Food & Drink

Famed Chef Marcus Samuelsson Opens New Restaurant Marcus B&P

d1de926504c57b927311_MarcusSamuelsson1200x800.jpg
Celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson at the grand opening of his new restaurant, Marcus B&P, on Halsey Street in Newark. Credits: Mark J. Bonamo
d1de926504c57b927311_MarcusSamuelsson1200x800.jpg

NEWARK, NJ - Acclaimed celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson knows what he wants and he knows how to get it.

He helped Harlem, long the hub of African-American culture, become happening again with a pair of successful restaurants that are contributing to the revitalization of the famed Manhattan neighborhood.

Samuelsson is rolling the dice by opening a new restaurant in Newark, now undergoing its own revival.

Sign Up for E-News

But for the culinary king of Harlem, coming to New Jersey's largest city is no gamble. Instead, it's a sure thing. 

"It's easy to be drawn to Newark for things that I've been drawn to - the diversity, the music, the Ironbound, to the amazing food here," Samuelsson told TAPinto Newark at the jam-packed official opening debut last week of Marcus B&P, located at 56 Halsey Street on the main lane of a downtown Newark, now exploding with new life after decades of dormancy.  

"We're just adding on in the neighborhood one more establishment that can help be here for the community," he said.

Judging from the jam-packed crowd at Marcus B&P, which had its soft opening several weeks ago, the arrival of a Samuelsson-run restaurant to Newark is not just adding on on more establishment to Halsey Street. 

Waiters balanced trays of Samuelsson's signature fried chicken, mini-cornbread and brick-oven pizza through a sea of people spilling out into the hall outside one of the restaurant's door.

The pedestrian walkway was transformed into a pulsating club, with a party jazz band driving crowd members to dance. The open bar serving craft cocktails such as the Newark Jump Off - a combination of ginger whiskey, shaved nutmeg, ginger infused syrup, and house-made sour mix - also helped let the good times roll deep into the evening. 

Several of those attending the Marcus B&P party—the restaurant name a reference to the Swedish concept of “back pocket,” an accessible and casual place—believe that the new dining spot will further open up Newark for after-5 p.m. fun. 

"This means we'll have a nightlife," said Marty Weber, owner of the Green Chicpea restaurant, just steps away on Halsey Street. "Places like this keep the stores open, and gives me the hope that I can also stay open later."

"We need vibrancy and nightlife," said Rosa Hyde, who works in the arts education department of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC). "We had it before downtown, but it's been a while. I'm hoping it's back." 

"Newark has been getting better, and it's been drawing in more people," said Jim Pise, who came down from his Clifton hometown to watch his son play in the jazz band. "This is a good sign of that happening." 

"I really feel like this is it for Newark. Someone like Marcus being here means so much to the community," said Andres Jimenez, who runs a branding and marketing firm in Newark that designed the logo for the new restaurant. "He brings an amazing energy and an international flavor to the city. He connects everything and everybody. That's why I'm here." 

The hype that halos around Samuelsson is backed up by facts that together make for a great life story. 

Both in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden after being separated from his family during his homeland's civil war, Samuelson, 46, became interested in cooking from an early age. He worked his way quickly up the gourmet ladder, becoming the executive chef of the celebrated Aquavit restaurant in Manhattan by the age of 24. 

During his tenure as executive chef, he received an impressive three-star rating from the New York Times, the youngest person ever to receive such an accolade, as well as his first of five James Beard Awards. An international restaurateur, he has 32 restaurant locations spanning the United States, Sweden, Norway, and Bermuda. 

His best known restaurants in America, Red Rooster and Streetbird, are both in Harlem and are devoted to imbuing African-American comfort food with a range of global culinary influences. A prominent example of this multicultural mix on the Marcus B&P menu is the fried chicken served with plantain waffles, Escovitch vegetables and hot honey. 

Samuelsson's surge into Newark is another part of his building an epicurean empire.

The building that he chose to place his new Newark restaurant is both iconic and symbolic: the recently refurbished Hahne & Co. building. The 1901 building is a landmark of Newark's storied past that was left for dead, then brought back to life as a repurposed multi-use building that combines living spaces with retail, academic and public spaces.

Marcus B&P faces the Halsey Street side of the building, while the upscale Whole Foods market faces the Broad Street side. 

The Hahne's building is directly across from the recently-renovated Military Park, which is now ringed by the NJPAC, a refurbished Robert Treat Hotel, the new Prudential Tower and a Starbucks coffee shop, with other development projects in the works. It is two blocks away from Rutgers-Newark, which just opened a new bookstore in the Hahne's building.
 
Marcus B&P's entry into this explosion of redevelopment led some of the opening night partygoers to pause and reflect about if what is happening to downtown Newark is revitalization, or gentrification. 

"There are different layers and levels to this which depend on income and accessibility to housing," said Gary Campbell, 59, a photographer and videographer who lives in the city's North Ward. "If you're doing well, this is not gentrification. It's the good part of Newark that's developing. But if you're uneducated, or you're homeless, or you live in one of the outer wards, it's the same story, basically. Nothing has changed." 

"Can these people in the outer wards of the city, can they get the jobs they need to afford living in Newark, including down here? Do they get the education they need to get those jobs? That's the biggest question," added Campbell. "And whatever's happening at those levels, it's not happening with the same speed and energy that you see in this environment here. This is real, but it's not real for everybody." 

