Chef Glenn Kovacs at work in the new Chowda House, set to open Saturday. (Click to enlarge)


It’s been almost a year and a half since redbankgreen first reported that Mary and Roy Jennings were planning a new seafood eatery on Bridge Avenue in Red Bank.

Sine then, apparently, the couple have been battening down the hatches, as indicated by the extensive use of a shipboard motif in the dining room of the Chowda House, their new restaurant located directly opposite the train station. Even the restroom doors look like bulkhead passages to a ship’s engine room.

It’s an environment that chef Glenn Kovacs says reflects the well-thought-out details of the business, which opens Saturday.

“There’s nothing like this around here,” in terms of atmosphere or menu, says Kovacs, whose travels have landed him stints in kitchens throughout the metropolitan region.

The decorative touches transformed a garage-style structure that has been home in recent years to a tea house and an ironworks atelier.

After losing their last tenant in the space, NovelTeas, the Jenningses first hoped to find a restaurateur to take over the space. But when that plan faltered, they decided to pursue a long-held dream of running their own restaurant, Mary Jennings told redbankgreen in 2012.

Chowda House will offer “basic, down-east seafood fare” anchored by New England- and Manhattan-style clam chowders, Kovacs said Friday morning. Dishes will feature fresh-caught seafood – “nothing frozen,” he said more than once – and potatoes in their skins.

With nine tables and a takeout service, “there’s nothing pretentious about it,” he said.

Chowda House, at 78 Bridge Avenue, will be open from 11 10 p.m. with a regular rotation of lunches and dinners for dining in and takeout.