For Jeff Linzenbold, the dream started in childhood. When he was a kid, he worked in the dining and hospitality industry with his father. “My dad was an accountant and worked for a catering company in the kitchen on weekends. When I was 14, I began working there, too, bussing tables and running fries. At first, it was just something fun to do with my father, but I fell in love with the industry,” he says.
By the time he was 15, Linzenbold had worked his way up to prep cook. In the front of the house, he eventually rose to head server. After bartending for about a decade, he transitioned to restaurant management, country club management and corporate dining, including managing the corporate dining at HBO’s New York City headquarters.
After climbing to the ranks of Director of Operations at Dartcor Food Services, Linzenbold’s momentum came to a sudden halt due to the pandemic. He was forced to re-think his direction. “I’d been wanting to open a restaurant for years, and in April 2020, I found an amazing venue for sale with a liquor license,” he says. “My business partners and I jumped at the opportunity.”
The location in Somerset, a former sports bar, needed some updates, but Linzenbold realized its potential. “I saw the huge outdoor dining space and large main dining room and knew it was the perfect fit,” he says. He renovated the space to give it a chic industrial feel with a polished concrete floor, wainscoting and rustic wooden tables.
Stateside Tap + Tavern opened in October 2020 for takeout and welcomed indoor diners the following month. Under the guidance of head chef Michael Delgado, the menu offers something for everyone. His culinary creations include their classic Stateside Burger (cheddar, bacon onion jam, fried shallots and horseradish sauce), Hot Nashville Chicken (buttermilk marinated chicken sandwich with pineapple slaw) and Short Rib Poutine (braised short rib with horseradish aioli and cheese curds).
To wash it all down, you can select from 24 beers on tap; the restaurant has a focus on local breweries like Czig Meister in Hackettstown and Eight & Sand Beer Co. in Woodbury. And if you’re a sports lover, rejoice: There are 10 bar-side TVs to catch the game with friends.
Visit Stateside Tap + Tavern’s menu at statesidetapandtavern.com.
Spicy Tuna Appetizer
Sushi-grade tuna, diced
Sushi Rice Ingredients
2 c Japanese short-grain rice
2 c water
1/4 c rice vinegar
4 tsp sugar
1 tsp fine sea salt
Wash rice until water is clear.
Add the rice and water to a rice maker, cook until done (one setting on rice makers).
Add the sushi rice vinegar and toss.
Add rice to a sheet tray lined with plastic wrap, place the rice down, place another plastic wrap over the rice.
Flatten rice and let cool.
Cut rice into squares and sauté to a crisp.
Top with tuna and spicy aioli.
Garnish with sliced jalapeño, teriyaki glaze, sesame seeds and microgreens.
For the Aioli:
1 qt mayonnaise
1/2 c Sriracha
1 tbsp mirin
Combine all ingredients and whisk together well.