GREEN BROOK, NJ – Capital Crafts, a neighborhoold tavern featuring 24 craft beers daily has opened on Route 22 in the former Charlie Brown's restaurant.
“We are so happy they are here in Green Brook,” said Mayor Nancy Stoll, who had the opportunity to preview Capital Craft's offering last week and was on hand for Tuesday’s grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony. “The food is excellent. We are thrilled to welcome them to the community.”
Owners Bonnie and Tom Graziano have been in the restaurant business for 25 years and, in 2013, expressed interest in opening a restaurant at the site of the former Charlie Brown’s but initially lost their bid Grimaldi’s.
“We had been looking for a long time and were disappointed because we knew this was a good site and we really like Green Brook. It is a great town and a great place,” said Bonnie, adding that eight months later, when the chance to lease the site was presented to them again, they jumped at the chance to open Capital Craft in the borough.
“We worked to close the deal very quickly. It has taken us a year to transfer Charlie Browns and the little bit of what Grimaldi’s started to do into what you see now,” she said.
Capital Craft features open seating in a spacious layout. There are big and comfy fabric-backed booths and long barstool tables; reclaimed wood was used for the bar and throughout the dining area; and there are several brick-faced walls and floor-to-ceiling windows.
“It’s a very family-friendly atmosphere. It is urban, industrial and rustic and there is some New York inspiration that makes us a little metropolitan as well,” said Bonnie. “It’s very warm and inviting but a little chic, too.”
In developing Capital Craft, Bonnie said the goal was to provide patrons with a homey tavern that, at the same time, was upscale and affordable. “The concept we have and the goal we made when we designed our menu was to create a place that people want to come to two, three, even four times a week,” she said. “We don't want people to feel like they are getting ripped off [and] and we don't want to be the type of restaurant people only go to once a year on their birthday or for a special occasion.”
Capital Craft offers $10 daily lunch specials featuring sandwiches, salads and discounted drinks and an all-day menu with prices ranging from $5 (appetizers) to $24 (steak). All food items are prepared by Chef Wayne Mascola and made fresh from locally sourced meats, organic produce and artisan cheeses.
“Everything is fresh, which makes a huge difference in the quality of our food, and customers will definitely be able to tell,” said Mascola, who prior to Capital Craft ran the kitchens at the Stage Coach in Scotch Plains and the Stirling Hotel. “Here, people can expect great food at a great value. Our goal is to bring something to the community and offer diners an alterative from the chain restaurants.”
The menu boosts chef-inspired tavern fare, including more than a dozen appetizers - deviled eggs, Mascola’s signature crispy Brussels spouts and poutine, to name a few - and close to 10 side dishes, such as roasted mushroom quinoa, sweet potato puree and creamed kale. There are specialty and craft-your-own coal fired pizza choices; beef, farmhouse and lamb burgers; veggie and chicken sandwiches; soups and salads; and various specialty dishes, including pork belly, grilled salmon, flat iron steak, beer braised short ribs, and chicken and sweet potato waffles. Many menu items, including the pizza, can be prepared for those who follow a gluten-free diet.
Additionally, Capital Craft offers a reasonably priced kids menu and various homemade desserts, including Nutella pizza, coal oven cast iron bread budding and beer sabayon.
“Our goal is for Capital Craft to be a ‘craftier’ destination and one of those special places people want to go to. We are bringing good comfort food to the community and want this restaurant to be a place people feel comfortable," said General Manager Dustin Noel, adding, “There’s this family atmosphere where people can come in, enjoy a great meal and a couple drinks and then, as the night gets later, the lights go down and the music goes up, we have this wonderful bar and so many selections to choose from."
If sampling new beers is your thing, then Capital Craft’s selection is designed to impress. There are 24 rotating taps daily with seasonal selections and exclusive labels hailing from the top brewers in New Jersey, the U.S., and around the globe. There are also happy hour specials on select pints, house wines and well drinks from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
“The beers on tap change all the time and that is my job to figure out,” said Noel, who worked alongside Chef Mascola at the Stirling Hotel. “We will be utilizing a lot of New Jersey breweries and that is really what craft beer is all about. The closer it is, the fresher it is and the better it tastes.”
Capital Craft will also be offering a variety of special events including tap takeovers, celebratory keg tappings, and gourmet five-course beer pairing dinners. Additionally, at Capital Craft, patrons can selectively pair their own beer flights.
“We offer patrons really great tavern food and a great beer in a wonderful atmosphere for a really great price,” said Bonnie, noting the restaurant also has an ‘incredible staff’ comprised of residents from communities within Middlesex, Union and Somerset counties, including but not limited to, Green Brook, Dunellen, Bridgewater and Somerville.
“They are a very inspirational crew with great ideas,” she said. “They are youthful, energetic and excited. We really have a great team.”
Capital Craft also has an outdoor dining area that seats 40, 7 flat screen televisions and a private upstairs dining area with a full-service bar and private restrooms that can accommodate 50. The upstairs space is available for corporate events, birthdays, wedding or bridal showers, rehearsal dinners and other special occasions.
“We want to be that place people come to enjoy a reasonably priced and very well-prepared meal and a great beer, whether it be for a special event, after work for happy hour, with their kids, or to watch a game,” said Bonnie.
Capital Craft is located at 171 U.S. Highway 22 in Green Brook (between Washington Avenue and Warrenville Road) and is open seven days a week. The kitchen hours are Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Bar hour are Sunday through Wednesday - open to midnight; Thursday – open to 1 a.m., and Friday and Saturday – open to 2 a.m.
For additional information or to view menu options, visit capitalcraftnj.com, call (732) 968-5700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow Capital Craft on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and You Tube.