Chef takes a new culinary direction

| 15 Feb 2012 | 09:35

Gastro Pub owner starts Salt Studio, a small events center BYRAM — Successful restaurateur and owner of Salt Gastro Pub on Route 206, Brad Boyle, has a new venture — Salt Studio. It is a location for events, parties and for occasional pop up restaurants. Located on the corner of Route 206 and 517 where the Gristmill Café once was, Salt Studio is open for personal events such as bridal and baby showers, rehearsal dinners, private parties and the like. This is Boyle’s third restaurant-type venture in the county. Boyle owned Bula, a restaurant in Newton from 2001 to 2007. Boyle said, “It was easy to get burned out at Bula. Being the owner and the head chef meant long days, no time off, huge amounts of stress and less interaction with the public. When I opened Salt I took a step out of the kitchen to be able to mix with the customers and to spend more time with my family.” Salt has been a huge success but left Boyle feeling unfulfilled when it came to the creative culinary side of the business. “I wanted to get back in the kitchen, but I wanted to do it in a way that was not so demanding and constraining. So, I started thinking of concepts, planning and looking for a location for a new venture. When the Gristmill Café closed, I called the owners and landlord and we worked out a deal.” Boyle describes the Studio with a light in his eye similar to that of a new parent. “Salt Studio is truly like a studio for me. Like an artist has a studio, I have this place” said Boyle. “I can create and do whatever I want here because the concept is so open. I can work with individuals and be creative with menus and dishes while meeting the needs of their events. I can also run pop-up restaurants to open to the public.” A pop-up eatery is designed to run like a traditional restaurant, but is usually open for only a very short length of time, is able to change at the whim of the chef and is run as a special event in it’s own right. “A pop-up leaves me with a lot of flexibility with my schedule, which is why it is so appealing. We are bringing back Bula for a day. On Oct. 23 we are opening Salt Studio with a menu that Bula had become famous for.” The one-day event sold out in two hours through “We could not believe the response. It was simply incredible.” Boyle has big plans for Salt Studio. “I love working with kids. I am developing an 8-week course for high school students to teach them about the restaurant business. Kids are disillusioned today by what they see on the cable food channels. The restaurant business is a lot of work, with long hours and not a whole lot of time off. It is very rewarding, though, and can be a good career for someone who may not be right for college. I want to let kids know that there are opportunities out there, give them a feel for this business and what it is all about. I hope to have them experience everything from developing a menu and creating recipes to serving tables and dealing with finances. College was not for me and I became successful anyway. I want to teach others that they can do the same.” Salt Studio is available for smaller-sized private parties. “I can really get creative since the space will be used for different purposes,” said Boyle. For the most part, the studio will work like a catering facility, but is too small to be considered a hall and has an incredibly personal feel, unlike most catering halls. “Our first event here was a rehearsal dinner in August which called for one type of food; and we hosted a fantasy football draft night, which called for a completely different type of menu. We have Salt Studio booked for a campaign kickoff event for Scott Olson from Byram; and we have a gentleman giving wine tasting classes here, where I will be pairing up a complimentary meal.” Boyle does not actually run the events. Event organizers and party planners in need of a venue book the studio then Boyle customizes the food. Boyle will however host, organize and promote the pop-up restaurants. Boyle, and his wife of 20 years, Laurie, actually run three aspects to Salt. There is Salt Gastro Pub, also Salt offsite catering and now Salt Studio. “Word has gotten out about the Studio and we have several private parties and events booked already. It is interesting to see who is calling and who is booking. Friends who just like to dine together, or celebrate birthdays together, have called because they want a room just for themselves and to create their own menus. From a Superbowl party to a barbecue sauce event, we have begun to see bookings we never expected to see. We are already taking holiday bookings and are eager to start working with customer on new food concepts. We plan on bringing in music, which will be exciting too. We can make this place whatever we want and in a way that works for our customer base, the community and me and my family while keeping things new, fresh and changing. It is very exciting.” For more information on Salt Studio, or to book the studio, contact Brad Boyle at Salt Gastro Pub at 973-347-7258.