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Somerville: Verve Style Reaches Milestone – Restaurant is 21 and Legal

Verve Restaurant, Bar & Bistro, 18 E. Main St., Somerville, is celebrating its 21st birthday. Credits: Rod Hirsch
Rick St. Pierre, owner and proprietor of Verve Restaurant, Bar & Bistro, is celebrating the 21st anniversary of the popular downtown destination. Credits: Rod Hirsch

SOMERVILLE, NJ - Reaching the age of 21 is a milestone in anyone’s life and it’s no different for Verve Bar, Restaurant and Bistro, the iconic Main Street landmark across the street from the historic Somerset County Courthouse.

Verve is the preferred gathering spot in downtown Somerville for the political elite, judges, lawyers, businessmen and women, professionals, artists, musicians, out-of-town visitors and a cadre of “regulars” from all walks of life, a loyal customer base drawn to the familiar confines at 18 E. Main St.

The cozy bistro serves a French-American menu; the tables are covered in white linen, and there is also sidewalk dining. 

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Built in 1905, owner and proprietor Rick St. Pierre lives on the third floor of the historic building at 18 E. Main St., the caretaker who has orchestrated something that has come to be known as “Verve Style,” a  “savoir faire” that continues to redefine itself, an ongoing evolution that extends itself to the menu, the signature specialty drinks and an appreciative clientele.

“We’re finally legal,” St. Pierre jokes, as he looks back on 21 years of serving food and drink, a journey that began on June 20, 1996.

Proud of its tradition and history, St. Pierre points out that the well-burnished 12-stool bar dates to Prohibition and that the first legal drink served in Somerville signaling the end of Prohibition was at that bar in that building, formerly known as the Court Tavern.

“’Verve Style,’ whatever that is, has been there from the very beginning,” said Mike Kerwin, president of the Somerset County Business Partnership. . “It’s a place you want to go to. There’s a sense of belonging, an extended family, not unlike a tavern, but he’s taken it to the next level, he’s added something special to it.”

Verve Style is contagious, variously described as edgy, urban, warm and friendly, imbued with a sense of family and belonging. St. Pierre said “it” was already here when he bought the building from John Kitchen. The Court Tavern was “the” place to be long before St. Pierre stumbled upon the building when he was searching for a suitable location to open his own restaurant.

Verve’s 21st “birthday” celebration begins Tuesday, June 20, a prolonged celebration that will extend through Saturday, June 24.

St. Pierre promises nothing raucous or rollicking, but a more subdued celebration amongst friends, with bar food and specialty drink specials, perhaps an ice cream cake or two.

That’s Verve Style.

Reservations are recommended and can be made online at opentable.com or by calling (908) 707-8655.

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