Chef Jim Malaby is making a huge leap with Jan. 29’s opening of Center Square Tavern in Woolwich Township, Gloucester County, about 10 minutes from blueplate, his hit, 12-year-old farm-to-table BYOB in Mullica Hill.
The handsome Center Square — taking the former a’Pizze Tuscan Grill at 120 Center Square Rd. in a partnership with a customer, Larry Wallace — is a far more ambitious undertaking, given its size and scope.
A 20-seat bar is set up with a dozen beers on tap and a full cocktail/wine list. Also, tucked off to one side, there’s a small dining area set up at a chef’s counter adjacent to a prep kitchen. The idea, says Malaby, is to allow small groups to watch the cooking while drinking wine and spirits. Outside seating in season will add about 40 seats, bringing the capacity to nearly 150 people.
Malaby, 44, a former sous chef at the late Brasserie Perrier, is maintaining blueplate’s local sourcing and many gluten-free options.
Menu is here, includes some traditional dishes (half-chicken, seared diver scallops, pork shank, bone-in rib-eye), as well as a few novel ones, such as doughnuts stuffed with chocolate-chip cookie dough, Buffalo chicken mini-corn dogs, and onion-ring poutine.
The tavern will ease its way into operation, serving dinner only on Jan. 29, 30, and 31.
Weekday lunch starts Thursday, Feb. 1.
In March, Saturday lunch and Sunday brunch will be added.