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Bell and Whistle in Hopewell--Anyone Have Info?

I was riding thru Hopewell the other day and noticed this spot, behind Boro Bean. I think I saw a sign on the door about hiring servers, which led me to think they're probably not open yet. Anyway, just curious if anyone knows anything about it. I haven't seen anything on this board yet. I hope it's something exciting and interesting! The facade, from what I could see from my bike, looked pretty cool.

Thanks!
Brownie

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Boro Bean
9 E Broad St, Hopewell, NJ 08525

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  1. I passed by there earlier this week and the sign caught my eye. Their website is up: http://bell-whistle.com but for they need to fix it - the menus won't come up.

    I did see on their website that they close really early - Thursday until 8pm and Friday and Saturday until 9:30pm. Why so early?? I remember seeing their sign that they are a market so maybe it's more like a cafe rather than a restaurant? Anyways looks interesting. I like the aesthetics of the sign out front of their location. I hope they get their website fixed soon so we can see what the menu looks like.

    5 Replies
    1. re: pellegrino31

      I haven't been there either, and the menus still aren't working, but my impression based on the rest of the website is that it's a restaurant. There is nothing on the website that suggests it's a market at all. Is that what the sign says?

      1. re: flourgirl

        The sign said something about take out and dine in. I agree their website looks like they are a restaurant. But their hours also made me think it was a cafe or something casual - I mean, closing at 9:30pm on a Saturday?

        1. re: pellegrino31

          I agree that the hours seem kind of strange. But I still think that the impression they are conveying on the website says more "fine dining" than "cafe". They talk about their "gracious dining experience" and make a pretty big deal out of their chefs as well. Anyway, I'm interested to hear from anyone who has tried it.I wish the darn menus worked!

          1. re: flourgirl

            Has anyone notified them that the site is broken?

            1. re: Tay

              I phoned them the other day. All I got was a message saying their mail box was full!

    2. It's July 8th and still not open. Walked by and it's definitely a restaurant. The architect (a friend) said "any day now" about a month ago. So, we figure some thing's wrong - our know-nothing guess being a licensing problem with some regulator.

      1. We just got back from dinner and I had to post. Both our dinners were superb. I had the gumbo and then the zydeco pork chop. She had the clam chowder and the crab cakes. Wonderful and distinctly different flavors (not like some places that fall in love with some condiment or other and use it on everything). The gumbo was perfectly seasoned with a delicate broth; I can't STAND the gumbo with so much roux that your fork stands up straight. My chop was perfectly done, medium, with a great rub. Any more seasoning would have been distracting.
        I tasted her crab cake and it had a subtle, mellow taste. Kind of tough to explain; the pork chops grab ahold of you and the crab cakes kind of sneak up on you. Demonstrated a real touch of individuality on the chef's part.

        Excellent service, great ambiance. They dropped some serious coin on the building; very elegant but definitely funky. It looks like they're setting up for outside dining sometime soon.

        I'm not a real fan of the Blue Bottle (I know, everybody raves about it) but this place WILL give it serious competition.

        3 Replies
        1. re: KidAgain

          Thanks for the review, KidAgain. Always nice to see someone new on Chowhound. :-))

          1. re: ambrose

            Good review, KidAgain. Didn't eat there but poked my nose in the other day. Menu looks good, and they were really friendly. BTW, I know you're "legit" because I saw your review on yelp:).

          2. re: KidAgain

            Great to hear...is it BYO or do they have wine/cocktails?

            KidAgain, I have to agree with you about Blue Bottle though admittedly it's just based on one dinner where the food was just okay and the service as pretty disappointing.

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            Blue Bottle Cafe
            101 E Broad St, Hopewell, NJ 08525

          3. The website is up and running. Officially BYOB but a selection of wine is available at the restaurant

            http://www.bell-whistle.com/

            3 Replies
            1. re: tom246

              NJ laws allow restaurants to serve wines from NJ vineyards. So, you are increasingly seeing restaurants doing this. Brothers Moon in Hopewell has also taken this approach for quite some time. I don't think Blue Bottle does.

