The Butchers Block, Long Branch


The Butcher’s Block to reopen next month with liquor license, twice the space

I am not a paid subscriber, so I could not access the article.

Unfortunately I heard about this for awhile now. I hate to root against anyone’s success, but sometimes I just wonder what the karma Gods are thinking. Yes, they created a cool concept but the trajectory of their success just leaves me scratching my head.

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I think the lack of a ny top end steak spots locally, combined with these. guys figuring out there’s $$ to be made be catering to certain segments of society will mean they can print $$$$. I’ll never go there, and was looking forward to it when it first opened, but I’m sure they won’t miss my $$$.

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Here’s the article:

Tom D’Ambrisi isn’t afraid of taking chances.

In summer 2018, he had the idea to open a “different” kind of restaurant. His steakhouse would be beautiful – “I’m all about the visual,” he said – with dining rooms branching off a main alley that housed a coffee counter and butcher shop, and a courtyard out front.

He called it The Butcher’s Block, because “the butcher is the heart of the block,” and opened within nine months.

D’Ambrisi didn’t seek out a high-profile location. He opened the restaurant in former office spaces adjoining his family’s wholesale meat business, tucked along a Long Branch side street that runs parallel to the train tracks.

Diners embraced the concept – so many that securing a reservation takes months, if you can even snag one – and The Butcher’s Block quickly became one of the state’s most popular restaurants.

But in February, D’Ambrisi closed the doors and began tearing the whole thing down.

“Our entire concept is trying to be different,” said the 32-year-old, who lives in Oceanport and owns The Block, as it is known, with his wife, Cara. “I have a vision of what I want this place to be, where I want it to go.”

That vision, guided by the idea that “you’re only limited by your imagination,” he said, and an affinity for old world-meets-modern style, is coming to life. The restaurant, currently in the hands of contractors, designers and electricians, is undergoing a complete renovation that will double its size.

New additions include a bar – The Butcher’s Block now has a liquor license – a four-seat table chef’s table experience, a tucked-away dining room with its own bar, a custom-built wood-burning oven for firing steaks and other proteins, and an expanded butcher shop and market “that showcases our expertise for meat,” D’Ambrisi said, and can be seen through a glass wall in the dining room.

“I never wanted to build a butcher shop inside a restaurant. I wanted to build a restaurant inside a butcher shop,” D’Ambrisi said. “Our main goal is to showcase the meat and let the meat be the story.”

The plan is to open for dinner service four nights a week in July, with lunch service and the butcher shop following in September. The restaurant’s staff of about 75, including Chefs Brandon Carter and Connor Halpin and third-generation butcher Armando Ferrante, are returning.

“It will be nice to get back to normal,” said D’Ambrisi, adding that while the temporary closure did coincide with the coronavirus pandemic, that was not the cause. (Like others, the restaurant closed to diners last year, selling butcher boxes to go, then reopened last summer). He always wanted to expand, he said, and this was the time to do it.

Moving forward, D’Ambrisi would like to build on The Block brand, offering meat and branded products – sauces, rubs, finishing salts, cookware – to other restaurants. The plan, he said, “is to keep our vibe of being fun and making the experience the best possible. We want to work at it to be fun, unique and deliver a quality product.”

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold