RED BANK: WEST SIDE BISTRO SET TO OPEN

B2 Bistro 061715 2 Chef Cesare ‘Chez’ De Chellis, right, with general manager Andrew Rasizer at B2 Bistro + Bar on Wednesday.  (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

B2 Bistro 061715 1A new restaurant has the green light to open in the former shell of the Siena Grille on Red Bank’s West Side.

But first, it will have to do some rebranding.

What was to have been Blu Bistro + Bar will instead be called B2 Bistro + Bar to avoid conflict with a brand of electronic cigarettes and an alehouse, says Russell D’Anton, a principal in the Shrewsbury Avenue business.

B2 Bistro 0617154B2 Bistro + Bar takes over the Shrewsbury Avenue space known to generations as Sal’s Tavern. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

B2 cleared its final hurdles with borough inspectors Wednesday morning, obtaining a certificate of occupancy for the 130-seat restaurant and bar.

Anton tells redbankgreen B2 is shooting for a soft opening in about a week, and to open to the general public on Sunday, June 27.

Visitors familiar with the former Sal’s Tavern, which occupied the space for six decades, and its short-lived successors Andre and Lily’s, Two If By Sea and Siena Grille, won’t recognize the space. The old-world bar and dining room have been gutted to the brick walls and decorated in spare, modern style that makes ample use of raw-looking wood planks.

General manager Andrew Rasizer, 29, a nine-year veteran of Piccola Italia in Ocean Township and holder of a sommelier designation, plans to oversee a 50-bottle wine selection that changes seasonally, as well as agleaming chrome 16-tap beer setup that looks like it belongs on a new firetruck. Among the brands: Carton Brewing from Atlantic Highlands and Firestone Walker.

“We want to focus on a different style of bartending,” said Rasizer, “kind of a New York City feel with a comfortable atmosphere, where the bartenders are almost chefs at their craft.”

Behind the bar are four large-screen TVs inset into wood framing, with a fifth in a corner. The dining room will have no TVs.

Working in a kitchen visible to patrons, 31-year-old chef Cesare ‘Chez’ De Chellis plans to offer dishes from the Mediterranean, including French, Italian, Morroccan and Spanish.

“I want to bring the influence of those flavors, at a price point low enough so you could eat here several times a week,” said DeChellis, who cut his teeth working at country clubs and a New York City restaurant.

Both De Chellis and Rasizer have degrees from the Culinary Institute of America.