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Restaurant David Drake - What's Up?

ambrose Jan 8, 2010 04:44 AM

I was just on Open Table, looking to make a reservation here and was surprised, and disturbed, to see the message, "This Restaurant Is Currently Unavailable". Does anyone know what's going on? Perhaps it just means that Open Table can no longer be used to make reservations at dD's. I surely hope that's all it means!

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  1. f
    fourunder Jan 8, 2010 05:06 AM

    Comment on nj.com says it's closed and relocating for a springtime opening....nothing more specific

    5 Replies
    1. re: fourunder
      ambrose Jan 8, 2010 05:19 AM

      I hope you're right. I'm just glad it's not "closed for renovations" because we all know how that usually ends up.

      1. re: ambrose
        MishyPoo Jan 8, 2010 09:23 AM

        Relocating or redecorating?????
        I was there like a week ago, everything was GREAT as usual!


        1. re: MishyPoo
          fourunder Jan 8, 2010 09:36 AM


          Thanks for having the confidence in me to even think I could possibly confuse the two..

          Copied and pasted from the restaurant forum @ nj.com:

          15743. David Drake relocating?
          by cornus, 1/8/10 7:52 ET
          Here is a c/p of a twitter message I saw at a Rahway blog: Sign in window of David Drake in #Rahway say it's closed, will open in new location in spring.

          Anyone have any more info?

          1. re: fourunder
            MishyPoo Jan 8, 2010 09:42 AM


            LOL dont take it personal, I often type one thing whilst thinking of another. It isnt about you, my reply was more about the shock I was in after having read your post. I am currently waiting on a reply from somebody on the inside, I will let you know what I hear. Im sorry but I still am having a hard time believing this. Not that I dont believe you, Im just saying....Im in disbelief!


            1. re: MishyPoo
              fourunder Jan 8, 2010 09:52 AM

              No worries, I was only teasing....but thanks for having the grace to have concern, otherwise.

    2. menton1 Jan 8, 2010 11:50 AM

      We need Rosie Saferstein to find out the real scoop on this one.

      But usually, "closed for relocation" or any other silly reason means that it's "game over".

      Roberto's in Rochelle Park says "closed for renovation" for 6 months now, and there's no sign of any construction going on. I guess it's an ego thing that these resto owners don't just want to say the truth and give these lame excuses...

      1 Reply
      1. re: menton1
        MishyPoo Jan 9, 2010 07:27 AM

        Yes, sadly I have to agree with this....Im afraid it might be game over.
        I am still awaiting a reply from the person I contacted.

        I will still say....David Drake is the best restaurant in NJ.
        I hope I dont have to change it to WAS!!!!


      2. ambrose Jan 9, 2010 08:01 AM

        Hmm, I'm now starting to get a very bad feeling about David Drake's future - the restaurant, not the owner/chef.

        Some time ago, I started a thread about David Drake cooking at Alice's, a restaurant in Lake Hopatcong. By chance, there is a review in this weekend's NY Times of Alice's and in it the writer notes that at one point Alice, the owner, needed a chef in a hurry and turned to David Drake.

        According to the article, "She needed help in a hurry..........and Mr. Drake happened to need a full-time job. (While his Rahway restaurant remains open, he says it has been slapped hard by the recession and he has stopped paying himself a salary.)"

        Clearly, this story is still playing out. I for one really hope that the restaurant in Rahway does relocate and remains a David Drake restaurant. Otherwise, I guess I'll be taking the long drive north to Alice's!

        Here's the full review:


        1 Reply
        1. re: ambrose
          ambrose Jan 9, 2010 05:02 PM

          According to Rosie Saferstein's blog, Restaurant David Drake has indeed closed.


        2. Bossa_Nova Jan 9, 2010 05:44 PM

          This is truly disappointing. This was my favorite restaurant in NJ. The food, drinks and service were consistently excellent.

          1. a
            albinoni Jan 9, 2010 08:42 PM

            Coincidentally, I was in my doctor's office today and was reading an issue of some glossy NJ magazine from about a year ago that focused on 5 up and coming chefs in the state, including David Drake. Mentioned that he planned to open a hotel restaurant at the soon-to-be-built Westin in Berkeley Heights. I guess that is not happening.

