Essex County News

Famed Chef Marcus Samuelsson Opens New Restaurant Marcus B&P in Downtown Newark

d1de926504c57b927311_MarcusSamuelsson1200x800.jpg
Celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson at the grand opening of his new restaurant, Marcus B&P, on Halsey Street in Newark. Credits: Mark J. Bonamo
d1de926504c57b927311_MarcusSamuelsson1200x800.jpg

NEWARK, NJ - Acclaimed celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson knows what he wants and he knows how to get it.

He helped Harlem, long the hub of African-American culture, become happening again with a pair of successful restaurants that are contributing to the revitalization of the famed Manhattan neighborhood.

Samuelsson is rolling the dice by opening a new restaurant in Newark, now undergoing its own revival.

Sign Up for E-News

But for the culinary king of Harlem, coming to New Jersey's largest city is no gamble. Instead, it's a sure thing. 

"It's easy to be drawn to Newark for things that I've been drawn to - the diversity, the music, the Ironbound, to the amazing food here," Samuelsson told TAPinto Newark at the jam-packed official opening debut last week of Marcus B&P, located at 56 Halsey Street on the main lane of a downtown Newark, now exploding with new life after decades of dormancy.  

"We're just adding on in the neighborhood one more establishment that can help be here for the community," he said.

Judging from the jam-packed crowd at Marcus B&P, which had its soft opening several weeks ago, the arrival of a Samuelsson-run restaurant to Newark is not just adding on on more establishment to Halsey Street. 

Waiters balanced trays of Samuelsson's signature fried chicken, mini-cornbread and brick-oven pizza through a sea of people spilling out into the hall outside one of the restaurant's door.

The pedestrian walkway was transformed into a pulsating club, with a party jazz band driving crowd members to dance. The open bar serving craft cocktails such as the Newark Jump Off - a combination of ginger whiskey, shaved nutmeg, ginger infused syrup, and house-made sour mix - also helped let the good times roll deep into the evening. 

Several of those attending the Marcus B&P party—the restaurant name a reference to the Swedish concept of “back pocket,” an accessible and casual place—believe that the new dining spot will further open up Newark for after-5 p.m. fun. 

"This means we'll have a nightlife," said Marty Weber, owner of the Green Chicpea restaurant, just steps away on Halsey Street. "Places like this keep the stores open, and gives me the hope that I can also stay open later."

"We need vibrancy and nightlife," said Rosa Hyde, who works in the arts education department of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC). "We had it before downtown, but it's been a while. I'm hoping it's back." 

"Newark has been getting better, and it's been drawing in more people," said Jim Pise, who came down from his Clifton hometown to watch his son play in the jazz band. "This is a good sign of that happening." 

"I really feel like this is it for Newark. Someone like Marcus being here means so much to the community," said Andres Jimenez, who runs a branding and marketing firm in Newark that designed the logo for the new restaurant. "He brings an amazing energy and an international flavor to the city. He connects everything and everybody. That's why I'm here." 

The hype that halos around Samuelsson is backed up by facts that together make for a great life story. 

Both in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden after being separated from his family during his homeland's civil war, Samuelson, 46, became interested in cooking from an early age. He worked his way quickly up the gourmet ladder, becoming the executive chef of the celebrated Aquavit restaurant in Manhattan by the age of 24. 

During his tenure as executive chef, he received an impressive three-star rating from the New York Times, the youngest person ever to receive such an accolade, as well as his first of five James Beard Awards. An international restaurateur, he has 32 restaurant locations spanning the United States, Sweden, Norway, and Bermuda. 

His best known restaurants in America, Red Rooster and Streetbird, are both in Harlem and are devoted to imbuing African-American comfort food with a range of global culinary influences. A prominent example of this multicultural mix on the Marcus B&P menu is the fried chicken served with plantain waffles, Escovitch vegetables and hot honey. 

Samuelsson's surge into Newark is another part of his building an epicurean empire.

The building that he chose to place his new Newark restaurant is both iconic and symbolic: the recently refurbished Hahne & Co. building. The 1901 building is a landmark of Newark's storied past that was left for dead, then brought back to life as a repurposed multi-use building that combines living spaces with retail, academic and public spaces.

Marcus B&P faces the Halsey Street side of the building, while the upscale Whole Foods market faces the Broad Street side. 

