THE RICHMOND REPUBLIC, SISTER TO THE HOP SHOPPE, PLAY, AND PIZZA PARLOR, IS SERVING UP SHARABLE AMERICAN CLASSICS AND CRAFT COCKTAILS IN ELTINGVILLE BY JESSICA JONES GORMAN PHOTOS
BY ALEX GERTS
When it comes to bringing innovative food concepts to Island residents, Carmine Gualtieri and his business partners have had some seasoning. After successfully launching Play in 2014, rebranding the Annadale bar into a craft beer centric pub serving ramekins of baked mac ‘n’ cheese and garlic knot sliders, they tried the market again in 2016 and opened a SoHo style burger joint on Van Duzer Street in Stapleton called the Hop Shoppe, slinging burgers on brioche buns to a gourmand North Shore audience.
A third shot at culinary success came in 2017 with the debut of the Pizza Parlor, a throwback Italian eatery and Play’s next door neighbor on Sneden Lane. Now, the trio is reinvigorating a heretofore beleaguered restaurant space in Eltingville with Richmond Republic, an American gastro pub where oversized pretzels, well appointed burgers, and sharable tacos are served with 150 kinds of beer.
“I’ve been in the business my whole life and just felt it was necessary for this area to have a concept like this,” Gualtieri said of the new endeavor, which he opened in September with Craig Regina and Mike LiDonni. “We looked at the space for three years and renovated it over a span of six months. Everyone around here serves Italian, so we knew we had to think outside the box. The area was void of an American style restaurant, though, with a good bar and great beer and cocktail program.”
“We have a very diverse menu; we serve everything from burgers to tacos to steaks, with a couple of vegan options mixed in,” he noted. “What kind of separates us from the competition is that everything is basically made to share for the table.”
Like Pastrami Egg Rolls, French Onion Grilled Cheese, Tortellini Mac ‘n’ Cheese, Baja Nachos, and Fresh Mozzarella Sticks wrapped in imported prosciutto and served with arugula pesto and marinara. Wings are tossed in four homemade sauces: Buffalo, Roasted Garlic Old Bay, Chinatown BBQ, and Spicy Diablo. But this spot serves more than just pub grub. Its 16 ounce New York Strip Steak is smothered in rosemary garlic herb butter and served with garlic mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus and grilled jumbo shrimp (for an additional $8). Seared Diver Sea Scallops are flavored with garlic, lemon, capers, and white wine, and served with a roasted cauliflower purée. A New England Clam Bake features shrimp, clams, mussels, corn, chorizo, potatoes, and shallots, and a Pan Seared Chicken Breast is served on a bed of red quinoa.
Truffle Parmesan Fries can be added to any entrée, and Boozy Milkshakes, filled with Jim Beam Vanilla and Bailey’s Irish Cream, come in three different varieties.
The 6,500 square foot restaurant and beer hall used to house Desert Rose Cafe, and was also the short lived home of BBQ joint Smoke’N’Brew. Gualtieri’s crew gutted the entire space to create an industrial vibe.
“We used 150 year old wood reclaimed from a tobacco farm in Kentucky,” he said. “We put in 40 65 inch televisions and reserved a space for pool, darts, and arcade games. We have a younger crowd on the weekends and families and neighborhood regulars throughout the week. But I’m seeing people from the North Shore and other neighborhoods stream in as well,” adding that the varied cocktail menu has proven to be a big draw.
“I did the research and felt that most of the South Shore restaurants had a heavy focus on martinis, so I wanted to take it in a different direction,” the restaurateur said, describing drinks like The Basil Smash a blend of Plymouth gin, fresh lemon juice, St. Germaine Elderflower, basil and muddled ginger. “We played with a lot of fresh juices and came up with a couple of signature drinks: Our Froze (frozen rose) is extremely popular, and we recently introduced an Apple Pie Sangria, which is doing well.”
Richmond Republic’s beer menu is so vast that it rotates on TV screens above the bar. Pumpkin lagers, a range of IPAs, and dozens of other craft brews can be sampled in a flight for drinkers who can’t choose just one.
There’s a party room, along with four different sections that can be reserved for small gatherings as well.
“We do everything from a full sit down to a buffet or cocktail party,” Gulatieri said. “And there’s off site catering too.”
The Richmond Republic
4459 Amboy Road / 718.356.7425 / richmondrepublic.com