What restaurant would thrive in Hoboken?

What if you owned this downtown restaurant space in Hoboken?

This spot at 5 Marine View Plaza has been home to at least three eateries over the past few years. SaladWorks, Zebu Forno and Brooklyn Bread. All of those operations didn’t make it long enough. Some construction work is going on now, and the windows have been papered up.

Is there any kind of food service business that would make a killing here, no matter what the rent? Would it be fast food (like a Taco Bell), or something a bit more fancy? Or is this area just not high-trafficked enough?

Brooklyn Bread now empty in Hoboken

12/6/2010 Update:

If you read the earlier Hoboken411 update about Brooklyn Bread from January 2010 – I said I wouldn’t be surprised if the place didn’t make it through the end of 2010.

Guess I was right.

1/7/2010 Update:

This location of Real Estate in Hoboken (110 River Street) has been boring me quite a bit over the past year or so. Something about it is un-inspiring and un-inviting. Not sure if it’s the bland design, or what. With that being said, here’s your equally bland Hoboken411 business update for this hour…

Brooklyn Bread is a new name, but same place?

Frankly, I shot these photos as a “walk by” in my quest to find a reliable shipping depot in Hoboken this week (more on that at a later time). I’ll tell you this – the last I knew about this Zebu Forno franchise (FYI – the name just didn’t have a good sound to it, which is part of the reason it failed & changed..) was that they “broke” their franchise agreement to “go off on their own.”

While I enjoyed the pizza at this place at some point in the past – the looks of the congealed room-temperature slices in the window the other day disrupted my desire to go inside and find out what the deal was. Other residents told me about the negative changes at this place, and I sort of lost interest. Many others who work nearby said the value didn’t have a “sweet spot” (i.e. “expensive” was the most used word) and the number of folks who frequent the Subway next door is an order of magnitude higher. Whatever, not my investment, so I don’t care.

Lastly – I recall at one point in the past 20 years, the NYC tri-state area sort of became “giggly” when the name “Brooklyn” was used in any kind of business entity – like it stood for some kind of quality or uniqueness (beer, bread, pizza, etc.) – however, it’s my belief that the choice to change the name to “Brooklyn Bread” is a day late and a dollar short.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this spot goes out of business in 2010. Good effort, though!

9/15/2009 Update:

De-Franchised

Some folks were wondering what happened to the sign at the Zebu Forno cafe (110 River St.) – and wondered if it will ever make the Doomed category here on Hoboken411.

I asked the owner what the deal was – and he simply said they’ve disassociated themselves with the franchise, and will be remodeling. Haven’t had much time to swing by while they’ve been open.

Anyone else still eat there regularly?

zebu-forno-still-open-in-hoboken-nj-but-changing-names

4/3/2008:

A few days late of making in within “Q1 2008,” Zebu Forno is now open! Check it out at 110 River Street.

Hoboken Zebu Forno opens

Zebu Forno, the European-style bakery and cafe, has opened its third New Jersey location in Hoboken.

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The Hoboken Zebu Forno opens each day at 7:00 a.m., and closes at 10:00 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays, 11:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 9:00 p.m. on Sundays.

Zebu Forno’s menu includes fresh-baked breads, muffins, bagels, and pastries; breakfast sandwiches; omelets; homemade soups; handmade thin-crust and Focaccia pizzas; Panini sandwiches, wraps and other hot and cold sandwiches served on home-baked breads; fresh salads; quiche; gelato; fresh fruit cups; espresso drinks; a variety of coffees and teas; and a soft drink selection that includes Boylan’s soda on tap. All menu items and baked goods are available for takeout, augmented by a selection of pastas, sauces, olive oils, other grocery items, and Zebu mugs and accessories that are merchandised throughout the store. Catering services are also available.

With its oven and baking preparation area situated at the front of the store to allow patrons and passersby to view the baking process first-hand, the new cafe incorporates the comfortable, relaxed atmosphere that Zebu Forno has become known for. Seating for 56 patrons is offered at conventional tables, stool-height tables and at groupings of Indonesian roll back leather easy chairs.

