Alan Manzo from Shepherd's Pie performs at West End Bar and Grille.
Scott Elk from Guilty Pleasure performs at West End Bar and Grille.
Eddie Testa of the Eddie Testa band performs at West End Bar And Grille
LONG BRANCH: Since first visiting Long Branch's beaches as a child, Gus Suero, always dreamed of one day becoming part of the Long Branch community.
So, when the chance to purchase the building located at 100 Brighton Ave. became an option, Suero jumped at the opportunity and opened West End Bar and Grille. Suero has owned and managed restaurants in the past and still owns one called The Lobby in Elizabeth, but has made West End Bar and Grille his priority as he attempts to bring stability to a location that has seen businesses come and go over the years.
"We're trying to be part of the community," Suero said. "We want to open up our walls so people can see what we're doing and be transparent, so there's no mystery."
Suero calls West End Bar and Grille a "hybrid" and said that is the key to its success.
"You try focusing too much on food or focusing too much on the nightlife and it doesn't work," Suero said. "We're looking to have great food and let people watch live sports and music."
It starts with the food, with the mahi mahi fish tacos emerging as a crowd favorite. Plus there's all the traditional bar fare such as burgers, appetizers and even pizza made across the street at Scala's Pizzeria.
For the adults in the crowd, there will soon be gelato and sorbet infused with alcohol served in the restaurant and in the space on the side of the building.
The musical performances from Wednesday through Saturday are also what makes West End Bar And Grille special.
"Entertainment is definitely our focus right now," Suero said. "We're looking to maintain the live music culture and support local live bands."
He said he wants to encourage artists to bring their own style of music to the restaurant and said every type of musician has hit the stage from rock and roll to jazz performers.
Entertainment and Event Coordinator Debbie Noce said the open mic nights and all-night happy hours on Wednesdays have been successful so far. There will also be karaoke nights on Thursdays starting in mid-September.
Suero said there is also no cover charge to see the bands perform.
"Music is just like air, it should be free," he said. "We want to be an extension of West End Park, which has live music on Sunday nights."
He said he is committed to West End Bar and Grille for the longterm.
"We plan next year to open up the Brighton Avenue side with all glass walls, and we're hoping toward the end of our second year to have a second floor rooftop beer garden," he said. "We're optimistic and we believe in it."