            1. r
              RPMcMurphy Jan 10, 2010 07:49 AM

              Unfortunately, my only time dining there, was one of THE worst dining experiences I've ever had. So bad, in fact, my review on here was deleted, and it was word for word honest.

              With all the praise this place got, I wished my experience were different, but based on my experience, I can't say I'm surprise.

              1 Reply
              1. re: RPMcMurphy
                seal Jan 10, 2010 10:23 AM

                The last two times I went there I wasn't happy either and I never went back. I've also never been to Daryl, but a few friends have said they liked it.

                Still, losing a high end place is never a good thing, and I wish Mr. Drake well.

              2. menton1 Jan 11, 2010 06:53 AM

                The NYTimes reviewed Alice's in Lake Hopatcong, where Drake has apparently landed. However, it appears to have made an egregious error in reporting that the restaurant in Rahway is still open! Lol!

                About 3 months ago, the NJ section of the Times did a blurb about a deli that had closed the month before. Seems like they need to get their act together to equal the standards of the rest of the newspaper!


                8 Replies
                1. re: menton1
                  LEOFONT Jan 11, 2010 08:40 PM

                  Yes, Drake is fully employed at Alices in Lake Hopatcong, and yes, the Rahway location is closed and yes, permanently, ....I blogged when they first opened a few years ago, that Rahway was not the place to open up anything, and I was soundly criticized by many including the Mayors wife, who's hubby conned Drake into thinking Rahway was the new "renaissance" city, which of course, it's not .....a Westfield, Hoboken, and Red Bank it is not.

                  1. re: LEOFONT
                    nyebaby37 Jan 12, 2010 04:08 AM

                    If I were from Rahway, which Im not, I would be a tad p/o'd you wrote "a Westfield, Hoboken, and Red Bank it is not" ... Dont knock a town thats been trying to reform itself for years. That being said, I am prob the ONLY person that ever posts on CH that DIDNT like DD. It was pretentious, the menu was weird and the help was snobby unless you were alot of dough. on overpriced bottles of wine. Its tough for ANY restaurant to stay in business, rent is astronomical. Even Tavern on the Green closed, as did Cafe de Artistes. Things change, it was time for DD to move on.

                    1. re: nyebaby37
                      HillJ Jan 14, 2010 06:02 AM

                      Couldn't agree more and Asbury Park is a perfect example. Knocked, kicked and dragged by some while many, many courageous owners opened and continue to open restaurants in that city. Why compare at all. Be adventureous and support locals who do a stellar job in a horrible economy.

                      1. re: HillJ
                        ambrose Jan 14, 2010 06:22 AM

                        Interesting to note that David Drake might have been ahead of the curve in Asbury Park but his plans to open a restaurant there never materialized (reported by Bossa Nova in a different thread).


                        1. re: ambrose
                          HillJ Jan 14, 2010 06:30 AM

                          Many of the threads here on CH/Mid-A, from diehard dining regulars, seemed to agree that when a owner, owns too many locations, potential problems of all sorts begin to show. DD comes to mind immediately. Having said that, I don't wish anyone in the biz a closure and one thing I will cop to and notice all the time is customer loyalty; fickle, irregardless of location. Dining dollars precious. It's not an easy biz.

                    2. re: LEOFONT
                      Spiritchaser Jan 20, 2010 11:38 AM

                      Don't blame Rahway for DD closing. Blame DD for it closing, blame DD for spreading himself too thin and diluting the product.

                      Isn't it wonderful that anyone with a computer can have a blog and comment on anything they choose to?

                      1. re: Spiritchaser
                        MishyPoo Jan 20, 2010 11:59 AM

                        no, I dont blame David Drake for the closing of his restaurant, I blame the economy. He had to leave dD because he could no longer pay himself a salary. He sought out a full time job at Alice's so he could support himself and his family. That is the business! Up until the end, and I was there a week before it closed, everything was still top notch. Service did not decline, the food did not suffer. Maybe he was spread a bit thin, but I dont see it like that. What I saw was a successful chef trying to be a successful chef. meh, my opinion...and you know what they say about opinions right?