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Walls are adorned with original murals by New Jersey artist Gregg Hinlicky, including a major piece celebrating great artists of the past, all with ties to New Jersey or New York. The work features the likenesses of Aaron Douglas, Mark Rothko, Alfred Stieglitz, John Sloan, Alex Raymond, Roy Lichtenstein, Lee Krasner, Winslow Homer, Frederick Church, and Tamara de Lempicka. Numbered guides to the artists depicted on the murals are provided on colorful bookmarks available at the counter.

The eclectic atmosphere is rounded out by such features as rustic wood plank floors, a ceiling design that is two-thirds exposed, low voltage track lighting, exposed brick walls, flat screen TVs, satellite music, and free Wi-Fi.

While Jeff Gallucci and other family members will take an active role in all aspects of the Hoboken Zebu, the cafe’s day-to-day operations will be directed by general manager Danielle Kapner, formerly a pastry sous chef for four years at the Gotham Bar and Grill in New York City. She will lead a team of 15 to 20 full- and part-time employees.

“We are excited to introduce Zebu’s great food, drink and relaxed atmosphere to Hoboken,” said Jeff Gallucci. “Residents of this vibrant city and daytime workers will find Zebu a perfect place to gather for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or unwind for mid-afternoon or late-night snacks. And for those heading to the PATH, ferry or any of the nearby office buildings, we also offer the ability to grab a quick cup of coffee, bagel, muffin or pastry to-go. We look forward to greeting our new neighbors in the weeks ahead.”

3/3/2008 Update:

Zebu Forno is slowly progressing. They have four weeks left to meet their Q1 2008 deadline for opening.

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Thanks to “cwebs” for today’s biz pic updates!

11/6/2007:

Replacing the defunct Saladworks that couldn’t last despite being smack dab in front of a giant office building, is Zebu Forno. The Marineview Plaza trio of storefronts will once again be complete, as they join Citibank and Subway along the strip that faces the J. Wiley headquarters. Expect them to be open by Spring 2008.

Hoboken marks their third location, on top of the original in Red Bank, and another in Holmdel. It’s owned and operated by Gallucci Associates, who’s previous work includes Balducci’s and Dean & Deluca.

Zebu Forno’s bakery and cafe offers “fresh-baked breads, muffins, bagels, and pastries; breakfast sandwiches; omelets; homemade soups; Panini sandwiches, wraps and other hot and cold sandwiches served on home-baked breads; handmade thin-crust pizzas; fresh salads; quiche; gelato; fresh fruit cups; espresso drinks; a variety of coffees and teas; and a soft drink selection that includes Boylan’s soda on tap. All menu items are available for takeout, augmented by a selection of fresh-baked goods, Zebu travel mugs and other branded items merchandised throughout the stores.”

See the Zebu Forno website for more information.

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126 Responses

  1. WallStreet says:

    They Deliver now!!!!!!!! Thank you

    201-653-6900 Try the pizzzzaaaa

  2. jdross19 says:

    I picked up a loaf of pumpernickel. Cost me $6! Wow. But i’ll tell you, that was one hell of a loaf of bread…

  3. exm says:

    Is Zebu doomed/closed? It looks like it.

  4. freewheelin says:

    Damn, that sucks. They make a great eggplant parm.

  5. oceanbloo says:

    The service at Zebu Forno was always wonderful. Because it never really got that busy, it was always a great place to go.

    I always felt kind of sorry for it, though – it didn’t seem to get enough traffic. The egg sandwiches were great – but lunch sandwiches definitely needed a little spicing up.

    I’ll be back after the renovations.

  6. jdross19 says:

    Stopped in yesterday for the wifi (very speedy). Had an amazing omelette (american cheese, sausage, bacon). Really fluffy, delicious, packed with flavor. Came with some fresh-baked bread and fruit salad.

  7. DEADMAU5 says:

    With a name like Brooklyn, you know the hipsters will now come in droves

  8. escaped68 says:

    Brooklyn,I have seen these stores all over north carolina. It just another franchise.

  9. mooshu says:

    Those windows are too dark.

