After a week of soft opening “friends and family” nights and building buzz, Pickett’s Village Bar is opening its doors to the public on Friday, May 3.
Village Green visited on Wednesday night and found Pickett’s promise of “modern comfort food in a fresh, inviting and casual setting” to be right on the money.
Although we couldn’t enjoy all 24 beers on tap, 16 wines by the glass and the list of cocktails in one night, we made a dent — enjoying the delicious branzino, burgers and bar pies at the stainless steel bar top in surprisingly cozy and stylish chairs under skylights and catching up on all the games on six screens over the bar (more are spread throughout the space).
Finding parking wasn’t a problem. Pickett’s is located at 2208 Millburn Avenue — across the street from DCH Millburn Audi in the old O’Reilly’s location — and aims to offer “a night-out, date-night, meet-for-a-drink, dinner-with-the-family, catch-the-game kind of place that’s also a hub for live music and al fresco dining and drinking.” Yes, there’s a deck out back with surprising and lovely views of the Maplewood Country Club Golf Course.
Pickett’s Village Bar is owned by a handful of local residents, including Doug and Beth Sasfai, Brinton Brosius and Ashlee Anthony, and Heidi Hovland. Heidi’s husband Jim Pickett was an original partner with Doug, but passed away unexpectedly last July. In a release announcing the opening date, the Pickett’s team wrote, “We honor his memory and the way he lived his life in our intention for Pickett’s: with heartfelt appreciation for how connecting over a drink or a meal brings us closer together and how these connections make life, and all of us in it, better.”
The Pickett’s house team is led by Chef Rich Krug, with Jose Marquez running the kitchen and Nick Ciccione serving as General Manager — all veterans of Orange Lawn Club. Food includes bar pies, “the wings,” a chicken sandwich, short rib/brisket blend burger, that delicious branzino, roasted cauliflower and more — with plans to rotate local farm-fresh and seasonal items through the menu.
To do justice to the drink selections, here’s more information direct from the Pickett’s team:
We like to say we are food-focused and drink-obsessed – as illustrated by the most robust beer list in town, with 24 taps representing a full spectrum of styles and offerings, from micro to macro, West coast to East, and styles ranging from high-hop to deep malt. A quarter of our tap handles represent local NJ craft brewers, and an expanded Beer Board rotates an additional 20+ specialty beers, ranging from single barrels to sours to off-the-beaten-path IPAs.
Our list of 16 carefully curated wines by the glass balances romance and intrigue, brightness and depth, with a mix of popular labels alongside less familiar varietals and boutique wineries. We believe that the mark of a great bar is impeccable attention to classic cocktails – with confidence to bend the rules. Seasonal mules, white peach sangria, a selection of mojitos. Our rotating cocktail menu means our talented bar staff will be shaking up something special every night of the week.
Pickett’s Village Bar, 2208 Millburn Avenue, Maplewood, NJ