                        1. re: MishyPoo
                          Spiritchaser Jan 21, 2010 04:29 AM

                          GF and I were there was about 3 weeks ago and left mostly unhappy with the evening. We were long time diners at DD and the first 3, maybe 4 times, we were completely impressed and thought it held it's own against most any restaurant (including all but the big guns in NYC). But after the initial visits it started to slide but we still frequented it because even in their falling it was still better than most other choices in the area. But with the opening of the place in NB and the introduction of the new chef (Turso) it lost it's spark and we stopped going. We gave it at least 2 or 3 subsequent visits to see if it had returned to it's former self but to no avail. After a long break we decided one more try (3 weeks or so ago) which is the evening I mentioned in the beginning of this post. We knew nothing of the pending closure and even if they had not closed thier doors that evening would have been our last visit.

                          Personally I think what my GF and I expierenced, over the years, was what was ultimately the demise of DD.

                  2. t
                    tshea Jan 12, 2010 07:53 AM

                    I'm crushed. I've eaten there several times -- one of the best restaurants ever, in my humble opinion. Far better than Daryl's in terms of both food and service. There's nothing in the central NJ area that came close.

                    1. y
                      Yellowshirt Jan 15, 2010 12:13 PM

                      Restaurant David Drake in Rahway is closed. Sign in window says it may reopen in spring at a new location. Maybe ther ewill be a Bistro Drake in the future

                      The steakhouse in Berkely Hieghts, "David Drake Prime" is not being built as the hotel is not being built

                      David Drake is no longer affiliated with Daryl Wine Bar in NB

                      Drake is at Alice's in Lake Hopatcong

                      Tough times for high end dining in NJ

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Yellowshirt
                        HillJ Jan 15, 2010 01:48 PM

                        Not just high end. Any restaurant. Three of my favs went out right before Thanksgiving.

                      2. menton1 Jan 21, 2010 07:17 AM

                        It was also closed on Sunday. That's my main day for restaurant dining, so I only was able to go once.

                        Why would a restaurant pick Sunday to close rather than a weekday? Sunday is a big restaurant day. I never understood that. Another place I'd like to attend but I've never been to, because of Sunday closings is Bistro 18 in Montclair. Oh well.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: menton1
                          chefMD Jan 10, 2011 05:00 AM

                          Sunday is not a big business day for all restaurants. The main reason, IMO, is so we (the chefs and our staffs) have a day to spend with our families and friends. If I couldn't close on a Sunday, I would never see anyone, ever.....

                          1. re: chefMD
                            GraydonCarter Jan 10, 2011 06:18 AM

                            I always expect art galleries, barber shops, night clubs, and fine dining establishments to be closed on Mondays

                            1. re: chefMD
                              menton1 Jan 10, 2011 07:38 AM

                              I think that if spending time with family & friends is important, operating a restaurant is the last occupation one should choose... I vote for banking! Lol.

                          2. 2
                            2455Bklyn Jan 22, 2010 03:25 PM

                            I just heard about David Drake and am surprised since the place came across and expensive and high end. The space was small so I wonder how much did it actually cost to run. When I went last year around Valentines Day not on the day, my husband and I both had the chef tasting menu with wine pairing. We had a very good time and the food was good but we did think it was over priced and not a value. We had only gone once which says a lot since we are willing to pay for good food. It's a shame when any business closes since that is a tremendous toll on the owner and people who put so much effort into the place.

                            I checked the website for the place Alice's and although it looks nice there is no way I'll drive that far for dinner. I'm in Maplewood and there are plenty of good places locally.

                            1. GraydonCarter Jan 6, 2011 06:59 PM

                              Rahway Rising reports that The Rail House 1449 opened in the former David Drake location.

                              Owner Larry Fishman was a former owner of The Stone Pony in Asbury Park until several years ago.

                              Restaurantpassion.com describes the menu as "contemporary American cuisine" with the range for an average dinner entree between $15 and $22, and recommends reservations.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: stryker
                                meagan Jan 11, 2011 03:45 AM


                                Doesn't look like David Drake has any plans to return to Rahway. Interesting article.

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