New life begins for former Mama Roux

By Alberto Gilman
Posted 1/3/24

Bar Brava, a new tapas and wine bar with a focus on nightly live entertainment, is officially open for business. The new venue celebrated its grand opening on Thursday, December 14 with a new menu, …

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New life begins for former Mama Roux


Bar Brava, a new tapas and wine bar with a focus on nightly live entertainment, is officially open for business. The new venue celebrated its grand opening on Thursday, December 14 with a new menu, new paint, new performance stage and overall aesthetic to decorate the space.

“Whenever, you know, you put yourself out like this, it’s always a big relief when it’s embraced by the community the way that it is tonight. And it’s great to be in here and feel the energy, the warmth, the excitement, the encouragement,” said owner Phillipe Pierre.

Mama Roux, the southern-style restaurant at 96 Broadway, first opened its doors in 2019 under Sterling Knight and Philippe Pierre. In its short life span, the restaurant quickly became a destination for visitors and residents alike and was able to withstand the brunt of the COVID pandemic that began in 2020.

The restaurant closed in early October 2023, and the ownership of the space now belongs to Pierre. With Bar Brava, Pierre looks forward to the journey of running this new venture while keeping the restaurant element intact. Pierre also owns the Ms. Fairfax restaurant on Liberty Street as well as the Midnight Ferry ice cream shop on the waterfront.

“We had the opportunity to kind of reimagine this space, which was difficult to do because it had so much character and a short history, but a lot of history,” he said. “The idea was to focus on tapas and a Spanish menu for a couple of reasons. One is that we felt people might enjoy being able to build their own dining experience, one flavor, one dish at a time.”

The shift to a Spanish centered menu comes from the inspiration and recognition of the surrounding Newburgh community but also from a trip that Pierre took from Barcelona to Bilbao, which sparked the interest in potentially bringing another new restaurant concept.

Since opening the last week of November, it has been a very soft opening and the interest has started to grow amongst customers. “I’ve deliberately been opening very, very softly. So we are open to the public. The marketing has been low key,” said Pierre. ‘We’re open now and we’re taking reservations.”

For Pierre, customers have expressed their interest and excitement about the new business concept, but the sting of seeing Mama Roux close and shut its doors also lingers. It bears similarity to the Liberty Street Bistro that also closed its doors November 2022. “There were so many wonderful memories brought about by Mama Roux,” said Pierre.

Back in September, Mama Roux was one of 20 city businesses that was awarded a $10,000 cash grant as part of the Small Business Grant Assistance Program. Pierre expressed his thanks for the city for issuing these grants for the small businesses. “The money was used basically to pay for operating costs and utility costs,” said Pierre. “So not super exciting, but you know, they are expensive. Heating and cooling has been at all time high. None of the funds were used for Bar Brava at all. Just want to make that clear.”

Inside the space, the bar and seating remain but now a different color scheme dons the walls and a new stage set up for live performances makes up a corner of the space. New tabletop ornaments make up the tables for customers. With the new stage set up, Pierre would like to pursue multiple nights of live music and educational or historical talks to be offered in the space. A themed cocktail, for example, would be paired with the historical talk, Pierre suggested.

With a new business on the main Broadway corridor, Pierre hopes that people will come back and visit his restaurant and hopefully, more and more visitors will come to the area like before. “I’m confident in our team that we’ve assembled, both in the front of the house and the back of the house. So they put me at ease,” said Pierre. “We’re just going to do what we can to make this place successful and where people come and they tell their friends and they’re excited to come.”

In attendance for the grand opening amongst the many visitors were Councilmen Anthony Grice, Omari Shakur, Bob Sklarz, Councilman elect Rob McLymore, Councilwoman Giselle Martinez, and Orange County Legislator Kevindaryán Luján.

“Very excited to be here, a big supporter of all the things that Philippe has been doing,” said Luján. “Was a very big supporter of Mama Roux and now just so happy to be here with friends and to enjoy the great exquisite food that they have here.”

“I just want to congratulate the owners of our new business here in ward one. I’m very excited and I know that this business is going to thrive,” said Martinez. “Thank you for investing in the City of Newburgh.”

Those interested in following along can check out the restaurant’s online presence,, and Bar Brava NY on Instagram. The outside seating area of the restaurant will be a spring project where the businesses will hopefully add a stage and outdoor bar area.

“There are lots of new small businesses opening up that have opened up in 2023 and then are opening up in 2024 in downtown Newburgh and we all need all the support we can get right, and to encourage people to shop local,” said Pierre.