Thank you. And goodbye, 100 Steps. (Also hello new ownership) Cranford NJ

This landed in my Inbox today, so I’m sharing it in its entirety…

thank you. and, goodbye 100 Steps.

Thank you.
Let’s get that part of this conversation out of the way right up front. Thank you.
Yes, there is a big part of that thank you that is directed to you, our customers, but, bare with me here, this is going to be a bit of an open love letter to some very special employees too.
Today, Tuesday, April 11th, starts a new chapter at 100 Steps. Today, the Steps will be passed over into the very capable hands of a couple of very talented gentlemen, Joe and Jack. What it will no longer be, is ours.
We made the decision to sell the Steps. It was not an easy decision. It was a decision made all the more difficult because the crews there, the crews both front and back are killing it these days. Open Table honors. Customer comments. Reviews galore. The news is out - the Steps is finally all grown up. The little spot that could. It took nearly 4 years - but the Steps finally grew into everything it could be. Everything we wanted it to be.
The food. My god. Jim and I love food. We eat. We eat well. And the cooks at 100 Steps are the best that I’ve had the pleasure of training and working with in my career. These are working cooks. Hardworking guys who paid attention to every word I had to share. The fish, perfect. The shrimp, perfect. Every dish, so much heart. Talented, hard working cooks, with a desire to put the best dish out - not much more that anyone can ask of them. Thank you.
The service. Finally, right there with it. We’ve run with so many crews since we opened at OHS. But this crew, finally got it. They embraced Jim, they understood what we wanted to do for the customer - what was important to us. And they worked together. A good night was a really good night. Finally seeing waiters invested in our food, talking about, and selling our food - it was fun to watch. Thank you.
So why? Why now? Because Jim and Andrea, want to be Jim and Andrea. We love what we have accomplished here at OHS, we love these amazing crews, and we love the enthusiasm that all of you have finally brought to the door. But, we want to find time to try and be Jim and Andrea, and running two spots, across 7 days, made that nearly impossible.
And we finally found someone who wanted to continue what we built. Jack Tagmouti will be the new owner going into this week. He is a former manager of The Frog and The Peach in New Brunswick, and someone who we hope, and believe, understand the amazing alchemy that we’ve created here. To help him, he’s brought with him a very talented chef, Joe Beninato, formerly of the The Frog and the Peach and Ursino. Both gentlemen are ready to embrace what we’ve created here and hopefully find their own spin on it.
So, the best we can say, is thank you. Thank you for an amazing ride OHS. Thank you for making it 4 of the best years. And thank you to the crew - to Luis, Carlos, Matt, Dago, Katrina, Mike, Rick, Julian, Sachelly, Del, CJ, Shannon, Garrett, Rey, Maria, Jack, Gabe, Alex, Alyse, and many more. Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for helping us to make 100 Steps into an amazing place.
And thank you to you. You know who you are. To each and every one of you who made OHS your “spot”. To each of you who became our regulars, who helped us navigate the good and the bad. Thank you. Thank you for making OHS so unique, and such a remarkable place to be a part of.
And to Jack and Joe - good luck. We think you’ve got an amazing team, an amazing spot and some amazing customers too. We wish you the very best in helping to write the story of what the future of 100 Steps has to hold.
See you soon. Andrea


Very nice and sincere letter. What is their other location they don’t mention it by name?

That would be A Toute Heure, which is (literally) 100 Steps across the street… ATH and 100 Steps are/have been excellent restaurants–I highly recommend ATH and am curious to see what happens with 100 Steps now. Interesting group coming in…

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My wife & I went back to 100 Steps Supper Club & Raw Bar in Cranford for the first time since Jim & Andrea sold the the place last year. We really miss Jim & Andrea (who moved closer to their family in Chicago), but I read a few good reviews, and decided to give it a try. The online menu had some intriguing items like head on prawns in a coconut lemongrass broth, whole red snapper, duck meatballs, & apple goat cheese agnolotti with wild boar, Madeira & pistachio pesto. I had my taste buds all set to try out these items, but unfortunately NONE of them were on the current menu. I was so disappointed. They just switched over to a brand new Spring menu this weekend, and it wasn’t as interesting as their winter menu. At least it was reassuring to see our favorite server Alivia (from A Toute Heure) working there. The only items remaining from the old 100 Steps were the amazing Parker House Rolls. For those of you that like a raw bar, they have a Happy Hour featuring a nice variety of half price clams & oysters, prior to 6:30 PM during the week, and prior to 5:30 PM on weekends. They also offer 25% off their petite platter & grand tower during their Happy Hour.

Below is their current Spring menu.

We started off with the excellent octopus appetizer. This was probably the highlight of the dinner. The potato mille feuille was amazing.

We also shared the Asparagus appetizer which was boring and disappointing. The Asparagus was very mushy. I would have liked a little more crunch to it. The crispy biscuit was probably the best part. The crab with the ‘gumbo’ sauce wasn’t bad, but the sauce tasted nothing like gumbo.

