molly maguire's 102011Restaurateur Victor Rallo plans to transform the former Molly Maguire’s Gastropub into a smoked barbecue joint. (Click to enlarge)


Surf-BBQ-LogoThe Greater Red Bank Green, teeming with culinary variety but short on ribs, is about to get some finger-lickin’ fare.

The former Molly Maguire’s Gastropub in Rumson, which closed Tuesday, will reopen in January as Surf BBQ, buyer Victor Rallo tells redbankgreen.

rallo menna 2 090713Rallo, above left with Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna at a 2013 event, will now take on pit-smoked meats. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Rallo, owner of the nearby Undici, on West River Road, and Birravino, in Red Bank, confirmed that he and members of the Diaco family of Rumson acquired the East River Road eatery from Kathy and Mike Maguire on Wednesday. Terms were not disclosed.

Now, Rallo says, he’ll embark on a three-day-a-week apprenticeship in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn under the tutelage of acclaimed pitmaster Billy Durney, who founded and runs Hometown Barbecue there.

From a press release issued by Surf BBQ:

Since first learning to smoke meat as a youngster during visits to his grandparents’ cabin in rural Pennsylvania, Billy has spent years obsessing over his barbecue, traveling around the United States and abroad, searching for ways to perfect his techniques. Beginning in his backyard, cooking for family and friends, he has now become one of the best pitmasters in the United States.

Durney is a consultant on the Surf BBQ project. Rallo’s brother Robert, who manages Birravino, is also involved, he said.

Don’t expect white linen napkins. “In the tradition of American BBQ, patrons will stand on line to choose their BBQ and sides,” Rallo said Thursday morning. “We think that this time-honored tradition is a very important social aspect of BBQ.” Hometown Barbecue also employs the counter-service model, according to its website.

Rallo, who stars in the vineyard-wandering “Eat, Drink Italy” documentary series on public television, said the restaurant will be anchored by a custom-made Oyler smoking pit, and the menu will feature “some flavors that are representative of Americas diverse cultures.”

The bar will sell “American craft beers, a large range of American whiskeys, seasonal cocktails, and American wines,” Rallo said.

The Maguires bought the former Murray MacGregor’s Publik House in October, 2011, paying about$1.85 million to sellers Tim and Matt Harmon, who had transformed the former Briody’s into MacGregor’s in 2008.