A tiny white sign taped to the doors at 183 Glenridge Avenue reads, “Mei’s Café is relocating to 5 N. Fullerton Avenue. (Just around the corner.)”
So, who’s going to fill the spot? And when? Here's the answer hungry foodies: on October 1, 2012, a raw bar and kitchen, cleverly named Fin will gastronomically redefine Glenridge Avenue.
Fin is owned by New Jersey restaurateur, Gerry Cerrigone along with his business partner Robert Gaccione. Gerry and Robert also own and operate the very popular Salute Bistro at the corner of Glenridge Avenue and N. Willow St.
The kitchen at Fin will be headed up by veteran executive chef, Michael Juliano, of the South City Grill restaurant group, who will also own a smaller percentage of Fin.
Fin, according to Cerrigone, is dedicated to sustainability and seasonal quality, offering “light, clean fare, with a price point that’s sensitive to the times.” Although Salute and Fin are sister restaurants there will be no menu overlap, as Cerrigone plans to “accentuate the fish.” All fish will come from Hunt’s Point.
Although the Fin menu is not complete, I did get a quick peek at it. Some of the divine selections include a variety of wood-grilled whole fish, Monkfish Osso Bucco, Squid Ink Tagliatelli, Crispy Skin Salmon, Shaghai Lobster and Shrimp, and a raw menu featuring eight varieties of oysters from bi-valve locales such as New Brunswick and Washington State. Fin will also offer many gluten-free selections.
Fin will mark Gerry Cerrigone’s sixth restaurant. As a teen, he trained at Il Tulipano, then at the age twenty-one, opened his first restaurant, Oggi, in Caldwell. Four years later he purchased Mezzanotte in Caldwell, which he gently transitioned into Luce.
Experience has given Gerry a great eye for restaurant design. Without the help of a professional designer, Gerry transformed the former Noelle’s Antique Shop into Salute Bistro that exudes rustic comfort and warmth from the front door.
The name, Fin, is simple, appropriate, and to the point; perfectly suiting the intention of the restaurant. Fin will not be trendy, sleek, and urban chic. Gerry plans to create the raw bar and kitchen as a rustic, homey, comfortable, quality restaurant appropriate for the whole family.
A quartz bar, fashioned to resemble the look and feel of coral, combined with a driftwood wall and exposed, distressed beams will accentuate the restaurant’s dedication to seafood, without creating a pretentious environment or a kitsch nautical cliché. Guests will dine on thick, rustic butcher’s block tables, complete with old-school Italian, red-striped, mopina (slang for napkin). The poured concrete floors will remain, and a tree will stand in the middle of the restaurant, beneath the enormous skylight.
Fin is approximately 4000 square feet, 1000 square feet bigger than Salute, and will accommodate 100 people inside and possibly 30 outside. Fin will be open only for dinner the first month. Lunch will then be added 4 to 6 weeks after opening. Is it October 1 yet?