Montclair, NJ ... The NY Metro area's legions of passionate barbecue fans are stoked for an ambitious new addition to the scene. Bluff City BBQ, slated to open in October on Midland Avenue in Montclair, will feature Memphis-style 'cue and much more.


Bluff City BBQ Owner/Culinary Director Scott Hermo has been preparing for this nearly his entire adult life. A former Wall Street bond broker/trader, the Nutley-born Hermo grew up with

Bluff City BBQ smoker

a passion for food and cooking, eventually training at the International Culinary Center in NYC, completing its Culinary Entrepreneurship Program. The business plan he created as part of the course is now coming to life in the former Osteria Giotto space.

 

Hermo earned his barbecue chops by catering his own client events and business tailgate parties, eventually working with some of the genre's stars. In November 2015 he traveled to southern Illinois to train with the legendary Mike Mills (17th Street Bar & Grill) and more recently helped Champion Pit Master and author Andy Husbands open The Smoke Shop in Cambridge, Mass. 

 

Says Hermo proudly, "This project is the culmination of years of research and planning. My Ole Hickory Pits are almost ready to start kicking out classic-style Memphis ribs and pulled pork, as well as other BBQ standards such as beef brisket, pulled chicken ... plus a few other surprises."

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Memphis-style barbecue is traditionally pork-focused, dry-rubbed, smoked low and slow and served with a sweet-sour tomato- and vinegar-based sauce on the side. While this will be the focus, Bluff City's tagline -- "The Taste of Memphis with a Touch of Soul" -- promises much more. The menu will also feature a selection of Southern fish, shellfish and soul-food dishes along with healthy, updated spins on traditional side dishes and Southern-themed desserts. 

 

Vegetarians will be pleased to find plant-based, soul-inflected options as well. 

 

Local Chef Patrick Pierre-Jerome (Yves, Albert's, Hat City Kitchen) has been named Executive Chef and will incorporate his trademark Southern/Creole flair throughout.

 

The food isn't the only handcrafted element at Bluff City BBQ. Scott Hermo sourced and built most of the furniture and decor himself, salvaging antique wooden doors and lumber from in + around Montclair, refashioning them into tables and benches (pictured); and reclaiming tin ceiling panels, molding and porch posts that appear throughout the 90-seat space.

About Bluff City BBQ

Bluff City is the nickname for Memphis, Tenn., which sits on the bluffs above the Mississippi River ... and Memphis is the distinctive style of barbecue served at the new Montclair BYO, along with "a touch of soul." Owner/Culinary Director Scott Hermo's first restaurant venture features dry-rubbed, slow-cooked meats with house-made, sweet-tart sauces accompanied by seasonal sides. Family-friendly, casual, funky and fun, Bluff City BBQ is BYO and will serve lunch and dinner seven days a week, with weekend brunch to follow.