For entrees, my wife ordered the scallops, which was also very boring and disappointing. The snap peas had no snap to them, and the spicy coconut broth was very bland. My wife ended up returning it. This sounded so much better on paper. There seems to be a theme here with mushy overcooked vegetables. We like our vegetables with a little more crunch to them (but not raw).

My wife ordered the outstanding tuna entree as a replacement. This was the 2nd best dish of the night.

I had the Long Island duck breast. The best part was the outstanding mushroom terrine. I asked for the skin of the duck to be extra crispy but it was not crispy at all.

Although the physical restaurant looks the same, it lacks the warmness of Jim, who welcomed everyone like they were coming into his home, and used to very enthusiastically explain everything on the menu. He was the perfect host. The new owner, Jack, did come around once, & seemed nice enough, but he didn’t have the warm personality of Jim. I would recommend this place if you like a raw bar, since they have a nice variety of oysters from around the country, and some from outside of the country. Mrs. P & I don’t like raw oysters or clams, so we can’t talk to the quality, but they seem to do good business during Happy Hour. Hopefully, since the Spring menu just came out, the Chef can make some tweaks to it. The ingredients look great on paper, but the execution wasn’t the best (mushy vegetables, bland seasoning, rubbery duck skin). However, I would highly recommend the octopus and tuna. We probably just ordered wrong. I should have tried the pork chop.


@paryzer Welcome to HO. I anticipate that with your participation, the NJ board is in for a treat with your posts (primarily North Jersey). I have enjoyed your posts on another food board and hope to see some of them here.


Thank you for the warm welcome! I appreciate it. I was hesitant to join this forum, since I mostly dine in North Jersey restaurants, and it appears that most of the members here reside in Central Jersey. I didn’t think anyone would be interested in any North Jersey restaurants.

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Please let me welcome you as well!! We need representation of the entire state!! So please post, post, post away!! Cranford is more central Jersey than north…I’m from Monmouth County however I do a fair amount of business entertaining in the Central Jersey, Middlesex, Union county area’s. Plus we can never build a larger Central / North Jersey presence if nobody is willing to help us get it off the ground!!

@jsfein is a good person, if he vouches for you than you are part of the Ho family! Welcome!


Thank you very much for the warm welcome as well! I will try and post some of my North Jersey dining experiences. I occasionally dine in Central Jersey restaurants as well. Drew’s Bayshore Bistro is one of my favorites, and we dine there once a month. In fact we are going there this Sunday.

@paryzer, Hi Eli! Really glad you took my advice and joined HO. I’ve always felt that this board has been sorely in need of broadening, so there was no doubt in my mind you’d be a terrific addition. Though the most vocal members live in Central Jersey, my guess is that there are plenty of silent readers from your part of the state who will appreciate your reports.

Great first post here! Looking forward to many more from you.

(Note: As @jsfein said, Eli is a respected member on Mouthfulsfood, regularly posts restaurant reports on the NJ board, and comments on other boards as well.)

My Blog
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Now the endorsement of RGR, well Eli your stock is going up faster than the Alibaba IPO!!! Enjoy Drew’s it’s a board favorite here as well, please feel free to report back your experience.

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I’ll add my welcome, as well, Eli! As a resident of NNJ until 2.5 years ago, I was used to a majority of posts on other sites slanting towards that part of the state. I was thankful to find this crew when I moved and know you’ll enjoy being a HO (as we call ourselves). Hope to meet you eventually!

Thanks again Roz, CurlzNJ, and everyone for the warm welcome. This seems like a really nice group!

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Yeah we tend to make a good first impression then it’s slowly down hill from there. lol (joke)

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And…just received this email:

They have also been running specials on Facebook the last few weeks where you get a choice of a free entree of either an Amish Chicken breast, or OHS Spring mussel pot, when you order 2 appetizers and an entree.

_welcome to the board. Great posts and def nice to expand our dialogue outside the Monmouth-centric discussion we tend to focus on.

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I’ve received those emails as well; I can’t lie–my first thought was that they must not be doing so well, which is one reason I was happy to see your post!

I wonder if they chose to keep the name or if it was part of the deal…seems like a lot of regular customers bailed when it changed hands. I hope they can keep it going.

Thank you, Mr. Met!

Welcome to the club! That is a cool dog you have there :slight_smile:

I would think that with most suburban restaurants in NJ, the majority of their business is on the weekends. The promotion during one of their slowest days of the week is a way to bring in some business that they otherwise wouldn’t get. Mussels and chicken are fairly inexpensive, and they probably break out even with the markup on the appetizers and entree.

I also think that there was some sort of agreement to keep the old name (as they negotiated with A Toute Heure), as well as the same staff (that wanted to stay). Jim and Andrea were adamant that none of their staff would lose their jobs. It also didn’t hurt the new restaurant owners to keep the names of two very successful restaurants while they were putting their own little twists on the menus and establishing their own identities.

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