Brewer and Chef Depart Immigrant Son Project Prior to Opening Day

Immigrant Son (18120 Sloane Ave.) is one of the most anticipated of summer openings. The restaurant and brewery is billed as the first actual brewery in Lakewood. Work has steadily been progressing on the former Constantino’s Market, a 9,000-square-foot building that will feature a 10-barrel brewery in one half and a 200-seat bar and restaurant in the other.

But with just weeks to go before opening day, two high profile exits cast a shadow on what should be an exciting event. Cara Baker, who has spent much of 2020 and the first half of 2021 perfecting recipes and preparing to run the brewhouse, announced that she has “parted ways with Immigrant Son Brewing.”

Her statement reads: “After two years of time, effort, research, recipe testing, relationship building with vendors, suppliers, brewers, etc, I was told they ‘decided to go in a different direction’ one week prior to our first brew day.”

She added that she “stayed committed to the project, even through many difficult times. I do not feel that I received the same in return.”

Chef Vinnie Cimino read that statement and it felt oddly similar to his own experiences with owner Andrew Revy, he says. Cimino says that after officially signing onto the project back in October 2020, his start date has been pushed back month after month after month. Construction delays in restaurants aren’t just common, they’re expected. But at some point, as employees transition from other jobs and begin doing the actual pre-opening work, there is an expectation of payment, says the chef.

“This is the only restaurant that I’ve been a part of where I wasn’t getting paid for opening work,” Cimino states. “The more I sat around thinking about it, the more hesitations I got. And then I see Cara’s post on Facebook and it hit close to home. Everything she said was a mirror image of what I was experiencing.”

Cimino wants to stress that he isn’t casting aspersions about Revy. It’s just that after a series of less-than-ideal professional experiences with operators who later proved to be poor fits, he elected to move on. That occurred recently at both Michael’s Genuine and Summer House.

“Maybe I expect too much from an owner,” he says. “But every time there’s been a misstep, the point is learning from those missteps and not repeating them.”

Reached for comment, the owner responded with the following statement: “We worked very hard to accommodate Cara and set her up for success. We also work very hard to ensure a positive work environment and culture. Things do not always go as planned. We wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors.”

Revy added that Erik Luli, formerly with Platform Beer Co. and Great Lakes Brewing Co., will take over as head brewer.

Opening day is now slated for sometime in July.

About The Author

Douglas Trattner

For 20 years, Douglas Trattner has worked as a full-time freelance writer, editor and author. His work on Michael Symon's "Carnivore," "5 in 5" and “Fix it With Food” have earned him three New York Times Best-Selling Author honors, while his longstanding role as Scene dining editor garnered the award of “Best...
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