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Stage Left Reinvents Dining Room With New Art Gallery

In Anticipation of Restaurant's 25th Anniversary, Dining Room Gets a Facelift
Paddy Cohn
Artist Paddy Cohn and Jungle Fire, her abstract creation of paint, pumice stone and fiberglass salvaged from an abandoned boat. Khahlidra Hadhazy

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ--In the heart of downtown, contemporary-American restaurant Stage Left has just undergone a contemporary renovation.

Dublin-based interior designer Aoife Rhattigan and her team at Restless Design overhauled the traditional French-inspired décor of Stage Left’s past, ushering in a sleek and modern present.

The restaurant is one of two located at 5 Livingston Avenue, in the building the marks the corner of George Street and the city's theatre district.

Above it is Catherine Lombardi's, another fine dining establishment owned by partners Mark Pascal and Francis Schott.

“The new design reflects changes to our menu,” says manager Alex Hall. “We have changed the formatting of our [dinner] menu and have an entirely new bar menu.”

While the tone of the new design is definitely on trend, the detailed level of service that Stage Left is famous for will remain the same.

“Our guests will experience a high-end dining experience in a comfortable atmosphere,” says Hill.

Fast approaching the eatery’s 25-year anniversary in May 2017, Pascal and Schott have combined the unveiling of the new space with a return to the eatery’s early art gallery roots.

To complement and celebrate the dining room’s new modern design, abstract paintings of artist Paddy Cohn adorn just about every wall.

We caught up with Cohn at the Stage Left Opening Reception and Wine Tasting on October 30.

An artist with deep Caribbean roots, Cohn draws her inspiration from a lifetime of travel to the islands of St. Thomas, St. Barth’s and Guadeloupe.

“My mom is St. Thomian, I grew up there. I have a passion for the color and textures, and just the Caribbean soul,” says Cohn.

Her preferred medium is painting; mostly portraits, cloudscapes and abstracts.

In the current collection of her abstract work, Cohn builds depth and texture into her pieces using acrylic paint, wax, pumice stone, and gold mica.

Influenced by the natural beauty of vivid color landscapes in St. Thomas, Cohn’s work demonstrates her fearless use of color.

"Sand Surf Sea," inspired by a boat Cohn found washed up on shore, projects a spectrum of deep blues without being overwhelming or redundant.

Cohn’s sense of balance and light draws the observer in, while rugged pumice stone brings to life the weathered story of an abandoned boat.

A number of her works possess a topographical complexity that makes them feel three-dimensional, a technique befitting of a former textile designer and Fashion Institute of Technology graduate.

"Galaxy" is a firm example of how Cohn forces you to look beyond the canvas and into the abyss of the world she’s created.

This collection of art will be on a rotating display. Stage Left has purchased a few pieces for their permanent collection, while the remaining are displayed on commission and are available for purchase.

As work is purchased, new pieces from the artist will take their place. No word as of yet to whether the replacement pieces will be abstracts.

Prices for the current collection range from $3,500 to $8,000.

Stage Left is open for dinner daily. Lunch is served only on Fridays from 12 PM until 2 PM, which happens to also be the most ideal time to view the art work.

Stage Left
5 Livingston Avenue
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
(732) 296-9463
http://stageleft.com/