Red's Introduces Chicago Classic to the Caldwells

New West Caldwell restaurant serving up a taste of the Windy City—dipped Italian beef sandwiches—plus healthier versions of comfort food.

West Caldwell, home to a Chipotle, a Five Guys and a Muscle Maker Grill, is no stranger to the concept of fresh, fast food. 

But the newest entry to the restaurant scene stands out for dishing out fare that's fast, fresh and also unique to the area.

Red’s, which opened at 800 Bloomfield Ave. on Monday, introduces Chicago-style, dipped Italian beef sandwiches to our North Jersey palates. 

Owner Barbi Ellen Newman, a Culinary Institute of America graduate, started out working at the Ritz Carlton and Le Perroquet Restaurant in the Windy City.

When Newman returned to her native Jersey, she had much success with her Verona-based catering business, Mardi Gras. After selling Mardi Gras and spending time recently as a personal chef, she envisioned the concept of comfort food made healthier and reentered the retail world with Red's.

The Italian beef sandwich was new to me when I ordered it this week on my first visit. I chose a half-portion, which was enough to hit the spot and appreciate the combination of slow roasted, thinly sliced top round partnered with sweet roasted peppers and a spicy relish served on a French roll.

I asked for the sandwich “dipped” (in au jus) and enjoyed it while sitting at a counter facing the window. I also ordered a cup of one of the day’s soup specials, a thick and flavorful curry cauliflower. 

For a drink, I chose a fresh lemon-limeade sweetened with honey. The refreshment is reason enough to stop in if looking for a boost while shopping at nearby T.J. Maxx and Flair.

My lunch companion chose their twist on pulled pork, the chopped BBQ sandwich—slow roasted chicken, slaw and barbecue sauce on a brioche bun—and gave an audible “yum” when he bit into it. He munched on a bag of salt and vinegar chips for his side.

For a sweet ending, we shared an “ultimate” brownie (with walnuts). Although very, very good and not too sweet, we're not sure the brownie lived up to its name.

Also on the menu at Red’s are turkey burgers, an Italian grilled cheese sandwich, turkey and vegetarian chili, a three-cheese macaroni and cheese and daily special salads.  

The restaurant design seems ready for replication. With large pictures of their food specialties on the wall, it’s more of a franchise-feel than a homey eatery. Freezer cases held packaged soup, burgers and desserts to grab-and-go.

The staff was friendly and eager to please. And please Red's will when looking for a healthy meal on the run.

Red’s Dips, Flips, Chips

800 Bloomfield Ave., West Caldwell  




Twitter @RedsDipsFlips

Hours: Mondays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Closed Sundays.

djd4515 January 14, 2013 at 02:51 PM
Went there on Friday Night. Food was Fantastic. Italian Beef Sandwich was just the right amount of Spicey. The French Fries blow away any other Fast Food Style Fries anywhere. They are fried twice which is obviously better then frying once, lol. We also had the Mac & Cheese which was really flavorful and the Pulled Chicken Sandwich which if you had not told me, tasted exactly like a Pulled Pork Sandwich from Memphis. Also had a killer Chocolate, Caramel, and Sea Salt Ice Cream Sandwich which was so amazing I have to go back for a few more of them.
Kevin January 14, 2013 at 10:13 PM
Great, can't wait to try it!
george February 20, 2013 at 02:16 PM
I don't know where they get Italian Beef Sandwich and Italian Grilled Cheese Sandwich from but there is no such thing in the Italian Culture... I tried the Italian Beef Sandwich awwww sorry I bought it WILL NOT BUY IT OR GO THERE AGAIN HORRABLE what ever they put in I think it is relish that is to be home made NOT I saw the contaner on the shelf.. never again.....
joe February 21, 2013 at 09:43 PM
george,,, been to Chicago??? Did Ya read what Reds is about??do you know what FRESH is? You wont find this food in Italys cuisine books, but that sandwich has been reviewed extensively in Gourmet mag. And, EVERYTHING is made fresh. I took the tour, asked questions and tasted everything. It is all Very well done. George, Stay Happy, and Keep eating the G. M.foods all the chains serve, Enjoy the bulk-frozen-boxes of food that just get microwaved in the back room, and crappy pizza and Mcdonalds pink slime. Reds is ok with me. Joe 07006
ph March 04, 2013 at 02:11 PM
I took a tour and bought a Italian Sandwich it was just gross I never in my life seen anything like that in my life.. I though it would be different but is was not... the Mac & cheese tasted like carboard and through it out.. I do not recommend this place to anyone............


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