In the six years that it has been open, bistro A Toute Heure (ATH), at 232 Centennial Avenue, has not only become a Cranford staple, but a place that people know and come to from miles around. It has won dozens of awards, as well as plenty of repeat diners, and has made quite a name for itself as a farm-to-table local restaurant. Now a “sister restaurant”, 100 Steps, has opened its doors just across the street, at 215 Centennial Avenue (908- 276-6600)
Owners Andrea Carbine, who is originally from the west coast, and her husband, Jim, who hails from the Chicago area, moved to Cranford several years ago. Jim works in recycled paperboard for the Newark Group, and his company is headquartered right here in the Cranford office park, which drew the couple to this area. Andrea had worked as a chef and in restaurants for years, but ATH was their first restaurant venture together on their own. “ We had settled locally, and decided to take the plunge and build a spot that really embraced the community (its farmers, its residents) and served the type of food that we loved to eat and cook.,” explains Andrea. “We have really enjoyed the Cranford community – which has been both truly welcoming of us and our businesses.”
Andrea and Jim initially lived in the residential space directly upstairs from the bistro during the first several years of operation. They later moved just down the street when the right house came available . . . one that had a nice piece of property big enough for them to establish their “mini farm” to help stock the restaurant kitchen. Andrea says, “My husband and I wanted to build ATH in a building where we could live and work. The decision to open 100 Steps just down the street was finding a great space that would allow us to be present in both businesses, because being an active part in our businesses is very important to both of us.”
So how will the two restaurants differ? “100 Steps is a supper club – which in the midwest is a sort of “local gathering place” and a raw bar – one of my husband and myself’s favorite things!” explains Andrea. “ The menu is more focused on small plates which encourages sharing and sampling. Our hope is to build another spot that embraces ATH’s commitment to the local community. Although 100 Steps isn’t as hyper-local in its sourcing, it is still seasonally driven and we still utilize our same local sources. Our hope for 100 Steps is to offer our guests another spot to come enjoy being with friends, family, and neighbors where they can enjoy the same food and service they’ve come to expect from us at ATH.”
If the success of ATH is any indication of what is to come, then we can expect great thing from 100 Steps. Small plates to sample and share . . . . how fun does that sound?! The “raw bar” side offers raw oysters, clams, and other great seafood. And the venue itself is beautiful and welcoming . . . more “metro-looking” than the charming country ambiance of its sister restaurant. It does, indeed, seem to be the perfect place for a “upper club” where people can enjoy good food while socializing with family, neighbors, and friends.
“Our decision to open 100 Steps was based on a desire to find new challenges and the next “step” for ourselves, our business, and some of our core team members – specifically Kara Decker (our Executive Chef) and Robyn Reiss (her Chef de Cuisine),” says Andrea.
Cranford welcomes this new business run by old friends! Why not check it out and help to christen this new local venture? You can visit their FaceBook Page here: https://www.facebook.com/100stepsrawbar