The Hahne's building is directly across from the recently-renovated Military Park, which is now ringed by the NJPAC, a refurbished Robert Treat Hotel, the new Prudential Tower and a Starbucks coffee shop, with other development projects in the works. It is two blocks away from Rutgers-Newark, which just opened a new bookstore in the Hahne's building.
 
Marcus B&P's entry into this explosion of redevelopment led some of the opening night partygoers to pause and reflect about if what is happening to downtown Newark is revitalization, or gentrification. 

"There are different layers and levels to this which depend on income and accessibility to housing," said Gary Campbell, 59, a photographer and videographer who lives in the city's North Ward. "If you're doing well, this is not gentrification. It's the good part of Newark that's developing. But if you're uneducated, or you're homeless, or you live in one of the outer wards, it's the same story, basically. Nothing has changed." 

"Can these people in the outer wards of the city, can they get the jobs they need to afford living in Newark, including down here? Do they get the education they need to get those jobs? That's the biggest question," added Campbell. "And whatever's happening at those levels, it's not happening with the same speed and energy that you see in this environment here. This is real, but it's not real for everybody." 

According to native Newarker Jerry Gant, however, Marcus B&P's role in transforming the city is especially real for those who have been here for decades. 

"I'v seen how things rise and fall," said Gant, 56, who watched Newark burn as a little boy during the 1967 riot that almost destroyed the city's civic fabric. "This is more than a rise. This is something that has been germinating for 50 years for those who paved the way and sacrificed so we could see the manifestation of that rise. And here we are." 

Samuelsson said he is in Newark to stay. 

"This is a humble journey. We're here to take care of the food and to make people happy," said Samuelsson before he went back to watch over the kitchen. "To me, success is to open, then learn the neighborhood and be a part of it. This all takes time."

"This is not a New York City restaurant. This is a restaurant in and of Newark, from its staff, from its core, and its culture," Samuelsson continued. "It's all about your work ethic. Getting up in the morning is pressure. I work really hard to create something that people want to be around. Hopefully people can enjoy their community through our restaurant. We wouldn't be in Newark without this community. And now we're a part of it." 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

SOMA

Women's March Wear at Sadie's

Many are gathering this weekend and heading into New York City or over to Morristown to show their support for the Women's March 2018.

Sadie's is offering a few tee shirt options to show your support while marching as well as with your purchase.

The "Nasty Woman" shirt donates to Planned Parenthood and the "I Believe in Science" donates to the Sierra Club." ...

New Year New You

Take on 2018 with a new look! Stop by Sadie's and try on a sweater whose company will take a pound of trash out of the ocean with every purchase. Maybe accompany that sweater with a bracelet that helps feed children. It is a new year, get a new philanthropic look to help your resolutions go from being a goal to being an achievement.

Horoscope: As Capricorn enters your ozone, listen ...

School Freeze Is Not New, And Not Acceptable

Another cold snap and apparently another string of cold classrooms.

Last week, many classes at Columbia High School -- and other schools -- saw frigid temperatures when the cold outside dropped to single digits on several days.

The snow helped a bit by closing schools last Thursday and Friday, although the Friday closing was originally a delayed opening and later switched ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 010

On this week’s AtlantiCast, we take you to the groundbreaking for an expansion to Morristown Medical Center, introduce you to the newest babies of 2018 at Atlantic Health System and share some must-see winter weather tips!

 

South Orange Police Blotter - Two Arrests Reported

January 13, 2018

South Orange Police Blotter as of January 13

Adult Arrest CDS - Benjamin Orgera, an 18 year old South Orange resident was arrested on Sunday, Jan. 7, at approximately 10:20 p.m. for possession of CDS (marijuana). Officers stopped an auto for a motor vehicle violation near the intersection of Ridgewood Rd & Redmond Rd. During the traffic stop, officers determined that the driver ...

South Orange Police Blotter - Two Auto Thefts Reported

South Orange Police Blotter as of January 8

Auto Theft - A West End Rd resident reported that sometime between 12:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 28, actor(s) unknown stole his vehicle (2013 Honda), which was parked in his driveway at the time.

Auto Theft - A Montclair resident and South Orange business owner reported that on Tuesday, Jan. 2, at approximately 6:20 ...

