THE OWNERS OF THIS COZY GOURMET BREAKFAST SPOT HAVE OPENED THEIR SECOND LOCATION, THIS TIME TAPPING INTO MIAMI BEACH VIBES
BY AMANDA McCOY • PHOTOS BY AMANDA DOMENECH
The concept of Over Easy Kitchen was born long before the breakfast brunch eatery ever served its first stack of lemon ricotta pancakes. Now set in two locations one in Marlboro, the other in Holmdel the cozy cafes’ farm fresh fare and eclectic vibes have attracted a cult following since the operation began in early 2016. The brainchild of long standing business partners and hospitality pros Kosta and Demetri Rexinis and Frank Brusco, “Over Easy” originally began as a Sunday only gourmet brunch promotion offered at a few of their different restaurants. It wasn’t long before the crowds began lining up out the door for the breakfast spread every weekend, and the owners realized they were onto something special. In January 2016, the first Over Easy Kitchen opened its doors in Marlboro.
“The breakfast brunch concept is something that we have done in some of our other restaurants, but only on Sundays,” said co-owner Demetri Rexinis. “We called this promotion ‘Over Easy.’ After a couple of years, the brand grew. We felt it was time that the concept evolved into its own standalone venue.”
With a combined 20 years of hospitality experience among the three (including owning and operating catering halls, nightclubs, and restaurants), designing a successful culinary business from scratch was a challenge the seasoned partners had tackled many times before. A first part of the equation was finding the right venue. The right atmosphere, Kosta Rexinis explained, was just as important as the quality of the food and service. While on the hunt, the partners came across a vacant brick building on County Road 520 in Marlboro that was rich with history. They quickly decided that the location, a former breakfast eatery for more than four decades, would be just the place to put down roots. After acquiring the space, they went right to work on the decor. “The right design enhances the guest’s experience,” he said.
The Marlboro interior has a sort of Soho meets Williamsburg feel, with urban coffee shop accents sprinkled throughout.
“We felt that with so many New York transplants in our area, the neighborhood would appreciate the vibe,” added Brusco.
The partners always intended to bring the Over Easy concept to multiple locations, and they opened their second cafe when the brand was barely two years old. This time, choosing the proper neighborhood was a breeze.
“Our second location, in Holmdel, was a natural fit,” said Demetri. “We have been part of the community for more than 15 years, owning other local businesses like The Gramercy at Lakeside Manor and Patricia’s of Holmdel.”
This time, the boutique hotels of Miami Beach were the muse, and the Holmdel location features clean and geometric lines, communal tables, and walls splashed with graffiti art. The atmosphere centers on the concept of a social brunch, and eclectic house music amps up the mood.
“We take pride in enhancing an atmosphere that makes our guests feel as if they’re away on vacation,” said Kosta.
A focus on art is evident in the food, too. With the menu, the objective was to create a flavour profile that’s equal parts fresh, clean, and creative. Ingredients are seasonal and meticulously selected; the beef is grass fed and sourced from local farms, the brioche is imported from France, and the omelettes simmer in extra virgin olive oil. Both sweet and savoury categories have their places, and dishes range from Quinoa Cakes and Nutella Pancakes to Grilled Steak and Eggs and a dense Italian Pork Roll and Cheese Panini. “Fancy” is a common theme gourmet takes on classic dishes, including Fancy Toast (sliced avocado on multigrain toast with extra virgin olive oil, crushed red pepper flakes, and an over easy egg) and Fancy Burrata, a fan favourite that pairs the creamy Italian cheese with two poached eggs and a spread of fresh vegetables. Other crowd pleasers include the Brioche French Toast and the Protein Breffy, a bowl of scrambled eggs, grilled chicken, sautéed spinach, and avocado.
“The menu was designed around fresh and clean seasonal ingredients,” said Brusco. “We enjoy designing food that looks like art, and tastes even better.” The concept that began as a Sunday only promotion still celebrates the end of the work week with specials every weekend much to the satisfaction of regular diners.
“Our weekend specials are a big part of our success,” said Demetri. “They are a fusion of seasonal ingredients and come from the creative mind of our chef, Benjamin Gonzalez. Our specials are the epitome of eating art.”
There’s also a full service café, offering all the caffeinated classics, including espresso, lattes, and cappuccinos, as well as fresh cold pressed juices and elixirs.
As for the future, these hospitality pros have no intention of slowing down. Over Easy will continue to expand, with plans to bring the gustatory movement to another New Jersey community as early as 2019. While the vibe will most likely be born of a different muse, menu and attention to detail, the partners explained, will be consistent. It’s to this consistency that the owners attribute their success in such a volatile field what allows their restaurants to transcend ever changing trends.
“As partners, we chose to be in the hospitality business because we enjoy taking care of guests,” said Brusco. “Attention to detail is vital to all our tasks, every day. The economy will always be a rollercoaster, but our venues are built to be consistent, and our guests appreciate that.”
Over Easy Kitchen
460 County Road 520, Marlboro Township / 732.526.4422 2111
Highway 35 North, Holmdel / 732.533.5578 / overeasykitchen.com