Bon Jovi Is There For You

The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation opened a new food bank to feed East End families in need. Located at The Clubhouse in East Hampton, Dorothea and Jon Bon Jovi, who have a home in East Hampton, have created JBJ Soul Kitchen Food Bank to help local food pantries meet the rising need of those suffering from food insecurity during the COVID-19 crisis.

“The pandemic has strained food distribution networks around the country, and after hearing from organizations on the ground about its local impact, the need for a food bank on the East End became clear to us,” said Jon Bon Jovi. Three weeks ago, the rocker reached out to Edward Burke Jr and Associates, one of the leading law firms on the East End, to pinpoint an operations location.

“The Clubhouse Camp building is a very suitable place to act as a hub for this entity. God bless the Rubentsteins for allowing this to take place. Totally charitable effort on all fronts,” Burke said, who solidified the connection through the family’s son, Matthew Rubenstein. The team successfully contracted with food distributor U.S. Foods, and constructed an association with Island Harvest Food Bank.

“No ZIP code on Long Island is immune to hunger and food insecurity, and the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis has created a new standard of need, including among people who have never accessed the region’s emergency feeding programs,” said Randi Shubin Dresner, president and CEO of the Island Harvest Food Bank. “We look forward to working with the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation in addressing the critical issue of hunger on Long Island’s East End.”

It truly takes a village. Through the swift action of the East Hampton Town Board, food arrived at the 5000-square-foot facility on May 11 and pantries were able to load their trucks the following day.

The food bank acts as a warehouse for grocery needs — its staff solicits, receives, stores, and distributes large quantities of food and grocery store products to the food pantries, which then place it in the hands of local families. The JBJ Soul Kitchen Food Bank’s goal is to provide food for 5000 individuals a month. Phase two will include pre-made Soul Kitchen meals for the homeless or those without access to cooking facilities, which will utilize The Clubhouse’s kitchen.

“My family is so grateful to be included in this,” said Scott Rubenstein, managing partner of The Clubhouse. The awe of trucks and vans filled with food, in only a few days, has elicited hope for a greater good, he said, adding he admires the Bon Jovis’ motivation to help. “They are soldiers, in the trenches with everybody. I’m appreciative to Burke and the Bon Jovis for considering us. It’s exciting, we’ve never done anything like this. It’s another level. That’s the hidden thing out here, there are a lot of people who need help. And now they have hope.”

“When most people think about the towns of the East End, they don’t necessarily think about hunger, but for many, it is a reality,” said Dorothea. The famed family is no stranger to charitable causes. Since its inception in 2006 the JBJ Soul Foundation, a nonprofit based out of Philadelphia, has been addressing homelessness and hunger on localized levels — funding over 700 units of housing and shelters across 11 states and Washington D.C. In 2011, the mission expanded to address food insecurity with JBJ Soul Kitchen community restaurants in New Jersey, serving over 100,000 meals to diners in need.

Dorothea and Jon Bon Jovi. Independent/Courtesy Jon Bon Jovi

“Since the COVID-19 crisis began, we have seen demand nearly triple from the after-school families and senior populations we serve. Before, we served approximately 70 people on the first Thursday of every month. Now we serve approximately 200 people per week,” said Bonnie Cannon, executive director of the Bridgehampton Child Care Center. “I am so glad to be part of this endeavor.”

Having played an integral role in the JBJ Food Bank, Burke and his sons will also dedicate their time to helping the cause. “It is such a pleasure to be part of this and to see the time effort and the passion that Jon Bon Jovi and Dorothea have for feeding the hungry. Jon Bon Jovi’s Soul Kitchen Foundation is the pocketbook for this incredible gesture,” said Burke.

With plans to reassess the need level at the end of summer, it seems Bon Jovi and Dorothea will be around for a while. Rubenstein said, “The only issue I have is that I don’t want to look at Jon’s New England Patriots hat for the next few months. But I love the Patriots, they helped us win the Super Bowl.”

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This article originally appeared in The Independent Newspaper.

The Clubhouse Hits Hard

This article first appeared in The Independent Newspaper. Read more about #EverythingEastEnd here

For 23 years, the Rubenstein family has been a name in East Hampton, breaking ground on East Hampton Indoor Tennis back in May 1995. On that rainy day, years ago, the entire family stood under a big umbrella with shovels in hand and smiles on their faces. That same photo, umbrella in hand, was recreated in 2017 with the groundbreaking of The Clubhouse.

“We have great partners who have a love for the community and want to have a hand in making it even better. Jerry Cohen, Richard Tarlow, Barry Emanuel, and John Geelan. While it’s still a business, together we find ways to reach out to the community and acknowledge our volunteer first responders, our brave men and women of the military, veterans and active duty, our important town and village employees, both behind the scenes and the face of our community, who work so hard to keep things going and running smoothly,” said managing partner Scott Rubenstein.

The mission of both family businesses remains “to bring a quality and wholesome source of entertainment accessible to everyone in our community and beyond. We aim to provide the same exemplary service to our local and seasonal guests year-round.” Scott’s wife, Holly Rubenstein, serves as events director and his son, Matthew, is the entertainment director.

The Clubhouse is a place to sip, savor, and hang out. In addition to good food, The Clubhouse has several games to keep guests entertained for hours: A 10-lane bowling alley, three indoor bocce courts, 18-hole mini golf, over 40 arcade games, and two pool tables. The Clubhouse also offers big screen TVs and projectors, plush lounges, fire pits, and a space for special events.

Sourcing from as many local vendors as possible, the menu will rotate seasonally. Envision starting your meal with The Clubhouse Salad, with mesclun greens, haricots vert, plum tomatoes, feta cheese, black olives, red onions, and a champagne vinaigrette, before indulging in a main course of local Peconic Bay scallops served over roasted red pepper risotto with sautéed spinach, while sipping on a blood orange margarita. All of this before satisfying a sweet tooth on the housemade ice cream cake, with Black Market espresso and sea salted caramel gelato flavors serving as the two layers, with housemade whipped cream and fresh berries.

Executive chef Brian Schlitt comes to The Clubhouse after six years as the Catering Chef for East End company, Honest Catering. “Working with the Rubensteins — designing and building the kitchen — has been a fantastic experience from day one. We’ve created a menu that has so much more to offer than your standard bowling alley fare. Your dining experience will surpass your expectations,” Schlitt said.

Upon looking at the beer list, several local flavors will stand out such as Montauk Brewing Company and the new, Westhampton Beach Brewing Company. Noticeably missing will be wines from the famed Long Island Wine region, but there are plans to incorporate wines from local vineyards in the near future.

Peggy Stankevich, front-of-house manager, said, “The Clubhouse is a family. We all work as a team together to create the best possible experiences for our customers. With so many different activities for people to enjoy, it is truly a fun atmosphere and a privilege to be a part of.”