According to native Newarker Jerry Gant, however, Marcus B&P's role in transforming the city is especially real for those who have been here for decades. 

"I'v seen how things rise and fall," said Gant, 56, who watched Newark burn as a little boy during the 1967 riot that almost destroyed the city's civic fabric. "This is more than a rise. This is something that has been germinating for 50 years for those who paved the way and sacrificed so we could see the manifestation of that rise. And here we are." 

Samuelsson said he is in Newark to stay. 

"This is a humble journey. We're here to take care of the food and to make people happy," said Samuelsson before he went back to watch over the kitchen. "To me, success is to open, then learn the neighborhood and be a part of it. This all takes time."

"This is not a New York City restaurant. This is a restaurant in and of Newark, from its staff, from its core, and its culture," Samuelsson continued. "It's all about your work ethic. Getting up in the morning is pressure. I work really hard to create something that people want to be around. Hopefully people can enjoy their community through our restaurant. We wouldn't be in Newark without this community. And now we're a part of it." 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Millburn/Short Hills

Millburn Recreation Accepting Memberships for Pool, Tennis and Golf

February 19, 2018

MILLBURN, NJ - The Millburn Township Recreation Department announced that it is accepting memberships for the township pool, tennis and golf facilities. The memberships are available to all Millburn Township residents and the applications are available online.

The membership application can be accessed at http://www.twp.millburn.nj.us/DocumentCenter/View/3258 or go ...

Millburn Police Investigate Theft by Nordstrom Employee

February 14, 2018

Press Release February 13, 2018

 

On February 6, 2018 Millburn Police Officer Royce stopped a 2009 Jaguar XKR as it exited the mall for having no front plate. The investigation led to the arrest of 50 year old Christopher Garibian of Morristown on an outstanding traffic warrant out of Morris Township. Mr. Garibian was placed under arrest, issued summonses, and released after posting ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 12

On this week’s episode of AtlantiCast, decade of excellence makes headlines, as Atlantic Health’s place on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For List leads off the newest episode of AtlantiCast. Also on this week’s show, check out the newest “hybrid” operating room at Morristown Medical Center and find out how Atlantic Health is helping local ...

AtlantiCast Medical Minute: Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center

On this episode of the AtlantiCast Medical Minute, we’ll take you inside the Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center, with the center’s director, Jason Lowenstein, MD.

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1M7euCp86-c

AtlantiCast Episode 011

Breaking Atlantic Health System news on this week’s AtlantiCast! Plus, find out why Morristown Medical Center is one of the best hospitals in the nation when it comes to recovering from joint surgery, see the newest center for fighting brain cancer and an Atlantic Health System red-carpet premiere!

 

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_6bc32732b6e5b46f0b03_f28fee57f494e6f4658c_10943684_896744083691504_4506070169799302056_n

Thu, February 22, 9:00 AM

The Cora Hartshorn Arboretum and Bird Sanctuary, Short Hills

Winter Break Camp at the Cora Hartshorn Arboretum ...

Education Green

Carousel_image_6bc32732b6e5b46f0b03_f28fee57f494e6f4658c_10943684_896744083691504_4506070169799302056_n

Fri, February 23, 9:00 AM

The Cora Hartshorn Arboretum and Bird Sanctuary, Short Hills

Winter Break Camp at the Cora Hartshorn Arboretum ...

Education Green

Carousel_image_4f8324cc0a175d48b73e_bbc4a05ee6841cf55043_martamcdowell-photo-by-marco-ricca

Sun, February 25, 2:00 PM

Greenwood Gardens, Short Hills

All the Presidents’ Gardens Talk & Book Signing ...

Home & Garden

Carousel_image_61e402c79011d14d92ba_b01211242c63812560cd_networking

Tue, February 27, 8:15 AM

Congregation Bnai Israel, Millburn

JBN Presents: Women's Networking in Millburn

Business & Finance

Millburn Township Announces NJLM Louis Bay 2nd Future Municipal Leaders Scholarship Competition

February 21, 2018

Millburn Township Mayor Cheryl H. Burstein is proud to announce the NJLM Louis Bay 2nd Future Municipal Leaders Scholarship Competition for high school juniors and seniors planning to continue their education after high school. Three state winners will receive a $1,000 scholarship and their essays will be featured in the New Jersey League of Municipalities magazine. We are inviting all Millburn ...

Paper Mill Playhouse Announces the World Premiere of 'Unmasked'

Paper Mill Playhouse (Mark S. Hoebee-Producing Artistic Director, Todd Schmidt-Managing Director), recipient of the 2016 Regional Theatre Tony Award, announced today the world premiere of UNMASKED, which will feature some of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most iconic work and the stories behind its creation, along with new music and memories from his extraordinary life and career, will open its ...

Millburn Township Republican County Committee Call for Potential Candidates

Registered Republicans interested in serving our community are encouraged to run for the single open Township Committee seat in the 2018 election.  The Millburn Township Republican County Committee invites prospective candidates to arrange an interview by contacting Chairwoman, Mary McNett, at 973-376-3345 or via e-mail at mary.mcnett @gmail.com.

Ms. McNett noted ...