By JOHN T. WARD
Seven months after restaurateur Marilyn Schlossbach and partners acquired What’s Your Beef in Rumson, alarming some stalwart customers, the remodeled restaurant will reopen Monday with a new name: Russell & Bette’s.
It will also boast another change that’s likely to get some snouts out of joint: the salad bar where customers used to line up and load up while awaiting their self-selected steaks has been eliminated, Schlossbach told redbankgreen Wednesday.
“I think people are going to be upset about the salad bar,” Schlossbach said. But for all its fans, the feature had plenty of detractors, she said.
“I think some people just don’t want salad bars in their lives” because of health concerns, she said.
Just as some customers initially sniffed when Schlossbach changed the ordering system from one in which customers chose their own cuts of beef at a kitchen window, Schlossbach said she expects the salad bar won’t be an issue for long.
The West River Road restaurant opened in 1969. Its new name is a tribute to Russell and Betty Ranney, the founders of Ranney School in Tinton Falls, where Schlossbach and Rob Laub, one of her partners in the business, became friends in the 1970s. Betty’s name, however, is rendered as “Bette” to give it a French flair, Schlossbach said.
Schlossbach — who also owns restaurants in Asbury Park (Langosta Lounge and Pop’s Garage), Shrewsbury (another Pop’s) and Normandy (the Labrador Lounge), and runs run the catering operation at the new Asbury Hotel — brought in chef Richard Drake from Langosta Lounge to run menu at Russell & Bette’s, which tends toward European dishes, she said.
“It’s not a steakhouse anymore,” said Schlossbach, who doesn’t eat meat. “It’s not What’s Your Beef anymore.”