Monroe’s Hoboken has closed down and rebranded as a new Latin restaurant called Panela. The transformation took place quickly — in a two week period — and is set to reopen its doors at 36-42 Newark Street by the end of this month. Panela will encompass cuisine from Latin America countries but still pay homage to the Hoboken community. There will be a soft opening on Wednesday, September 21st before its official opening next week. Read on to learn more about Panela opening in Hoboken.
From Monroe’s to Panela
The unfortunate downfall of Monroe’s occurred at the start of the pandemic right after opening. The world fusion restaurant was forced to shut down like all businesses and eventually just survived on takeout and to-go cocktails.
The beverage director and bar manager of Panela, Melanie Carugan, explained to Hoboken Girl, “We never got the opportunity to have a grand opening and really kind of hit the ground running… Then Monroe’s just kind of struggled to gain that footing once indoor dining came back and kind of struggled with an identity.”
Being that the space is “super historical,” the team behind Panela wanted to refresh the energy and pivot the direction Monroe’s was taking after reopening, which is why it closed early September and underwent a transformation.
“We wanted to do something that matched who we felt we were — very bright and vibrant, and we’re always laughing and we’re always creating. We just really wanted to just start fresh and give Hoboken a piece of what we thought they’d be missing,” Melanie, a Jersey City resident, said.
Panela is an unrefined whole cane sugar primarily found in Central and Latin America. Not only the name of the restaurant but also the food and drink menu and interior design is also an ode to the Latin American countries.
“We made it very tropical,” the beverage director, who also curated drinks for Monroe’s speakeasies, shared. “You can expect to be welcomed into a concrete jungle. There are lots of tropical notes but we also just pay homage to Panela being in Hoboken. It’s a city we love and it’s got a lot of history in just this building itself so we just wanted to keep that city life alive and make it a little tropical.”
^ A specialty cocktail at Panela
About The Menu
The new restaurant will be a “passport for all of the Latin American countries.” Anyone who has been following Panela on social media since the official announcement was made at the end of August has been getting teasers of the menu, which was created by Executive Chef Roberto Carnero who brought his Peruvian influence into the food.
One tidbit was that the new menu will be “incorporating all the colors of South America.” Plantains, vegan ceviche, and mussels will also be part of the menu that has not been released yet.
(Photo credit: @panelahoboken)
“We find influence from each country — different dishes that feel like home to us, cocktails that feel like home to us,” Melanie said. “And we’re just kind of giving people a little bit of things that they could be familiar with if they are Latin and if they’re not. If they’re new, introduce them to this. It’s not just Peruvian or Puerto Rican, even though that’s who our chefs are, but we really wanted to reflect that bright Latin culture and really bring it into our menu and our vibe here.”
Check Out Panela
Panela will have its soft opening on Wednesday, September 21st, and will be in full swing by the following Wednesday. While there isn’t a website at the moment, there is a Yelp page which shares its hours of operation.
^ A sneak peek of the tropical décor inside Panela
“We’re just really excited to open up. Everyone’s pretty alive in the area that we’re in (being surrounded by Birch and Wicked Wolf). It’s a really beautiful opportunity for us to meet our neighbors and have that intimacy with them and they return,” Melanie told HG. “I’ve gotten a lot of feedback that although they loved Monroe, they’re excited to come in and see Panela, and we’re happy to invite them in. Everybody’s super supportive and friendly and we really appreciate that.”
The Panela team is also appreciative of the surrounding Latin restaurants including Fat Taco, La Casa, Chango Kitchen, The Cuban, Empanadas Café, and La Isla.
Follow Panela Hoboken for updates on their Instagram found here.