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Stage Left Restaurant in New Brunswick is gearing up to celebrate their 25th anniversary. On top of that, the contemporary American steakhouse, owned by Francis Schott and Mark Pascal, recently underwent a renovation. The owners hired Alfano Renovations of Union County, N.J., and Dublin, Ireland-based Restless Design for a $200K-plus+ remodel of the dining rooms and bar. So what’s changed? New banquettes excude a clubby, yet comfy feel in the bar area (which is still centered by its 1930s vintage bar). And just like the restaurant's early days, the walls have have come alive as a hip gallery space. First up: dramatic large-scale abstract paintings by Caribbean-born artist and Montclair resident Paddy Cohn.

The Stage Left Burger ($17) is critically acclaimed, having been named one of the best in New Jersey for years. The 11 oz. wood-grilled burger is topped with aged Vermont cheddar and applewood-smoked bacon and comes served with a side of thick cut steak fries and their signature chipotle mayo.

Did you know that upstairs from Stage Left is another restaurant also owned by the duo? Catherine Lombardi is the 100-seat restaurant and cocktail lounge named after Mark's Neapolitan grandmother. It’s been open since 2005.

The Italian menu spotlights her authentic recipes such as eggplant rollatini, lasagna and black meatballs. The look is classic with vintage family photos lining the walls. Two fireplaces and banquettes overlooking the theatre district add to the homey vibe.

When people talk about the picturesque skyland region of New Jersey, it represents the Northwest areas of the state and includes the counties of Morris, Somerset, Hunterdon, Warren and Sussex. The region has two national parks at its edges and a diverse and beautiful geography filled with lakes, rivers and hills dotted with farms.

 

Awards do not come easily in the restaurant business. Michelin, AAA and Forbes tell us who the best is (and Wine Spectator when it comes to vino), and there are only a select few of local establishments that make the esteemed cut. The Bernards Inn is in rare company, as it is the only restaurant in New Jersey that has made the Forbes list of the top restaurants in the United States. AAA counts just 11 restaurants in its Four-Diamond rating in our state. While you may hear that trophies are handed out just for showing up, it’s clearly not the case when it comes to dining.

 

What generation will make up 75 percent of the workforce in 2025? If you guessed millennials, you’d be right! According to an article titled "How Millennials Could Upend Wall Street and Corporate America" by Morley Winograd and Dr. Michael Hais, by 2020, millennials will comprise more than one of three adult Americans, and by 2025 they will make up as much as 75 percent of the workforce. What does that mean for corporate planners? They will have to evolve the way they plan corporate events from boomers and Gen X’ers to millennials or face having an event that will become a social disaster!