In 2010, on the heels of my New York restaurant Marea winning a James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant in the US from the James Beard Foundation, I was asked to consider opening a venue in a building in New Jersey that was created by Theodore Vail of AT&T in 1918. I was immediately struck by the innate beauty and possibility of the structure, its surroundings, and the wonderful community of Morristown. I had always believed that a great restaurant should grow from the fabric and culture of its physical location and that it should be truly unique in its personality. The Vail Mansion was, to me, the perfect canvas to paint a beautiful picture of culture and spontaneous conviviality.
As a nation, we are so programmed to buy the same products all of the time, to frequent shops and restaurants that look monotonously similar. A dining room in a mall in New York might as well be in Dubai. Restaurateurs across the country are trying to create businesses that can be replicated 400 times. A lot of what informs what we do at Jockey Hollow is a statement against mass culture and homogenization.
In my 58-year lifetime, I have watched more destruction of artisanal culture than any other time on this planet. The restaurant business, when done seriously, is one of the only true remaining outlets for artisanal production. Not only do we cook your food to order, to your specifications, we also curate only the most pristine and sustainable products to include on our menu and wine list. Our commitment also helps to support and sustain the small farmers, winemakers, cheese makers and artisanal brewers and distillers that make our world special.
I welcome you to experience a sense of discovery when you dine at Jockey Hollow, and hope to see you soon.