A trio of adults who had been buddies since elementary school took the template for their success as suburban owners of a restaurant near a football stadium and applied it to their next venture–an urban restaurant and bar in a busy city location near a thriving indoor sports arena.
Redd’s Biergarten, an independently owned, traditional German beer garden located on Market Street’s bustling restaurant row, welcomed its first patrons one year ago when it officially opened in April of 2016. Located between Broad and Mulberry Streets, Redd’s Biergarten offers a unique communal dining and bar experience in the ground floor retail space of 220 Market Street in the RockPlaza Lofts complex.
The opening of Redd’s in Newark’s historic Four Corners District one year ago significantly added to the revitalization of the neighborhood by filling a niche that had been missing from Newark, a city once known for its breweries and beer barons. Designed to be a communal gathering place, Redd’s is a garden-style restaurant that features the same long community tables found in Germany, that encourages socializing, meeting new people and stimulating conversations over authentic German food, beer and wine.
Redd’s owners – Doug Palsi, Dan Palsi and Frank Pinto – have been friends since grammar school and, combined, have more than 75 years of experience in the hospitality industry. The Palsi family has successfully operated Redd’s Restaurant & Bar in Carlstadt, NJ, near MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands, since 2002. They chose nearby Newark as the location for their new establishment due to the growing number of residents and employees in the neighborhood, and as a result of customers who encouraged them to follow the New Jersey Devils to Newark.
“My partners Dan and Doug Palsi have backgrounds in bars, hospitality and culinary, as well,” said co-owner Frank Pinto. “We all worked in the restaurant business growing up; however after finishing college and my MBA I worked in Corporate America and owned a consulting firm for 15 years which I sold in 2014. Doug Palsi owns and operates Redd’s Restaurant in Carlstadt with his parents John and Elsie Palsi. Redd’s was the hometown bar for the Devils and when they moved to the Prudential Center in 2007. The fans implored Doug to open a venue near the Prudential Center.
“The brand expansion of Redd’s to Newark was Doug’s idea and dream,” Pinto continued. “Dan Palsi is a Culinary Institute of America graduate who completed a one year plus externship in Munich in the ’80s prior to graduating. That experience prompted Dan’s love for German food, beer and culture. I joined Dan in Munich for a period of time during his externship and had the same feeling about the country. Dan was the executive chef at the Manasquan River Country Club prior to coming on as a partner and in a full-time capacity as our General Manager. We have been friends since kindergarten and all grew up in East Rutherford in the Meadowlands. We were all really excited to finally have the ability to build a business and work together.’
Pinto owned and operated a consulting company for 15 years. His firm provided learning development and staffing solutions to Fortune 1000 clients.
“Doug and Dan had scouted locations in Newark for a number of years and finally found the space we are in today which we developed from scratch,” Pinto said. “Redd’s Biergarten is 7,000 sq. feet, and the only venue on Restaurant Row that has entrances on Edison Place and Market Street. Since we first started the project we have witnessed a good deal of growth from a business and residential perspective in Newark. Newark has many great restaurants, bars and venues, but didn’t have a German Beer Garden, and that created and excellent business opportunity for us.”
Although many entrepreneurs in the same position as Redd’s trio of owners frequently seek small business loans to help launch the financing of a new establishment, Pinto admits that securing funding isn’t always easy.
“Unfortunately, banks and lending institutions don’t typically like to lend to start up restaurants due to the failure rate in year one,” Pinto shared. “That being said, it wasn’t easy, but we self-funded this project. I am happy to report we had an excellent first year and were able to pay down a good deal of our start-up costs and debt. We couldn’t be happier about that.”
Pinto says that he and his partners are “always looking at expanding our menus, beer offerings and business model in general. It is our hope to move towards providing more catering services both on and off-premise. Additionally, we do keep on the lookout for other locations that fit our business model. However, right now our primary focus is Redd’s Biergarten and our customers.”
Redd’s Biergarten features a full-service bar and dining room along with takeout and a limited delivery service. Over the years, the Redd’s brand has been widely recognized as one that knows how to service the needs of sports fans and concertgoers; so much, so that Redd’s hosted the Pro Football Hall of Fame Tailgate Party for Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium. The owners of Redd’s Biergarten have established a similar relationship with the NJ Devils, Seton Hall Basketball, The Red Bulls, sports fans, concertgoers, and Newark’s general and business population.