MAKE ROOM FOR THE ELBOW ROOM IN BRADLEY BEACH: NEW BAR & KITCHEN FROM FOUNDERS OF DEAL’S BAR ROOM
Everybody needs some elbow room.
In the early 1990’s, Jay Vacchiano of West Allenhurst began drawing sketches of his dream – a community-focused bar and restaurant where everyone was welcome to hang, similar to his family home. After 15 years of working in the hospitality industry (primarily at Mr C’s), that dream came true in early 2014 in the form of the Bar Room in Deal.
Serving great drinks and fresh, creative meals at a fair price quickly caught on and soon his vision had little, err… elbow room some nights because it became so popular.
Today, Vacchiano’s dreaming bigger, literally, and about to open the Elbow Room Bar and Kitchen in Bradley Beach with the support of business partners Dino Fornicola, executive chef and Madelyn Snow, general manager, in the former Draughting Table location. Snow’s parents, the Caporaso’s, owned the former business and property for more than a decade prior to retiring.
“I want to bring the fundamental concepts of the Bar Room – the neighborhood vibe, the best customer service and fresh menu to a larger space,” said Vacchiano. “Bradley Beach is a cool, hopping year-round beach town with great character, and characters. We took a shell of a space and renovated it from the ground-up to be a modern, comfortable spot for the area to come hang out. Through every part of the design process we thought about our customers and what would make them feel most like home. In Deal or here, our goal is for anyone to come in and immediately feel comfortable; we want to see you more than once a week.”
The airy interior, inspired by an old-school tavern is contemporary with a twist. Shades of deep grey mixed with textures like mahogany, reclaimed oak and concrete, along with butcher block tables are accented with burgundy-striped textiles to create an informal, familiar vibe. Five super-size flat screen televisions are strategically positioned for optimum viewing, but not to be intrusive. For the second time, Vacchiano has created a place to come spend time in alone or with a group and feel equally as comfortable.
Vacchiano and Fornicola’s menu has always been an unrivaled stand-out among their area peers – appealing to carnivores and vegetarians alike – and the Elbow Room continues this tradition. We are talking the opposite of standard-fare bar food where the menu is thawed, deep-fried or both.
Their vision for the Elbow Room’s menu are the “best of’s” from the Bar Room and new, fresh options that continue the top-tier pub-influenced tradition in Bradley Beach.
“Entrees will range from $8 to $25,” said Snow, from Eatontown, who has been the manager of the Bar Room for over a year. “People can relax and dine in or take-out and know they are eating the freshest, handmade foods – from comfort foods to homemade soups. I am committed to making every customer experience all-around exceptional; that means service to cuisine.”
Fornicola’s innovative menu includes his famous roasted cauliflower, kale salad with shredded brussel sprouts and legendary everything-bagel crusted tuna. Also on the Elbow Room menu along with the best burgers (and turkey burgers) within 10 miles, will be his crave-worthy short ribs with mashed potatoes and fried leeks, homemade ravioli, pappardelle bolognese and braised beef with ricotta salata. The mussels steamed in a tomato basil broth with a loaf of crusty bread could rock your world.
“The stuffed artichoke is my favorite right now because it’s my mom’s family recipe,” said Fornicola, from Interlaken. “She also taught me the secret to a perfect meatball. We hand-roll the meatballs just like my grandmother did. My mind is always going for new recipes. I’m inspired by the fresh, local ingredients we get and excited about the potential of what we can do with the larger kitchen here, especially creating a brunch menu from scratch.”
Along with launching an exceptional Sunday brunch – combining the classics with the creative – the Elbow Room, approximately three times larger than Vacchiano’s first venture will have enough space for special events.
“We love the idea that we can be a part of local’s parties here or at their home because of the larger space and kitchen,” said Vacchiano. “For us, bigger means better but not different. Our first priority is our customer. Opening a second location is a huge rush for us but the focus is still on every person who walks through the door. We are thankful to the customers that have supported us along the way and look forward to meeting a whole new crowd in Bradley Beach.”