By John Burton
ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS – The former Walter Mihm’s Steakhouse, now Neil Michael’s Steakhouse, is more of the same – and its co-owners see that as a good thing.
Neil and Patricia Malloy, who have worked as chef and managing partner, respectively, at the Walter Mihm’s Steakhouse since it opened in June 2010, have taken over ownership along with John Dvorschak, another longtime employee. The change at the 965 Route 36 restaurant came after Mihm’s death in March.
“I really don’t know if it’s going to change that much,” Patricia Malloy said. “It’s sort of, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it, sort of thing.”
The location will continue serving its popular specialties, such as its bone-in filet mignon and cowboy steak, along with other options, including seafood, chicken, chops and burgers, according to Malloy. “The menu’s pretty much staying the same,” for the location that can seat about 75 and a bar with another 14 seats, she said. “It’s a pretty big menu for a steakhouse.”
Most of the change involves the name, going from Mihm’s to Neil Michael’s for Patricia’s husband and son.
The Malloys will continue in their same capacity, as will Dvorschak, who will go on being the bartender.
For the Malloys, ownership of the restaurant is a natural one. They owned and operated the Olde Union House restaurant and catering facility in Red Bank for about 11 years before deciding to close it and develop the site for mixed commercial and residential use.
The Malloys then stepped back from the restaurant business for about six months at that time but Patricia acknowledged she missed it and knew she would return to it.
“I find the restaurant business exciting,” she said. The business also has allowed her to work with her husband for about 75 percent of the two decades they’ve been together, which is another plus, she said.
Mihm, with whom they worked, was “an interesting man, a very sweet man,” Malloy said. Back in the early 1960s, Mihm, who was 87 when he died, built the Channel Club Marina in Monmouth Beach and oversaw the members-only club restaurant there. Mihm then went on to operate a tugboat company and start a commuter ferry service in Atlantic Highlands.
“He had quite a few restaurants,” Malloy said.
Mihm’s obituary listed his involvement with the Old Orchard Inn in Eatontown, Pirate’s Cove in Belford and the Waterfront Café in Sea Bright.