New Owners Keep the Comfort in Kubel’s Too But Add to Menu

By MARIA SCANDALE | May 23, 2018
Photo by: Ryan Morrill

What hasn’t changed at Kubel’s Too is as notable as what has, ownership.

New owners George Triebenbacher and Jon Rosen are, of course, adding some twists to the tavern and dining room menus, but they have also asked longtime customers for input on what stays.

The landmark has been a favorite haven on the bayside at 82nd and the Boulevard in Brighton Beach since 1944 when it was DeFreitas’. Purchased in 1988 with the now-deceased Jim Morrison, Ken Egan had owned it for the last 30 years –  and has been available to advise all through the transition.

On this weekday afternoon, the bar lights shone through the liquor bottles as warmly as ever.

Most of the staff stayed for this phase forward, and a new chef will be here the second week of June. Aaron Tomczak will be the head chef; right now he is finishing a prior commitment at an estate in Tuscany, the opportunity of a lifetime. Kubel’s Too will be a return home for the local, who had also enjoyed the culinary trade in New York City.

Rosen is around the culture of cuisine daily in New York when he is not on LBI. He is an agent and senior partner with William Morris Endeavor agency, representing several of America’s most well known food personalities. He is married to an LBI native, Sara Tool, who currently works as an interior designer at the Red Chair in Harvey Cedars.

Patrons who came to a recent Friday night meet-and-greet got to know Triebenbacher as well, if they hadn’t grown up with his father, a medical doctor on the Island. His background is in finance, and his girlfriend Elise Cascone is a Kubel’s Too manager. Cascone hosted The SandPaper reporter’s lunch meeting Monday.

The staff is regarded as so important that they can “run the ship” in this transition. The new owners expressed their appreciation.

“They love it here; they were excited to stay together and keep the charm of the place,” Cascone said. “Every one of them brings their heart to work with them.”

Four other managers are familiar faces to locals, yearly renters and second homeowners who come back year after year: Bobby Ferringo, John Santoro, Marna Smith and Gina Lockie, who runs the liquor store. Gina’s husband Bill is the handyman who knows the place like the back of his hand, there every morning.

“I can’t say enough about the people here; they’re the ones who make this what it is,” Cascone elaborated. “We’re the new owners, but they’re going to be the ones showing us how it goes. They’re awesome.”

New in a bit of a facelift since a 1998 renovation are the dining room carpet, interior paint, updates in the kitchen and changes to dining room pictures. New dishes are coming. But right now Kubel’s Too looks much like the same neighborhood bar/restaurant that people are used to.

The timeworn wooden floor in the bar is a familiar underpinning to the same stools and tables where locals and summer neighbors have found a second home.

Reasonable pricing and good food are another reason people return, besides a comfortable bar to frequent.

As for the menu, any changes are still a work in progress.

They’re adding oysters, adding fish tacos, a clams casino, fish risotto and salmon selections, and will be doing a variety of interesting specials.

At lunch, one choice for the fish sandwich of the day (or skip the bread) was an ample portion of fresh tilefish, perfectly blackened and complemented by a malt vinegar aioli and fries, for $12. A parfait of seedless grapes and pecan pieces in a sweetened mayonnaise was a yummy inclusion.

The menu for the bar Happy Hour (4-7 p.m. right now, changing to 3-6 p.m. in summer) includes cheese steak egg rolls, a big Bavarian hot pretzel, garlic or spicy mussels, tempura shrimp, cheeseburger sliders, pot stickers, buffalo wings and more, from $6 to $8.

A lunchtime workman’s special is one offering customers asked to remain on the menu. Popular, too, are the half-pound certified Angus burgers, cheese steaks, a grilled ribeye platter, the original recipe crab cake sandwich, lobster mac and cheese, and fish and chips. One change on the appetizer menu is that the hot dips are now rotated among days of the week. The cheesy crab dip alternates with others.

On the side of contemporary are salads like vibrant kale or beet salad.

Among steak, shrimp, pasta and chicken dinner entrees are stars such as Barnegat Light sea scallops; blackened swordfish served with roasted red pepper romesco sauce and hazelnuts; and a half chicken roasted and served with onion soubise, pickled mushrooms, and scallion oil.

See the whole menu, entertainment lineup and more on the website,




Comments (1)
Posted by: John Krull | Mar 03, 2019 13:55

Cool! looking forward to having our wedding reception here in July 2019

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