Business & Finance

New Owner of Mompou Will Maintain Founder’s Traditions, Build on Them

(left to right) Steve Yglesias, founder of Mompou Tapas Wine Bar and Lounge, enjoys a glass of wine at the restaurant with new owner Tony Martinez.

When longtime Ironbound business and property owner Steven T. Yglesias opened the doors of Mompou Tapas Wine Bar and Lounge in 2005, the awning out front featured the phrase “redefine your Ironbound experience” along with its now familiar bull logo.

Mompou’s new owner, Tony Martinez, has promised to honor the traditions of the game-changing eatery on Ferry Street, while bringing new ideas for the restaurant’s future.

“We share a modern approach to traditional Spanish dishes,” Yglesias stated. “It was time for me to pursue other business interests, but also thought it was important to keep the brand name. I believe Tony has a tremendous vision for what I call Mompou 2.0, expanding on what we’ve done by bringing his many years of culinary experience that will benefit the business now and for many years to come.”

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“I look forward to building on the legacy Steve has established at Mompou,” Martinez added.

Like Yglesias, Martinez has a long history with Newark and the Ironbound District. He lived in the Ironbound for many years, and graduated from both the Wilson Avenue School and East Side High School. He also attended New York University and the Columbia Business School. As a young man, he worked at Forno’s Restaurant. “For me, it’s like coming back home,” Martinez pointed out.

Now a resident of South Brunswick, Martinez had a 20-plus year career as a sales and marketing executive for Warner Bros. in the Manhattan-based Warner Music Group Division, serving the last ten years as a Vice President. But his passion for the food and wine of Spain led to ownership of the number one recreational cooking school in Barcelona (, as well as his first restaurant in New Jersey, TAPEO in Hazlet, also serving Spanish tapas plus Portuguese dishes as well.

Martinez has launched “world class” flamenco performances every Sunday, building on the entertainment program Yglesias started at the restaurant. Martinez also plans to expand Mompou’s tradition of exhibiting the work of local artists.

He said menu selections will continue to evolve, along with the beverage program and wine curation. Look for a weekend brunch menu in the weeks ahead, plus monthly wine-pairing dinners and other special events.

“Look at the food scene in Barcelona,” Martinez noted. “Spanish cuisine, including tapas and other traditional foods, continue to evolve and that’s what we hope to showcase at Mompou.”

“We are pleased that Mompou, one of the stars of the Ironbound’s renowned dining scene, and the inspiration for many of our newest tapas-style restaurants, will be in the capable and creative hands of Tony Martinez,” concluded Seth A. Grossman, Executive Director of the Ironbound Business Improvement District (IBID). “The contributions of Steve Yglesias, as the founder of Mompou and as IBID President, have helped keep the Ironbound District in the spotlight as one of Newark’s and New Jersey’s top destinations for dining, shopping and entertainment.”

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