For decades, Metropolitan Bistro in Sea Cliff has been one of the favorite dining spots and watering holes for residents of the village. Now under the new name Foster’s and owned and managed by Jason and Tanya Potter, the hope is it will continue to serve its role as a premier restaurant and meeting spot while also forging their own culinary path.
The Potters have been working on buying the Metropolitan for nearly two years, beginning shortly after they had begun running their pop-up food stand out of the restaurant. The couple had been working closely with previous owners Billy and Anita Long.
“Around the summer of 2020 we were speaking with Billy and Anita, and due to Covid and them nearing wanting to retire, they said, ‘You know what, we respect each other, maybe we could make a deal together where you guys take over this restaurant,’” Tanya explained. “We were like, ‘That’s great, let’s work out the details,’ and we were talking and talking, and everything was going in the right direction, but everything just kept getting delayed.”
The delays came in part due to the coronavirus pandemic, and in part due to its lingering economic effects. The Longs told the Potters they needed some time to make up the loss of revenue from the pandemic, and repairs to the structure of the building also delayed the takeover.
As the Potters continued to run their catering business, run the pop-up stand and the Sea Cliff Beach Café, the thought of owning their own local restaurant was never far from their thoughts. Eventually things worked out, and by October the transition to the new management finally could begin.
The couple decided that the restaurant’s new name would be Foster’s, named to honor Jason’s grandfather. The name on the restaurant’s sign was even drawn using his old signature, and since the original Foster never crossed his lower-case t’s, the restaurant continues that tradition.
“The name was inspired by my grandfather, but it also represents fostering community and building something from the ground up,” Jason said. “So that whole kind of theme is what we’re taking with us.”
The Potters intend for the new restaurant to be eco-conscious and will reduce waste as much as they can. They mentioned using a “nose to tail to root to leaf” system, whereby they minimize waste by using all parts of their ingredients in new and creative ways, such as their oven-roasted miso-glazed bone marrow.
In terms of the actual food, the couple is very excited at the chance to continue to expand their culinary skills, as well as to serve Sea Cliff residents with more elaborate dishes than they had been able to serve through their pop up, catering and beach café. Dishes include everything from delicata squash panzanella salad to lamb and eggplant ragu topped with ricotta.
The couple held their soft launch on Nov. 23, welcoming roughly 100 guests on their first night. While the restaurant was closed the next day for Thanksgiving the business has so far continued to do well, with the Potters estimating that they’ve already had around over 350 customers in their first three days open.
At the opening, attendees were treated to a limited bar menu and drinks, celebrating the continuation of Sea Cliff’s great culinary reputation. Ed Lieberman, president of the Gold Coast Business Association, attended, and although he expressed some melancholy for Metropolitan, he said he loved the new restaurant.
“It’s a really great thing to see Jason and Tanya finally be able to step in and continue the tradition of restaurants here and bring in their new approach to dining and the dining experience,” Lieberman said. “Jason and Tanya made everyone feel right at home, and I’m really excited to see what they do going forward.”