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              Brothers Moon
              7 W Broad St, Hopewell, NJ 08525

              Blue Bottle Cafe
              101 E Broad St, Hopewell, NJ 08525

              1. re: newmarket2

                Yes, its a trend and I think its good for everyone. The restaurant can offer some wine and some local wineries can also benefit.

                1. re: tom246

                  Loved the decor of this new restaurant. It's very small but stylish. The serice was fine. My only dissapointment was that my appetizer was lukewarm. I had the steak and shrimp appetizer. My husband' oyster appetizer was hot as it should be. The mushroom entree and the salmon entree were both okay. We'll try some different appetizers and meals there next time.

            2. We had dinner at this new BYOB. Overall, it was OK. I'd say give them a few months and things should improve.

              The space is simply beautiful, but with cement floors, high hard ceilings, a wall of glass and wood/stone/tile walls the place became very loud, very fast. Maybe if they draped some pillars of gathered heavy velvet curtains between each of the windows, it would help.

              Also, the lighting here is too bright. No warmth. I looked up and they have what appeared to be recessed CFL's. Would be nicer if the CFL's were replaced with dimmable CFL's with a "warm" color versus the "cool" color. Adding simple candle votives to the tables could also go a long way here.

              The large patio outside looks very inviting, but it's empty now, waiting on permits.

              Service was young and learning. Every question or request was met with "I'll have to ask if it's OK". Can we close the window? I'll have to ask... I'd like fries (available elsewhere on the menu) in place of rice. I'll have to ask if it's OK... Also, throughout the evening, busing dishes and replacing utensils was hit or miss and we needed to ask for empty water glasses to be refilled.

              We ordered the crab/crawfish dip, shrimp and gumbo to start. All were very good. The gumbo was only lukewarm, but flavorful with a nice amount of crawfish.

              For entrees, we ordered Zydeco pork chops, crab cakes and duck. The duck was enjoyed and was the best of the entrees. Crab cakes were heavy on the filler and light on the crab.

              Zydeco pork chops (2 chops served with a very cool mini fry basket of excellent seasoned fries) were well spiced, but one of two was served seared - nearly raw. I enjoyed a couple bites of the first chop and cut into the 2nd to find it way undercooked. The owner/mgr quickly apologized for the undercooked pork and took the plate back for replacement. After about 10 minutes, I received a new plate with 1 lone skinny chop and the excellent fries. Wondering what happened to the 2nd chop, I asked the owner/mgr who said the kitchen replaced only the one that was undercooked. OK, whatever. She offered desserts on the house and took the chops off the bill. Much appreciated and we thanked the owner for being on top of the situation.

              Desserts are made outside. We shared a dense/dry chocolate cake and a uninspired key lime pie with a not so good, shortbread crust. We wish the desserts were prepared at the restaurant and the addition of espresso to the menu would be welcomed.

              Overall, a nice addition to Hopewell. We look forward to returning again, trying more of the menu and will report back.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Foody4life

                Walked by this place while waiting for Nomad to open a month or so ago. Looks to have potential, will give it a try although its hard to be in Hopewell and not go to Blue Bottle or Nomad :)
                Thanks for your report!

                1. re: tom246

                  Tom, here's the Zydeco chops with creole tomato relish and the mini fry basket of fries to wet your "whistle"!

                   
              2. Is this the place that if you were standing in front of Nomad Pizza it would be across the street and to the left? If so, this place was jam packed on Friday night while we waited at Nomad. Lots of music coming from there as well, and a ton of lights. I wasn't sure what restaurant this was. Will have to give it a whirl....Friday night Tom246? ;-) -mJ

                  1. re: ambrose

                    We tried this place for the first time tonight. We were so disappointed. Everything was top notch except for the food. We were expecting so much but our appetizer (shrimp and steak skewers) was bland and our entrees (ribs and salmon) were average at best. There was nothing special or unique about any of the food. If you are a foodie looking for an amazing meal, try the Blue Bottle down the street.