Walking into the B2 Bistro + Bar on Shrewsbury Avenue, you're treated to an eye-catching visual that includes the open kitchen and reclaimed wood that complements the industrial and rustic accents.
The place has a sophisticated vibe that makes you up your game.
But it’s down home, a place where everybody (if not at first) will know your name.
We sat down with Dan Ludwig, the General Manager of B2 Bistro + Bar to talk about the business and the impact they're making on the west side of Red Bank.
B2 Bistro + Bar initially opened in Red Bank in 2015 and after much success headed south to Pt. Pleasant in May of 2018.
Growing up locally where food was always central, Ludwig told us how his family would go out to places including Jimmy’s in Asbury Park and Mr. C’s in Allenhurst. “I started out as a dishwasher, tried things like manufacturing, website and graphic design but was drawn back to the restaurant scene. I decided I was going to go for it and see how much of an impact I could make in the business.”
Initially drawing in people through the way all successful restaurants do: word of mouth – “Good food, good service and good drinks, and of course our large parking lot." Being on the other side of town “Allows us to step out of the spotlight of downtown but still shine showing people that there is some really cool and trendy stuff going on the west side, and seeing that’s it’s safe and a great neighborhood” said Ludwig.
Thirsty? The establishment includes sixteen beers on tap that are rotated to keep taste buds buzzing. Ludwig has earned a Cicerone Certificate which educates hospitality professionals in order to elevate the beer experience for consumers.
The man knows his stuff. “It has become not only about the quality of the beer but the people selling it: What are the brewers about?, Are they part of the community? We’ll offer non-pretentiously, a craft beer or other spirits to our guests based on the knowledge of their present tastes.”
They’ll gently try and get you to expand your horizons, try new things, live a little!
Expertly crafted cocktails that will quench not only your thirst but your mind. B2 Bistro + Bar opened with the intention of becoming a cocktail bar.
And they’ve succeeded.
Ludwig informed us that “We’re highly creative with what we doing here. And just like with our food program, every cocktail has a lot of love and attention in fashioning it.”
Michelle Chaba, the Bar Manager said “I love it here. I started when they first opened the door and I treat this bar as my own. When the guests come in they always feel welcome, some of them even calling it Cheers.”
What makes the food exciting and delicious? One word: Chez.
Cesare “Chez” De Chellis, is the executive chef and partner taught by his Italian father a passion for food and the social aspect of how it brings people together.
Chez graduated from the Culinary Institute of America where he mastered the art of cooking learning from top NYC chefs. “He’s the epitome of an inspired chef and the heart of the restaurant. He's the creative force behind the food” said Ludwig.
B2 Bistro + Bar orders the highest quality from selected vendors. And it shows.
Ludwig explained that Chez employs the “scratch” kitchen approach. “When he orders in products he brings in the whole animal: the entire fish, the entire pig. Teaching is a really big part of our restaurant. Half of our line has worked in Michelin star restaurants and the other half are culinary students who are learning. He mentors these people in their career.”
Getting hungry? Nice starter selections from their Happy Hour menu include Smoked Chili Wings to a Spicy Meatball, bountiful lunch sandwiches, salads, charcuterie & cheese, and oven-fired pizza to name just a few.
Now let’s talk dinner. Selections you won’t typically find in other Red Bank establishments.
Start with a plateful of fresh, locally caught oysters and then maybe a “shareable” such as Potato Gnocchi or Charred Octopus.
Time to really eat. Go for something different such as the Hudson Valley Trout, Pan Roasted Moulard Duck Breast, the Slow Cooked Pig or Vongole, a concoction of local NJ clams, linguini, herbs and garlic.
You also can’t go wrong with their dry-aged beef burger that was voted as one of the “Top 10 in country” in USA Today.
Then complete with a desert: a choice of Heidi's Cheesecake, Malva Pound Cake, Salted Caramel Molten or Trio Ice Cream.
C’mon do it. Whatta ya want to live forever?
And don’t forget - plenty of parking in their own lot directly across the street.
Be sure to watch the terrific video: Coming Home: The Story of B2 Bistro + Bar
Come hungry, come thirsty and you’ll leave jingled, sated and satisfied at the B2 Bistro + Bar!
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