MONTCLAIR, NJ - A crowd of supporters packed the room at the grand opening of De Novo European Pub on Sunday. Located at 275 Bellevue Ave. at the Upper Montclair train station, the restaurant has gone through extensive renovations.  

Restaurateurs Demetri Malki and Marika Villik of Table 8 and D'metri's have a loyal group of supporters who packed the restaurant on the first day. Many have expressed that they have been waiting for the restaurateurs to open another restaurant. Malki said, "All of these people are like family to me. It is an awesome feeling, the time that we have spent together..."

Owner Malki greets each guest as if he has known them for a lifetime. Having been in the restaurant business over 25 years, Malki's winning personality in combination with food selection has earned him and Executive Chef, Marika, loyal supporters.

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Malki said, "I have been in Montclair for 15 years and I have had two other restaurants prior to this. After I sold Table 8, I wanted to spend time with my two little kids because the restaurant business has you putting in 15-hour days. Once I finished building my house and got my family situated, it was time for me to get back in the game. This is what I love."

De Novo, Latin for "beginning again," is an appropriate name for Malki's new endeavor, which comes four years after selling the critically acclaimed Table 8 to concentrate on building a house in Westfield for his growing family and joining the service team at the much-lauded Osteria Giotto in Montclair. 

The rustic, casual bar boasts menus with house-made breads, small plates, charcuterie, flatbreads, salads, burgers, house-made pastas, entrées and late-night bar bites. De Novo also offers a selection of tempting housemade desserts created by Pastry Consultant Risa Magid.  The gorgonzola-stuffed dates wrapped in bacon, made famous at D'metri's, have been added to the new menu.

Malki says that he wants De Novo to be known as a family-friendly restaurant. "I want it to become a family neighborhood restaurant where we can cater to everyone, whether you are a vegan, vegetarian, we cater to everyone." He continued, "Now that I have two little kids, I am more kid-conscious where you can come and bring your family.  If you want pasta, if you want a burger, there's something for everyone."  

Housed inside a historic former train station, De Novo has been updated with rustic touches such as reclaimed barn wood tables and Provençal linens. Banquettes lining the dining room may be configured to accommodate parties of varying size, while the lounge features bar and communal seating. Sound-absorbing panels have also been added to minimize acoustical noise. 

"I'm modeling De Novo after the kind of places I want to go after a long day at work," says 41-year-old Malki with enthusiasm. "Delicious food that appeals to everyone, fairly priced and presented with hospitality. I see commuters grabbing a bite and drinks with the family after the train pulls in; I also see a late-night scene with folks hanging out enjoying summer sangrias and signature cocktails."

Small plates range from $6-$15; entrées priced up to $20. Lunch and dinner will feature the same menu; special brunch menu offered on Sundays. De Novo will be open noon to 10 p.m. Sunday - Thursday and until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with a late night bar bite menu offered until midnight daily.