  10. jdross19 says:

    Well, looks like Brooklyn Bread is changing its identity – the man behind the counter handed me a mexican menu (Mission Burrito) and it looks pretty empty in there. However, they still had a few bread products on display – most importantly, the fresh bagels, which are the best in Hoboken by a longshot. I really hope they keep making those bagels every day.

    • joey says:

      The Cake Boss took over the lease his father in law will open a new pizzeria there.[quote comment=”199197″]Well, looks like Brooklyn Bread is changing its identity – the man behind the counter handed me a mexican menu (Mission Burrito) and it looks pretty empty in there. However, they still had a few bread products on display – most importantly, the fresh bagels, which are the best in Hoboken by a longshot. I really hope they keep making those bagels every day.[/quote]

      • Hoboken17 says:

        I think mandatory that every retail shop that closes down should be made into a new pizzeria.[quote comment=”200645″]The Cake Boss took over the lease his father in law will open a new pizzeria there.[/quote]

  11. QJ201 says:

    You know the food and service must suck if they can’t stay in business when located directly across from an office building.

    • Angry Bird says:

      I don’t think one office building across the street would be enough to save them anyway. Nothing can change the fact that this location is the absolute worst. Most glaring is that the place is underground. Sure, being partially or wholly underground saves a buck or two, but the savings is not enough to keep the place breathing. If you can’t afford Hoboken rent above ground…I would suggest moving the business someplace with light and air.[quote comment=”200648″]You know the food and service must suck if they can’t stay in business when located directly across from an office building.[/quote]

      • Journey says:

        Over the last 1 1/2 I have walked past this place many times, they are rarely open during the evening rush – that could hurt anyone’s business.[quote comment=”200659″]I don’t think one office building across the street would be enough to save them anyway. Nothing can change the fact that this location is the absolute worst. Most glaring is that the place is underground. Sure, being partially or wholly underground saves a buck or two, but the savings is not enough to keep the place breathing. If you can’t afford Hoboken rent above ground…I would suggest moving the business someplace with light and air.

        [/quote]

  12. Craig-D says:

    I imagine that the lease costs in this building are so astronomical that only national entities (like the Citibank and Subway next door) can afford it long-term while remaining solvent. One of the following businesses will take over this spot: a bank, a real estate office, a nail salon, a pizzeria, or yet another Starbucks. Does anything else ever open in Hoboken?

  13. felicity4 says:

    Nothing but a high-volume chain would survive considering the crazy rents. And that sucks for Hoboken. Anything else will start out with a bang and fizzle within a year. Like clockwork.

  14. New to Hoboken says:

    Taco Bell all the way!

  15. mooshu says:

    This just doesn’t feel like a spot for a restaurant. Unless it’s a Chipotle…

  16. yourbrainondrugs says:

    Shake Shack or RUB..

  17. sissy says:

    Chick-fil-A ! There is a huge fan base in the metro area but alas no Chick-fil-A in a 20-mile radius. I think people would travel from NYC for a fix.

    • ab005g says:

      Sissy- There’s a Chick-fil-A in Manhattan, right by NYU. [quote comment=”214832″]Chick-fil-A ! There is a huge fan base in the metro area but alas no Chick-fil-A in a 20-mile radius. I think people would travel from NYC for a fix.[/quote]

      • sissy says:

        Yes, that’s true..its actually in one of the freshman dorms. Unfortunately, its a Chick-fil-A express meaning a limited menu and pre-made items under a heat lamp. A full-fledged stand alone location would get a lot of attention.[quote comment=”214833″]Sissy- There’s a Chick-fil-A in Manhattan, right by NYU.[/quote]

  18. Mitch Ultimato says:

    Chipotle would do great here.

  19. green giant says:

    This is a hard spot unless the owners have a good financial backing. I worked at the Subway my senior year of college when they first opened. The rent was high back then, I can only imagine what it is now. While the spot is great for lunch rush (12pm – 2pm) due to the office building across the street, there wasn’t really any other big rushes. Chipotle may work, it definitely needs to be big enough name to draw people over there since most people who are undecided will walk along Washington Street looking for food.

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