Cocktail, the father of the modern cocktail renaissance and a gifted raconteur—helped Schott and Pascal put together their first cocktail program in 1993. That made Stage Left one of the first bars in the country to join the contemporary cocktail movement. Price: $49 per person, not including tax and tip. But it does include watching The Preakness: post time is 6:20 pm.

Friday, May 26, from 6:30 to 9 pm
Beefsteak Extravaganza
The beefsteak dinner has a long, lusty tradition in New Jersey: men only, much meat eating sans utensils, free-flowing beer. To mark its “official” Memorial Day weekend anniversary, Stage Left’s New Brunswick-style Beefsteak will be a stand-up affair that Schott and Pascal have dubbed Carnage and Beverage.

Stage Left this night will debut a new steak menu, featuring beef, lamb and boar as well as side dishes. There will be no silverware. As they used to say of the old beefsteaks: “Don’t wear your best suit.” Aprons will be provided. House wine and beer is included. All are welcome. Cost is $99 per person, not including tax and tip.

Sunday, May 28, from 4 to 9 pm
Memorial Day Lobster and Crab Crustacean Celebration
On this holiday weekend Sunday, seafood and seating at the sidewalk cafe (weather permitting) will be in the spotlight. Lobsters will be $25 or two for $40. Also on the a la carte menu for the day: soft-shell crabs, crab cakes and lobster rolls.

Hudson Whiskey will provide the evening’s libations, which will feature Stage Left’s own version of a New York Julep. Guests also will receive a complimentary tasting of all Hudson’s whiskies. From 5 to 8 pm: music by Cancion Franklin, a former maitre d’ at Stage Left.

Reservations for all Stage Left anniversary celebrations can be made by calling 732-828-4444 or by e-mailing [email protected]

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