“Drink like Hemingway; Party like Gatsby; Eat like you just finished your first novel,” implores the Facebook page for Beginnings, the literary-themed restaurant and bar now open in Atlantic Beach at 1986 Park St. The free-standing building just east of the Atlantic Beach Bridge most recently housed O Pescador and A Taberna II.
It’s the first food-focused spot from the co-owner of Speakeasy and the Beach House in Long Beach, Ben Freiser and his wife, Heather. They’re self-described “literature geeks,” who go for the library vibe in the design of the bar, stocked with old and new books accessible via library ladders.
First pages of famous novels are framed throughout the restaurant that’s decorated with antiques such as old card catalogs and reclaimed wood tables.
David Bryer is the chef, who came over from Hush in Farmingdale. On a menu divided by writerly sections, The Prologue features St. Louis-style ribs or Korean-style banchan wings, while Chapter One offers the wedge or a beet salad. The Writer’s Block includes a custom-blend burger or a more decadent foie gras preparation, The Gatsby, made with truffle creme fraiche, triple cream Brie, arugula and fries.
Among larger dishes, The Plot Twist section displays entrees from ramen to a roasted root plate; Melville’s Corner showcases fish dishes and Meat and Potatoes lists plates like filet mignon or “tomahawk” rib-eye for two. Prices start at $7 to $26 for smaller plates, burgers and sandwiches, while entrees run from $18 to $98.
The Freisers — with two kids and one on the way — wanted to create a children’s menu that’s more interesting than the standard mozzarella sticks and bowl of buttered noodles. Beginnings offers a kids’ menu for dinner and weekend brunch, with names like Goodnight Moon’s Bowl Full of Mush, Green Eggs & Ham, Peter Rabbit Platter (that’s vegetarian) and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.
The bar program is overseen by Steve Magliano, the cocktail consultant for Lost & Found in Long Beach.
The restaurant will host events, such as tasting menus inspired by novels and performers like the Haiku Guys and Gals, who will improv poems for opening night and again on March 18.
Beginnings opens at 4 p.m., serves dinner until 10 p.m. and a limited bar menu from 10 p.m. to midnight, Monday through Thursday.
Weekend brunch begins at 11:30 a.m. and runs until 3 p.m., followed by bar bites in the late afternoon and dinner from 4 p.m. until 11 p.m., followed by a late-night menu until 1 a.m.
Beginnings is located at 1986 Park St. 516-239-7483; beginningsrestaurant.com.