NUTLEY, NJ - When Nutley's Khris Reina learned that the Park Pub on Bloomfield Ave. was for sale, he assembled a group of friends to purchase and renovate the space, all with the goal of bringing the gastropub experience to town. His dining experiience, The Oakley, is named for Nutley resident and American Hero, Annie Oakley.
Renovations, taking what was essentially a runner up on Diners, Drive-In, and Dives, and creating a new brand new space is the easy explain.Who in Nutley has not experienced a home renovation of late? Renovating the concept of 'old man bar' and introducing the 'gastropub' concept is a whole other ballgame.
A gastropub, in the most simplest definition,is a dining establishment that serves both high end food and beer.
Gastropub is derived from the words gastronomy (love of the art or science of food) and pub. Nearly 25 years old, the term has evolved from its origins and has become so much more, even taking on uniquely American characteristics. The first gastropubs appeared in London in the early 1990s when young chefs who tired of the traditional pub grub started offering food of a much higher caliber. During the “cool Britania” era of Tony Blair, all things British found their way to America bringing the new Mini, Doctor Who, Coldplay, and Gastropubs to colonial shores. The most recognized of the early US gastropubs is the Spotted Pig in Manhattan.
Reina knew "Nutley needed a 'new something'" so he took on the challenge that would evolve into the Oakley.His goal is to create a food and entertainment driven experience. Just across from the host station, a "selfie wall" gives patrons the opportunity to stand in front of a bullseye, with a hat inspired by Annie Oakley's circus attire in Nutley.
For the dining experience, Reina and his team hired Jeff Galan who came to town from Andre's in Sparta. Galan goal has always been to "cook for people and make them happy." He brings a passion for creativity to the table. He shared that "if you don't do things you love, and don't try to learn anymore, you shouldn't be in the industry" Looking at the menu, his philosophy is evident on every page.The in-house team also includes General Manager Brian Smith.
This is Nutley, so there HAS to be a pizza oven. And while there are very familiar pies, one that stands out is called "Pere." Roasted pears, fresh mozzarella, smokey bleu cheese, and arugula create a new experience. There's even a pizza featuring short ribs. The pizza over is even used to roast the Peruvian Chicken Wings.
Gastropubs in New Jersey always have burgers, it may be a rule that burgers have to be on the menu, but gastroburgers are not ordinary in any way. The "Nutley Burger" features prosciutto, roasted peppers, fresh mozzarella, and balsamic glaze.
Beer is a mainstay of most gatrobpubs although traditional cocktails, and modern versions of the classics are a part of the experience. At the Oakley, craft cocktails featuring Tito's Vodka are expected to be a standout for patrons.
When The Oakley formally opens, it will operate seven days a week, serving lunch and dinner. There are 10 parking spaces alongside the building (on the On3 side) plus another 20 spaces in the lot that runs between the park and the railroad tracks.
The Oakley is located at 789 Bloomfeild Ave, Nutley NJ, 07110.
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