By Sally Deering
When Tom Parisi opened a little Gelato shop on York Street in Jersey City more than a year ago, he named it “Tommy Two Scoops” and the name stuck like a maraschino cherry on an ice cream sundae. An entrepreneur at heart, Tommy Two Scoops is his best salesman (he spent more than 20 years selling carpet), talking with neighbors outside his shop, kissing babies and petting puppies that venture into his “dog friendly” shop, which also serves sandwiches, wraps and other light delights.
Less than two months ago, Tommy Two Scoops – who is also known to burst into song with a fine imitation of Louis Armstrong, added a new restaurant to his repertoire, the Brightside Tavern located on the corner of Bright and Monmouth Streets (across from the Jersey City Medical Center and adjacent to the Pathmark on Grand Street). And just like he did with his Gelato shop on York Street, Tommy Two Scoops has enhanced the Bright Street neighborhood with a new and exciting bistro that serves delicious food.
“If you build it, they will come,” Tommy Two Scoops says. “Opening Tommy Two Scoops on York Street gave me great practice and I met a beautiful cross-section of people from the neighborhood. It’s nice to be in a place where people are happy.”
The Brightside Tavern has everything needed to make people happy. Tearing down the old, dilapidated saloon that stood before, Tommy Two Scoops and his contractors built a beautiful restaurant that houses an elegant dining room, a bar that resembles the one on the TV show “Cheers” and a classy upstairs banquet room perfect for corporate functions, baby showers and engagement parties. And with his entertaining personality, Tommy Two Scoops plans to add a Baby Grand to the atmosphere for live entertainment and maybe even some Karaoke nights, where guests can go up on stage and sing their favorites – something near and dear to Tommy Two Scoops, who once sang on stage at the Apollo theatre in Harlem.
The Brightside Tavern’s menu features American Nouveau cuisine and there are lots of choices. On a recent visit, I tried the Hummus and Baba Ganoush appetizer served with pita, celery and carrot sticks ($9) which was delish, and the Fish and Chips entrée with the fish light and flaky and the breading light and crunchy. The steak fries had a crunchy outer texture you rarely get at other restaurants. Absolutely yummy!
The lunch menu’s Starters include Fried Calamari served with aioli and marinara; House-made Pizza with shrimp, Green Princess dressing, red onion and arugula; Crostini; and Three Bean Soup, a vegetarian blend of beans and vegetables ($5-$9). Salads are a Classic Caesar Salad; Roasted Pear Salad with arugula, spicy cashews and crumbled blue cheese in roasted garlic, lemon vinaigrette; Panzanella, crisp bread, mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumber, basil, fresh mozzarella and chickpeas; the Brightside Salad, mixed greens, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, herbs and pecorino cheese in a sherry vinaigrette; and a Skirt Steak Salad with romaine, red onion, scallions, tomatoes and black beans in a Green Princess dressing ($8-$14).
Burger lovers won’t be disappointed with a choice of Beef, Duck, Lamb and Veggie Burgers ($9-$11) and a long list of toppings that include bacon, roasted red peppers, mushroom, pancetta and pickled jalapeno peppers. Sandwiches include the Veggie Panini with grilled and roasted vegetables, olive tapenade, hummus and fresh mozzarella; Short Rib Panini, citrus braised short ribs with a sesame slaw; Crispy Eggplant Panini with tomatoes and fresh mozzarella; Shrimp Po Boy; Sliced Skirt Steak sandwich with caramelized onion, charred tomatoes and melted blue cheese; the BBQ Pork sandwich; Pastrami sandwich and Torta, slow cooked pulled pork, chicken, black bean puree, chipotle, onion, avocado and Swiss cheese; Southwest Wrap, spicy chicken, avocado, red onion, chipotle aioli and pepper jack cheese; Buffalo Chicken Wrap with romaine and blue cheese dressing; and the Teriyaki wrap made with Teriyaki chicken, spinach, quinoa, grilled scallions, broccoli and red bell peppers ($8-$11).
The Dinner menu’s entrees feature Ravioli Parisi, cheese ravioli with extra virgin olive oil and shaved pecorino cheese; Orrechiette with sausage, slow roasted tomatoes, spinach and roasted onions; Penne with Cajun Alfredo chicken, roasted red peppers, sauteed red onions and herbs; Gnocchi with shrimp, arugula, pecorino cheese, white wine, garlic, butter and herbs; Vegetarian risotto with the chef’s selection of vegetables and shaved pecorino cheese; Grilled salmon with asparagus, mushrooms, roasted potatoes and bagna cauda; Fish and chips; Grilled chicken breast with mushrooms and pea risotto; Pork tenderloin with buttered leeks, warm quinoa salad and pork jus; Prime flat iron steak with crispy brussel sprouts and roasted sweet potatoes; 12 oz. NY Strip Steak with fries and grilled asparagus and a Half Rack of St. Louis ribs with russet potato salad ($12-$22).
For a new dining experience that offers great food in a beautiful atmosphere, check out the Brightside Tavern in Jersey City, where Tommy Two Scoops, the robust and people-friendly owner welcomes you with open arms and “everybody knows your name.”
The Brightside Tavern
141 Bright Street
Jersey City, NJ
Lunch, Dinner and Weekend Brunch
Lunch: Mon-Fri, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Dinner: Sun-Wed, 4 p.m.-10 p.m.; Thurs-Sat, 4 p.m.-11 p.m. (Bar menu ‘til Midnight)
Weekend Brunch: Sat, Sun, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.