Montclair has been buzzing about a new pair of restaurants opening at 193 Glenridge Avenue. Many will remember this location as The Crosby, a popular eatery that shut down during the pandemic. While people may have initially been disappointed to hear about The Crosby’s permanent closure, what’s opening in its place is meant to be bigger and better. The family-owned Essex Restaurant Group is behind a fresh new concept for the Montclair food and beverage scene. The newly renovated building will house The Maddox, a high-end steakhouse and bar, and Musuko, a sophisticated open-concept pan-Asian kitchen, sushi bar, and cocktail lounge that’s set to open next Tuesday, April 4th. The Montclair Girl recently spoke with Alexa Dell’Ermo, Head of Operations and Beverage Director, to get the inside scoop. Keep reading to get a sneak peek into what’s to come from this hot new restaurant and nightlife establishment.
When The Crosby closed during Covid, it got Alexa thinking about the restaurant’s next chapter. She had worked at The Crosby for years as a bartender and manager, and when her family took over Essex Restaurant Group, she started to reimagine what they could make of the space. She dreamed up a place that could serve those 25 and over and provide a more sophisticated place to dine and go out without traveling to a big city. She knew it’d be a big risk, but her family accepted her pitch and in July 2020, they decided to renovate and rebrand.
Three years later and they’re finally at the finish line. While it’s been no easy feat between waves of Covid, material shortages, and a lofty renovation, the last six months have moved quickly and Alexa’s vision is finally coming to light.
“I hope it brings a little bit of life back to Montclair. My goal was to bring New York City to New Jersey,” said Alexa. “I don’t want people to feel like they have to get on a train to experience a New York City restaurant. I want them to have it in their hometown and county. And I know this won’t just serve Montclair — this is going to be a huge Essex County hotspot.”
About The Maddox + Musuko
For the last few years, the family has been in execution mode. They expanded the space, delving into what was once Fin Raw Bar next door, to create two restaurants but with an open-flow concept.
The cuisine that they’d serve was a hot debate between Alexa, who envisioned a steakhouse, and her cousin, who was leaning towards a sushi vibe. And so they thought, why not both? The Maddox and Musuko will share a kitchen and one executive chef, but with two separate menus and cuisines. They see this being one of the things that will draw people to keep coming back.
The Maddox is a new American steakhouse. Think The Crosby, but elevated. It’s fine dining but with a loungey bar feel. The big center bar that people may remember from The Crosby is still there, but what it’s stocked with is completely different. Alexa has put a lot of work into the beverage program, so expect delicious cocktails and an extensive wine list. One of Alexa’s favorite cocktails on the menu is called Smoke and Mirrors, which is her twist on a spicy mezcal margarita. She also teased an item on the appetizer list: a hot honey crispy calamari, which is meant to balance out the raw bar items.
Musuko will be more intimate and exclusive, with extreme attention to service and detail. The bar is sit down only until the kitchen closes so that diners can truly immerse themselves in the pan-Asian cuisine. The kitchen is also partly open-concept so that diners can catch a glimpse of the sushi chefs at work.
And on Fridays and Saturdays, the space will transform into a nightlife scene. A DJ will be spinning from the booth in The Maddox every Friday and Saturday night, with a sound system that carries into Musuko. The expectation is that people will flow between The Maddox and Musuko at night once the kitchen closes so that it’s one big space for people to enjoy.
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Stepping inside the space most certainly feels like you’ve been transported to Manhattan. The interior went through a complete redesign. Think dark undertones, but with pops of gold and marble with chic lighting to elevate the space.
“Everything that went into this place is straight from our brain. Down to every single liquor in the well, every wine on the list, every cocktail, every stitch of fabric, every light fixture, everything on the food menu down to the sauces,” said Alexa. “It was not done by anyone who isn’t on our team, which I think is even more special for when we open and we see people actually enjoying the space, drinks, and food.”
Now for the question on everyone’s mind — when is the opening? While back in January, Alexa wouldn’t commit to a date, it’s officially been announced that the duo will open its doors next Tuesday, April 4th. It will be dinner-only for the first four weeks along with the bar being open until 2AM before they open full-time for lunch.
“I have never seen hype like this. Between people asking about the opening and the amount of support my family and business has gotten over the last few years — I’m so grateful,” said Alexa. “We are so excited for everyone to finally see it, enjoy it, and become regulars here. We’re ready.”