Michael Fiorianti is on a mission to revive a piece of Bloomfield history: the prohibition-era restaurant Braun’s Cocktail Tavern & Lounge. The chef and owner’s passion for food ignited as a child when he “sat at his grandmother’s feet” and learned his way around the kitchen.
Since then he has worked in numerous restaurants around the country and opened one of his own. But he never quite realized his culinary vision, until now.
When Fiorianti stumbled upon a building that had been abandoned for the past 10 years, something immediately felt right.
“When I walked into the space and saw how [it] was still intact [despite] the gaudy stuff that had been thrown on top of it over the years I realized how beautiful it was,” he shared with Best of NJ.
History Comes Alive
Chef Michael felt a nostalgic pull to the spot, which became the Firehouse Tavern in the ‘70s. The tin tiles unearthed on the ceiling matched the ones in the New York City apartment where he grew up.
In 2016 the chef used the space to launch Satis Bistro Bloomfield, but felt the chic eatery was not the right fit. So, he is transforming and rebranding it as Braun’s Tavern & Dining Room.
Despite renovations, the building radiates historic character and the 40-foot-long bar is original.
“We just had to clean it up and shine it back up,” he explained.
It was even more exciting to discover old photographs and a matchbook cover picturing an advertisement for the original Braun’s Tavern hidden among the dust.
The new menu and family friendly focus ushered the early 1900s establishment into the 21st century.
Following a soft opening on April 17, there will be ribbon cutting ceremony with the Mayor of Bloomfield that is open to the public on April 25th from 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm.
Food for the Whole Family
Hungry diners can enjoy brunch, lunch, dinner and happy hour at the casual neighborhood restaurant.
“We want it to be a family place where people can come with their kids,” the father of two explained.
Children under eight can eat for free from the kids menu before eight o’clock.
This modern tavern will offer hearty and delicious meals crafted with responsibly-sourced ingredients from local farms.
“We will continue to give the same attention to food that we did at Satis,” Chef Michael emphasized.
“We want to give locals a more affordable option with the same level of quality. The food comes first and foremost and will be paired with great options from the bar.”
Warm up with Braun’s signature pot roast, a braised local Angus brisket with vegetables in a mushroom and onion gravy. Try freshly-made pasta or one of their many burgers—lamb or veggie, anyone?
And, do not miss a taste of the chef’s current favorite dish: sweet, spicy and sour tamarind-glazed lamb ribs finished with pickled carrot slaw and mint.
On the separate bar menu, look for wings with honey chili glaze.
Whether folks recall Braun’s Cocktail Tavern & Lounge, sipped drinks at the Firehouse Tavern or have never heard of it before, Chef Michael looks forward to educating guests about its history.
“Braun’s [is] a piece of Bloomfield from so long ago. It has been a diamond in the rough for a long, long time.”
Braun’s Tavern & Dining Room
289 Glenwood Avenue
Bloomfield, NJ 07003
Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday: 11:00am-9:00pm (dinner/bar)
Thursday-Saturday: 11:00am-11:00pm (dinner/bar)
Brunch served Saturday and Sunday
All Photos: © Braun’s Tavern / Facebook