Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 5/2/17
When you walk into Capital Craft, a rustic-chic tavern that opened in January of 2016 at 171 Route 22 in Green Brook, you’re not just going to find craft beer fanatics enjoying a coal-fired pizza and a local beer.
You’re also not just going to find couples alongside the virtual fireplace enjoying fine dining entrees, such as the red wine-braised short ribs or the pan-roasted chicken.
Instead, you’re going to find both.
That’s because Capital Craft, which prides itself on having a seasonal, upscale-casual menu as well as a rotating craft beer selection, is constantly evolving as the local watering hole of Green Brook and the surrounding area.
“There’s not many places that are doing casual food really well,” said Wayne Mascola, Capital Craft chef. “But here, you can come in and get a pizza or burger with a beer, or you can get a bottle of wine and have a seafood dinner.”
At Capital Craft, which pulls in up to 2,000 customers a week ranging from beer-hungry millennials to families and seniors for their menu which ranges from $8 appetizers to $26 entrees, Mascola also tries to locally source as much as possible, especially when it comes to seasonal produce, locally-cured meats and fresh-caught seafood.
“We do everything in-house with as many items from New Jersey farms as possible,” Mascola said. “I can count on two hands how many items are coming in from outside.”
Clearly, customers are tasting the difference. Mascola and General Manager Dustin Noel said that some of their most popular items are their burgers, red wine braised short ribs, coal-fired pizzas, deviled egg trio, crispy Brussels sprouts, pork belly nachos, fried cheese curds and chicken wings.
Besides what customers can always find on the menu at Capital Craft, Noel also said that the restaurant constantly offers new specials that allows them to get creative, such as their recent Girl Scout cookie pizza with Nutella, toasted coconut, crushed graham crackers and caramel sauce, which some customers said was the “coolest pizza I have ever had.”
“We’re constantly testing out new things and trying to be adventurous,” said Noel. “We like to have a little fun, but keep something classic on there, too.”
Plus, Noel said that restaurant offers enticing daily specials that their customers love, such as the buy-one-get-one-free baby back ribs special on Mondays, $5 burger special on Tuesdays, half-priced coal-fired pizzas on Wednesdays, or the $10 Sundays through Fridays lunch special that includes a sandwich, house-cut fries or field greens and a soft drink.
“You could spend more on lunch at a fast-food restaurant,” Noel said.
Now that Capital Craft has had a year to settle in and perfect their menu and service, Noel said that they are looking to do more special events. Most recently, they hosted a beer pairing dinner alongside Bolero Snort Brewery of Ridgefield Park on April 26.
The dinner, titled Exploring the Bull, which played off of Bolero Snort’s bull logo and bull-themed beers, focused on offbeat cuts of beef, such as bone marrow, oxtail and beef tongue.
Capital Craft was opened by Tom and Bonnie Graziano of Basking Ridge, who wanted to open a craft beer bar since many people are now interested in local beer options. Tom Graziano, who has been in the restaurant industry for over 30 years, has owned dozens of major franchises all over New Jersey.
When they found the Green Brook location, they knew they had found a culinary gem since they felt the area was lacking a true gastropub.
“Some people have come off as surprised when they walked into Capital Craft since it’s such a great setting,” Mascola said. “They come in thinking it’s a corporate restaurant, but then they taste that difference and see the care and time that we put in.”
Where: 171 Route 22, Green Brook
Cost Range: $8 appetizers to $26 entrees
Contact: 732-968-5700, capitalcraftnj.com