In the 15-block downtown area of New Brunswick, there are three distinct theaters and nearly 50 restaurants. Among them, you’ll find Stage Left Steak, which just celebrated its 30th anniversary.
Owners and best friends Mark Pascal and Francis Schott met at Rutgers University in the early 1980s. After graduating from Rutgers and working in other restaurants for a few years, they decided to strike out on their own. On Memorial Day weekend in 1992, the duo began apple wood-grilling steaks from exceptional dry-aged cuts of meat.
With a decades-long loyal customer base, dedicated team members and pragmatic planning, Schott and Pascal have been able to flourish — especially over these last difficult years. Most recently, New Jersey Monthly named Stage Left Steak one of 20 Best Steakhouses in the Garden State.
“We’ve been able to make things work, thanks to key staff who have been with us for years, and because we have the flexibility of adapting our space to meet the moment,” Schott noted.
Stage Left is not only famous for its wood-grilled steaks, but for its award-winning wine list and pioneering cocktail program. It’s also been an incubator for many of the region’s top chefs and mixologists.
Serving Brooklyn-Italian style fare, the parners opened Catherine Lombardi in 2005, paying homage to the cooking of Pascal’s grandmother. The restaurant serves quintessential Neapolitan-based, Brooklyn-influenced Italian cooking and offers perfectly balanced cocktails. Compelling wines from small producers are available at all price points. Warm, welcoming hospitality takes place in an instantly comfortable setting. And, now that warm weather has returned, there is a gorgeously appointed outdoor dining space.
In 2017, they launched the e-commerce site, StageLeftWineShop.com, to showcase their highly curated selection of unique wines and exceptional values. And, in 2020, they opened a brick-and-mortar shop so locals can come in and browse. Now the wood-paneled storefront — reminiscent of an elegant library — houses a selection of about 700 unusual and extraordinary wines, along with a collection of vintage beers and spirits.
Beginning June 25 through the summer, Stage Left Steakhouse will offer summer entertainment, including weekly events before Saturday’s dinner service.