Rough Economy Spells New Chance for Alphabet Soup

Before Alphabet Soup, Jayson Grossberg’s ambitious fine-dining BYOB in Audubon, New Jersey, closed up shop last year, it was one of the most buzzed-about restaurants in the region. Even the New York Times took notice, hailing Grossberg’s French-inflected fare as some of the best in the state.

But the food Grossberg was cooking — based on expensive ingredients and challenging flavor pairings — wasn’t the everyday eats a quiet neighborhood needs. Sure, it was popular with visiting food writers and neighbors on anniversary dates, but often the talented kitchen had too few diners to feed. That’s why when Alphabet Soup re-opens in early February, the place will have a new price point and personality. Grossberg expects the old check average of $60 to plummet to an affordable $25. He’ll manage that feat by swapping luxe items like rack of lamb for less expensive lamb sirloin. The new menu of approachable entrées (think clam chowder, lobster rolls and fried chicken) will all be priced under $20. In this economy, that’s sure to draw the crowds and keep one of New Jersey’s best chefs busier than ever. We’ll let you know as soon as the reservation lines are open.