Interview

Vic Rallo of Surf BBQ, Rumson, NJ

Well, everybody, you read it here first. Surf BBQ in Rumson is going to be The Jersey Shore’s hottest new […]

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Well, everybody, you read it here first. Surf BBQ in Rumson is going to be The Jersey Shore’s hottest new destination! As in good enough to be in a New Jersey Guide Book kind of destination. Let me explain. Surf BBQ opened about two weeks ago and is already a hot spot for many locals. On most nights, Surf BBQ is packed, with overflowing lines of eager and hungry customers.  The overall vibe is so FUN, that you don’t even mind waiting on line. Surf BBQ, Vic Rallo’s latest addition to his Red Bank and Rumson Restaurant empire, has opened in the former Briody’s Pizza and Molly Maguires Pub River Road location. The concept: customers line up at a counter in front of the open kitchen, place their orders and then eat at picnic tables with whoever else happens to be there. It’s the perfect opportunity to make a new friend while you bond over how delicious the honey glazed cornbread is!  The decor, rustic and a little industrial, give it that funky factor that no other restaurant in the area has. The menu, pictured above, is creative without being intimidating. Surf BBQ features Duroc pork, Creekstone Farms brisket, and organic and hormone-free chickens. They are the cornerstone ingredients in a menu so simple and limited that “there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to make them all perfectly,” said Rallo. Rallo acknowledges the menu is primarily meat and has no regrets. Hey, it is a Bar B Que joint.

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In addition, because of the way bar-b-que is cooked 15-18 hours overnight, when they sell out, the restaurant closes while the bar stays open. “It’s not like a regular restaurant,” said Rallo. “You don’t run out of food, put on an 18-hour brisket and say, ‘Okay, in a few minutes, we’ll have some more.’ It’s not like boiling pasta. When you’re out, you’re out.”

My daughter and I had dinner there last week. I had a brisket sandwich, she had ribs. We shared the cornbread and a banana pudding. After we finished dinner, her exact words “That was exceptional.” I heard Rallo wants a three-star Michelin rating and personally, I don’t think he is overreaching. With food this phenomenal, the goal is definitely attainable!

Rallo is an interesting guy, to say the least. I was so impressed with Surf BBQ, naturally, I had to ask Rallo a few questions. Luckily, he had time for me, and his interview is below. Next time you head down to the Jersey Shore, make a pit-stop in Rumson for some Surf BBQ. You will not be disappointed. You will eat more than you planned on. Be prepared to leave stuffed and with a smile (and some leftover BBQ sauce) on your face!  P.S. their Pig on a Surfboard merchandise is also droolworthy!

ID: Please tell us the genesis of Surf BBQ.
VR: Barbecue continues to evolve today with the advent of new equipment, techniques, and recipes. As a result, this evolution is no longer limited to the South. Chefs are now applying “new school” techniques while staying true and paying homage to the “old school” ways of the Pitmasters. Today, barbecue can be found in many places throughout the United States, and is now an icon of American culture. Surf BBQ brings its own style to New Jersey, combining the efforts of two experienced Pitmasters, who have come together to create a menu that reflects the history and future of American BBQ. Surf BBQ features traditional BBQ counter style service, communal seating, artisan beers, bourbons and whiskeys, and unique cocktails.

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ID: What was your first job in high school?
VR: Parking cars at Molly’s fish-market working for my dad.

ID: What is your favorite part of your job?
VR: Every day is a new day with new surprises! Definitely not mundane.

ID: Tell me about your relationship with food and how that affects your work?
VR: All I think about all day is food, it is the basis of 75% of the decisions I make in a day.

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ID: Tell us about your worst restaurant day ever.
VR: I don’t have too many bad ones, but I hate when someone gets hurt on the job. We are family at my restaurants and that matters.

ID: Tell us about a career highlight
VR: Seeing my wife, boys, and daughter all working together to get Surf BBQ open. Truly a family affair.

ID: If you could pick one person, dead or alive, to go out to lunch with, who would that be?
VR: My wife Kari, because we don’t get to spend enough quality time together. With three kids, three dogs, and 3 restaurants we have a busy life. **(Best answer EVER BTW!)

Keep scrolling for more of the interview

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ID: Name one thing, besides your phone, that you cannot live without?
VR:Exercise! It’s important for many reasons: sanity, weight control, anger management.

ID: What is your favorite meal?
VR: Anything we cook at home, I love eating at home with my family and friends. It’s usually a group effort when we cook. We like simplicity; a dry aged steak with sea salt and pepper and a fresh green salad from the garden.

ID: Any sage advice for restauranteur wannabees?
VR: Be sure you know what you are getting yourself into.

ID:Please share with us a random fact or talent about Vic Rallo that we would be surprised to know
VR: I am a registered minister and have married 3 couples in NJ.

Thank you so much for sharing your time with us, Vic. We are looking forward to many finger-licking good brisket sandwiches, pulled pork, ribs, cornbread and everything else at Surf BBQ.

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Images courtesy of Surf BBQ

Comments4

  1. Andrea Thorne

    Hi Carrie, I love this place. I wish we had something like it. I love how they decorated, very smart. We need to go sometime when we come over. Keep up the great work. Your photo’s are amazing. Miss and love you guys, Andrea

  2. Kara

    Love!!!!! I also love that you always do the question and answers!

    • Thank you, Kara! So appreciative of your comments and love <3