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Observance in SOMA; Luminary Photos

January 17, 2018

MAPLEWOOD AND SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - The South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race held their 17th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Observance, with an interfaith service at 2 p.m., followed by a volunteer fair at 3:30 p.m. at Columbia High School, and an evening MLK Luminary Lighting Ceremony at Maplewood Town Hall and in Spiotta Park in South Orange.

In addition, ...

Harlem Wizards Play Maplewood Teachers and Town Officials at 'Family Night' on Jan. 29

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - The Maplewood Recreation Department is hosting a night of trick hoops and alley oops on Monday, Jan. 29, at Maplewood Middle School.

Two members of the Harlem Wizards will be playing with Maplewood teachers and other town officials at Maplewood “Family Night,"according to an email from Maplewood Recreation.

You may go ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_982bc8344531b1a37c85_par_440

Fri, January 19, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Carousel_image_af1b89eae735bf536426_par440_promo

Fri, January 19, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Sat, January 20, 12:30 AM

Clark Public Library, Clark

North Jersey Aquarium Society Monthly Saturday ...

Home & Garden

Sun, January 21, 11:00 AM

The Ethical Culture Society of Essex County, Maplewood

Amy Blake and Moki Kokoris: Family Ethical ...

Education

Newark Makes the Short List for Amazon's next HQ2

January 19, 2018

NEWARK, NJ--Newark has been named as one of 20 finalists to host Amazon’s next headquarters in North America.

Amazon announced the short-listed cities on Thursday.

Other cities that made the cut include Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Montgomery County, ...

Millburn Teen Gives Laptops New Life for Charity

MILLBURN, NJ — A junior at Millburn High School is using his skills with computers to help young women half a world away have a chance at higher education. Alexander McBride, the founder of Laptops4Africa.org, has already sent 21 laptops to deserving female students by teaming with a family friend who hand delivers donations to a girls leadership training school in Tanzania ...

Director of Gallery U Boutique Says They Will Leave Westfield Over Parking Issues

January 19, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ — Gallery U Boutique, an art space and boutique on South Avenue in Downtown Westfield, will relocate at the end of the summer due to ongoing parking issues, Executive Director Robert Greco said.

Gallery U is an extension of Universal Institute, a rehabilitation facility that services adults with traumatic brain injuries. Clients from UI work in the gallery and live in the ...

Crowds Pack Sussex County YMCA's Open House

HARDYSTON, NJ – The Sussex County YMCA was packed on Saturday afternoon.  People from all over Sussex County came by to try out the new facilities and see the expansion and renovations.  Special guests spoke at the opening ceremony in the new gymnasium.

Jennifer Gardner, Executive Director announced special guests U. S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer, New Jersey Senator Steve ...

Public Notice: Maplewood Township Committee Regular Session on Sat., Jan. 27 and Sat., Feb. 3

January 19, 2018

P U B L I C   N O T I C E -  January 19, 2018

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the Maplewood Township Committee will meet in Regular Session on Saturday, January 27, 2018 and Saturday, February 3, 2018, beginning at 9:00 A.M., for both dates, at the Maplewood Municipal Building, 574 Valley Street, Maplewood, New Jersey, for the purpose of 2018 Municipal Budget discussions. 

These ...

Business Administrator – Full Time – Maplewood Township (Essex)

BUSINESS ADMINISTRATOR – FULL TIME – MAPLEWOOD TOWNSHIP (ESSEX)

Position available prior to June 1, 2018.

The Township is seeking an experienced and qualified, high profile, proactive, facilitating leader, who is committed to working in partnership with the Township Committee to deliver excellent and cost effective public services to an engaged, culturally and racially diverse ...

Weekly Specials at Ashley Marketplace & Cafe Jan. 19 to Jan. 25

Shop Ashley Marketplace & Cafe for your everyday needs!

This week's specials are:

Potato Salad $3.99lb (Prep Food)
Monkfish  $9.99lb (Ashley Fish Market)
Siggi’s Yogurt  4/$5
Ground Turkey Thigh Dark Meat $4.19lb (Meat)
Ham Wraps $5.99(Deli)
Breyer’s Ice Cream $4.99lb
Blueberries 1 Pint $4.99
Beemster Graskaas Gouda $7.99lb ...