Zebu Forno, Holmdel, N.J.

The urban industrial-style bakery and café encourages its patrons to sit back and relax.
Posted February 25, 2008

A typical day at Zebu Forno in Holmdel, N.J., is filled with customers chatting, reading the paper, checking e-mail in leather easy chairs or gathering for a light lunch. There’s no pressure to leave, says co-founder and president Andrew Gennusa, who started the chain in 2001. And with free WiFi, flat screens, satellite music and an atmosphere that’s as relaxed and cool as a reggae festival, why would they?

The European-style bakery and café, which offers everything from fresh-baked breads to quiche, prides itself on its store concept of “food as theater,” meaning the bakery is front-and-center so customers can watch the bakers at work. Stainless-steel shelving holds breads, pastries and other food goods. Behind the bakery area is an exposed brick wall with the café’s logo spray-painted to look distressed.

For an even more unpolished look, designers at Zebu Forno’s in-house design and construction department left the ceiling two-thirds exposed and used low-voltage track lighting for a loft-style appeal.

Café-goers can choose from conventional and bar top tables in a rigid gray flooring material with wood rims or groupings of Indonesian roll back leather chairs. Original murals by New Jersey artist Gregg Hinlicky trim the seating area walls.

Client: Redhawk Foodservices Inc., Middletown, N.J. -- Andrew Gennusa, president; Ryan Timmons, general manager

Design/General Contractor: Zebu Forno Franchise LLC, Design & Construction Department, Red Bank, N.J.

Audio/Visual: DMX Music System, Seattle

Ceilings: USG, Chicago

Fixtures: Inter Metro Industries, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Flooring: Twinoaks Flooring, Long Branch, N.J.; Epoxy Flooring LLC, Forked River, N.J.

Furniture: Lonseal Inc., Carson, Calif.; Platypus, Shrewsbury, N.J.

Lighting: Capitol Lighting, Eatontown, N.J.

Signage/Graphics/Custom Murals: Gregg Hinlicky Studio, Toms River, N.J.

Wallcoverings: Benjamin Moore Paints, Montvale, N.J.

Covered Countertops: Lonseal Inc., Carson, Calif.

Pavalier Deck Oven: Sebp, Portes-Les-Valence, France

Photography: Michael Sypniewski, Brick, N.J.