January 09, 2019
Porta was officially welcomed into the Jersey City community in 2014. Under the eye of general manager Dan Biroc, it serves up Neapolitan-style wood-fired pizza and house-made pasta, as well as having a packed events calendar that draws the crowds.
“There’s no shortage of excitement at Porta,” says Dan. “We host dozens of events every month – mostly around music. Every day is different. You might get trivia, reggae, or happy-hour jazz on the roof. We also have a new piano and plan to do cabaret nights.”
Porta began life as a spin-off of Asbury Park’s Brickwall Tavern, launched by hospitality group Smith back in 2006. While the tavern was going well, the owners wanted to make a bigger impact. And pizza never fails to make an impact. The pizza component, Porta, did so well that the brand expanded to North Jersey not long after, with a Philadelphia venue following.
“The owners always put quality first, and that’s been a big part of the success,” says Dan. “Combining the casual laidback atmosphere with the high-quality service experience has always been a cornerstone of Porta’s success.”
“All of our Smith restaurants have a core purpose – World Peace. The idea behind our huge tables is to share an experience, not be isolated at a table of two. We’ve had a lot of people come here separately and leave as a group and hit the next spot together.”
Porta has also benefited from being part of the local Jersey City business community, where local restaurants and hospitality businesses often share ideas and resources.
“Hospitality is kind of crazy. We’re all running 20 hours a day. Things happen; you run out of certain stuff. There’s a close-knit group of us who can call each other to borrow receipt paper or whatever the item is. Instead of trying to step on each other’s toes, we all watch each other’s backs. We have a nice code of ethics among our fellow restaurant businesses.”
If you’re wondering what the most popular item on the menu is, wonder no more. Pizza wins by far, with the margherita being the most popular, followed by the carbonara and the 14 ½.