Homesick opens in former Brickwall Tavern space in Asbury Park NJ
Earlier this month, a new restaurant quietly opened on Asbury Park’s busy Cookman Avenue.
Homesick, next to Toast, is the newest venture from hospitality group Smith, which owns the city’s Pascal & Sabine and Porta, as well as a second Porta in Jersey City. The Homesick space was previously occupied by Smith restaurant Brickwall Tavern, which closed in December after 15 years in business.
Brickwall Tavern in Burlington City, which opened in 2015, closed in July.
“When we closed in December, honestly, we were focused on the future,” said Mark Hinchliffe of Smith. “We weren’t in a place of, ‘Let’s open a new restaurant.’ We were in survival mode of making everything work.”
Work on Homesick began in April, and the restaurant opened June 3. And while it may be new, the idea for Homesick has been a long time coming, Hinchliffe said.
“It was kind of the first original idea before we opened any restaurant,” he said. “It was an idea and a branding that we’ve been thinking about the last 15-plus years. It’s kind of our first inspiration.”
The name, he said, is a nod to a favorite book of Smith founder Meg Brunette: “Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant” by Anne Tyler.
“She loved the book, she loves the characters,” Hinchliffe said. “She thought it would be the coolest name for a restaurant.”
Homesick opens at 4 p.m. every day but Tuesdays and Wednesdays, when the restaurant is closed. The menu is a mix of small plates – heirloom tomatoes with grilled corn bread and blue cheese ($18) and cheese curds with brisket and gravy ($22); “smaller” plates – popcorn with black pepper and Parmesan ($6) and trout roe with crème fraîche and crispy chicken skin ($12); and entrees like veal cutlets with brown butter and chicken pot pie ($22, $20).
At the bar, find specialty cocktails, local and domestic beers, wine and ciders.
The restaurant also will house a market of lifestyle items – housewares, cookwares, textiles, “anything that trips our fancy,” Hinchliffe said.
The group is still deciding what to do with the building’s ancillary spaces, previously The Annex and Little Buddy’s Hideaway.
“There are no specifics on that,” Hinchliffe said. “We’re focused on opening Homesick right now.”
Go: Homesick is open from 4 to 11 p.m. Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays and 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays; closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays. 522 Cookman Ave.; 732-774-1264, lovehomesick.com.
Sarah Griesemer joined the USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey in 2003 and has been writing all things food since 2014. Send restaurant tips to [email protected]