Meet Our Chef
A familiar fixture in the heart of Belmar’s downtown dining and shopping district, Chef Chris Brandl’s eponymous restaurant, Brandl, is recognized for innovative American cuisine. Offering original dishes such as the signature Lazy Lobster, as well as modern takes on classic recipes, Brandl welcomed patrons to his namesake restaurant in December of 2002.
Chris’ dream of creating a unique dining destination began long before he opened the doors to Brandl. A 1991 graduate of the prestigious culinary arts institution, Johnson & Wales, Brandl credits the university for elevating many of the self-taught skills he learned as a young restaurant employee. Chris fondly recalls his initiation into the industry, tracing his restaurant roots back to his grade school days. What effectively became his training ground, he started out as a dishwasher at the popular Farmingdale House. He then moved on to busboy, and then stepped into a food prep position. Soon after, he spent his teen years paying his dues at local pizza parlors.
Chef Brandl recalls that his desire to own his own restaurant was informed early on. “I knew from the very start that my long-term goal was to open my own place. What I envisioned from those earliest days has now become a reality. All of the training I received, whether at Johnson & Wales, or on the job, was invaluable to my evolution as a chef, and as a business owner.”
Upon completion of his formal training, Chris spent the following ten years a two local area eateries; Redington’s Fine Seafood in Point Pleasant and the Mahogany Grille in Manasquan. Honing his mastery of the business, he made the most of his tenure at these two restaurants, learning virtually everything there was to know about running a fine dining establishment.
With Redington’s as his career starting point, Brandl did everything from procuring fresh ingredients, to participating in every facet of seafood preparation, including filleting fish, and shucking clams and oysters. Chris was eager to master every skill, and acquired an acute understanding of the running a successful kitchen. He then moved on to the Mahogany Grille, a brand new venture, where he had the unique opportunity to help launch the enterprise from the ground up. From helping to design the kitchen layout and dining space, to hiring the staff, and creating the menu, Chris was fine-tuning his knowledge and filing it away for use in the near future.
Finally, in 2001, after a combined total of ten years at Redington’s and Mahogany Grille, Brandl decided it was time to branch out on his own. He purchased the former Bella Luna restaurant, and opened Brandl, aptly named for its personable owner and inventive chef.
Brandl Restaurant Group
Brandl Restaurant. For over a decade, Chris Brandl has taken on new and exciting challenges, both inside and outside of his flagship establishment. The Brandl Restaurant dining room has evolved over the years to showcase works of art worthy of an art gallery showing. The newest addition to Brand’s dining space, the covered outdoor patio, offers outdoor dining that can be enjoyed in Spring, Summer, and into Fall.
Whether experimenting seasonally with his menu, or working with local farmers and purveyors to procure the finest, most select ingredients, or inviting guests to take over the kitchen for special culinary classes, Brandl continues to push the envelope when it comes to providing both his new and loyal guests, a unique dining experience with every visit.
The Brandl dining room is available for special events, or you can have an event catered by Brandl off-site. Either way, you can expect the same amazing innovative American cuisine Brandl is known for, along with the attention to detail that puts Brandl in a class by itself.
Brandl Boardwalk Cuisine. In the wake of 2012’s Superstorm Sandy, Chris waited for the opportune time to bring back the casual fare that boardwalk diners had enjoyed at Jake’s Crab Shack. Launching in the Summer of 2014, Brandl Boardwalk Cuisine was born. Capitalizing on the gourmet food truck trend, Brandl Boardwalk Cuisine began offering Jake’s famous crab cakes and crab balls, as well as gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and other delicious delights, to Belmar’s beach-goers, from Memorial Day to Labor Day. In the off-season, the Brandl Boardwalk Cuisine mobile
Jake’s landmark “Lemon” continues to churn out hand-pressed lemonade by-the-glass, to sun and sand enthusiasts, both young and old.
Jake’s Downtown. As Belmar’s downtown shopping and dining district continues to grow, a new chapter in the Brandl Restaurant Group story is about to emerge. Jake’s Downtown, opening in 2015 in the new Beach Haus Brewery, is getting ready to join the family. The easy-going, casual restaurant will feature menu items such as fresh, whole steamed lobsters, Jake’s crab cakes sliders, lobster rolls, hand cut fries, as well as a selections from Jake’s mouthwatering raw bar.
Whether you’re looking for a quick bite at the beach or boardwalk, meeting friends downtown for casual fare, or planning a special night of fine dining, reserve your table with Brandl.