Orama in Edgewater, the two-story showstopper restaurant with stunning views of the Hudson River, has officially closed its doors. Orama has gone through several significant shifts over the course of its less-than-three-year lifespan—from its expensive build-out prior to opening on December 31, 2014 to the early departure of chef John Piliouris just eight months later, to the final attempt at revitalization with chef Bryan Gregg last November.
There’s no word yet as to just what signaled the end for the restaurant, which earned three stars from New Jersey Monthly in 2015 (when Piliouris was head chef), but considering the shorter lifespan for solid head chefs in the kitchen, signs point to something systemic, hindering Orama’s ambitions from the ground level, so to speak. Even with chef changes, the restaurant menu habitually blended a more casual, raw bar, “first floor” experience with upper-tier, Mediterranean-influenced modern dining on the second. Chef Gregg made the announcement informally on his personal Facebook page, calling it the space an “unreal location with so much potential.” Gregg had previously shut down his lauded Escape restaurant in Montclair prior to joining Orama in 2017. Orama, 595 River Road, Edgewater; 201-945-2020
In the Works:
*Chef Sheree Sarabhaya, who also owns Boon Thai Kitchen in Livingston, has closed Spice II in Montclair to make way for Kai Yang, her new Thai restaurant on Bloomfield Avenue. Kai Yang translates to “grilled chicken,” and if that’s not enough, a bright pink neon chicken makes it clear: this place is all about the bird. Organic, rotisserie chickens will be the focal point of Kai Yang, though Sarabhaya, who cut her teeth on the Thai street markets of Bangkok, hopes to imbue her menu and the roughly 40-seat space with some of the same color and vibrancy when the restaurant opens sometime later this month. Kai Yang, 345 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair; 973-509-2110
*Facebook posts with pictures of an elegant, creamy-white dining space (and a picture with their architect and designer Michael Groth) make it seem like Somos Latin American Kitchen & Bar is very much on the cusp of opening day. Somos, or “we are” in Spanish, is helmed by CIA-trained chef Juan Placencia, also at the helm of Peruvian BYO Costanera in Montclair; the restaurant promises to be pan-Latin, though carefully curated, with hints of Brazilian, Mexican, Caribbean, and the chef’s own Peruvian heritage co-mingled with global flavors (Italian, Asian, etc.). The space is 6,000 square feet, a transformation of the home of the now-closed Euro Lounge. Somos Latin American Kitchen & Bar, 185 River Road, North Arlington; 201-621-0899
*Central Taco & Tequila in Westmont has been long in the works, in a semi-perpetual “opening soon” mode in the former home of The Irish Mile and the 22nd restaurant for the PJW Restaurant Group. Rumblings now say the restaurant, which has a Yelp site (no reviews!) will officially open in November. A pop-up Beer Garden at Haddon Square in July featured taco classics (chicken tinga, al pastor) as well as churros and micheladas, among other teases of the full menu. Central Taco & Tequila, 350 Haddon Avenue, Westmont; No Phone Yet.Click here to leave a comment