—It’s ultra-early days yet, but sister spots the Ashford and Six26 both opened (grandly) with New Year’s Eve parties. More night-life than casual weeknight dining, they’re both in Jersey City, and Six26 specifically bills itself as an LGBTQ lounge and rooftop. The Ashford’s been quietly operating for a bit now, more of a ritzy food and drink spot complete with cozy-glam parlor room with prim chandeliers, dark woods and velour turn-of-the-century furniture. We’ll keep an eye out as more info becomes available—as 2019 starts chugging along—especially as regards food and drink specials, chef details if any are to be had, and special events that might give you an excuse to hit up a luxe, warm night spot in the midst of January and February chill. The Ashford, 145 Newark Avenue, Jersey City; 201-356-9956. Six26 128 Christopher Columbus Drive, Jersey City; 201-706-2273
—Off the Grill just opened in a small strip mall in Clifton, which might not sound like much until you realize they take their Mediterranean fast-casual fairly seriously. (It also means you don’t have to limit your take-out options for the night to the Boston Market two doors down.) The owners and chefs are all from Egypt, but the menu keeps it fairly simple and familiar, with sandwiches, platters, and salads with your choice of gyro, chicken, or falafel, as well as hummus and baba ghanouj. Off the Grill, 1348 Clifton Avenue, Clifton; 973-777-3780
–And an update on Mara’s Cafe & Bakery in Denville: Their soft opening was changed to January 4; 973-625-0901.
In the Works:
—The family behind Pizzeria Mandara in Wyckoff and Posa Posa in Nanuet (in Rockland County) are opening a third area restaurant (they have 11 in total, and decades in the industry). Mandara Ristorante and Pizzeria in West Caldwell will open in February, and the restaurant will continue the legacy of culinary homage to the family’s Italian hometown of Positano on the Amalfi coast. Look for Southern Italian inflection, wood-fired pizza, and seafood-rich specials from general manager and Positano native Pasquale Marino (they recommend checking out Pizzeria Mandara’s menu for a preview-by-proxy). The drinks program should be strong, with Luigi Tarantino, formerly of New York City’s Employee’s Only and Sofia steakhouse in Englewood, mixing cocktails and overseeing a selection of whiskeys and—less common, thus far more intriguing—grappas. Mandara Ristorante and Pizzeria, 40 Clinton Road, West Caldwell; no phone yet.
—Very much in the works, the team behind King’s Road Brewing Company in Haddonfield is planning an expansion (they just have to get a little thing called borough approval first…). The plan would be a move next door, to 131 King’s Highway (former 50-year home of Harrison’s), allowing for a larger tasting room and, most importantly, expansion of production for their seriously in-demand brews, which are already on tap at places like Central Taco & Tequila. If they get approval, construction will begin ASAP, though an actual opening could take place anywhere between May and September. King’s Road Brewing Company, 127 King’s Highway East, Haddonfield; 856-427-8100Click here to leave a comment