For longtime bartenders Lou Ickes and Janessa Walter, buying the Brillobox wasn’t exactly the long-term plan.
But when Ickes told owner Eric Stern (who is also his brother-in-law) that the two were thinking of moving on, Stern said, “If you leave, I’ll sell it.”
A lot of soul-searching later, Ickes and Walter decided to take over.
Regular patrons of the 11-year-old bar will notice a few changes since the official re-opening in early September: new booths, new art and a giant shark are some of the most obvious updates. The food menu has been pared down to some of the more popular items, like the Brillo Burger, but it’s supplemented by a rotating Special Selections menu. Current offerings include an open-faced meatloaf sandwich and a French dip; veg and meat versions of both are available.
They’ve also re-introduced Sunday brunch, something they’d tried briefly in the past. Back then, “it just wasn’t the right equation,” Ickes says. This time, they’re keeping it simple: Options include an omelet of the day, pancakes, eggs or tofu scramble. “We want to keep it very easy, very diner,” Walter says. And Ickes adds that he loves the vibe: “If I was just hanging out, my day would be Sunday brunch. It’s no-B.S.”
But despite these changes, the bar still feels the same in all the best ways. As Walter puts it, “Something that was important to us was to maintain what we’ve always been, which is a neighborhood bar.”
4104 Penn Ave., Bloomfield. 412-621-4900 or www.brillobox.net