New Jersey food professionals are more focused than ever on sourcing local ingredients for their kitchens. Many stores are making similar efforts to inventory their bars and drink menus. Below are just a handful of the state’s prominent restaurant officials and their thoughts on the best wines, beers and spirits made in Jersey.
High Lawn, West Orange
Last year, the Frungillo family, a force in the foodservice industry in northern New Jersey, took ownership and brought this historic and storied space to life. They brought in their executive chef Sam Heizen, who has been at the helm of some of New York’s hottest spots, including Veritas in its famous wine collection. It’s no exaggeration to say that The Highlawn has a remarkable beverage program.
When asked about New Jersey participating in Highlawn’s selection, beverage manager Nick Apostolopoulos started with beers, specifically those from Cape May Brewing. Two of his highlights are the Coastal Evacuation Double IPA and the seasonally offered City to Shore Double IPA. Of the latter, “it’s our favorite expression in their double IPA. Beautifully spiced citrus notes and a pleasant mouthfeel.”
On the spirits side, a regularly featured restaurant favorite is Asbury Park Distilling Barrel-Aged Gin. Apostolopoulos added: Great to drink and makes an interesting cocktail too. ”
Marilyn Schlossbach Group (Langosta Lounge, Whitechapel Projects, Tini’s Fish House, Pop’s Garage, Asbury Park Yacht Club), Asbury Park and other locations
When entrepreneur/activist Marilyn Schlossbach said, “At our coastal venue, we love local!” You may also be talking about Schlossbach also voted for Asbury Park Distilling. This time she is Double Barrel Bourbon and Long Branch Distillery Bourbon.
She thinks Ringo’s Unionville Vineyards dry Riesling is something wine lovers should check out. Schlossbach also recommends occasional trips away from her beloved shores. “For anyone considering a day trip to the southwest of our state, Auburn Road Her Vineyard & Winery in Pile’s Grove is a must. Run by a wonderful husband and wife team.”
Beer plays a big role in her restaurant. One of her venues, Long’s branch of Whitechapel, features her own craft Nano Her Brewery in her project. Needless to say, she’s excited about the project. “I’m a big fan of her own Galaxy IPA. It’s a real thirst quencher.” We trust her opinion. She lists Last Wave Brewing Co. (Point Pleasant Beach), Kane Brewing Co. (Ocean Township) and Asbury Park Brewery (Asbury Park, of course) as her local favorites. “I’m also a big fan of her Jamie Queli on her Forgotten Boardwalk. She has a very strong product and I’ve been to her programs with great events and advocacy.” Agree!
Steve and Cookies, Margate City
Further down the coast, Lucy the Elephant may be closed to visitors while it undergoes some minor repairs, but another mainstay of Margate City, Steve and Cookie, continues to move forward. Cookie Till is another community-focused restaurateur, both with local groups and the other small businesses she supports.
Till is a partner at Reed’s Organic Farm and Animal Sanctuary in Egg Harbor Township. “We are building a farm market and just signed a deal to be an outpost for Hawk Haven Winery (Rio Grande). We even want to carry their wines in our restaurant.” He added that he added taps to Steve and Cookie just to feature the beers from . Rio Grande), Tuckahoe Brewing (Egg Harbor Township) and Ludlum Island Brewery (Ocean View). “I also love Mr. Finger’s Alibi Gin. It’s made out of state, but the two creators are local.” They happen to be the two Atlantic City bartenders who started the brand. So it can be considered to have jersey roots even though it was manufactured elsewhere.
Brick Farm Group (Brick Farm Tavern and Brick Farm Market), Hopewell
The concept of farm-to-table dining has often lost its meaning, but not at Hopewell. When Managing Partner Richard Moskowitz says, “That’s really our mission,” it’s not about corporate marketing.
In and around Hopewell is Double Brook Farm on 800 acres. John and Robin McConaughey have a vision of bringing farm-grown meats and produce to their communities through restaurants and markets. The Brick Farm Tavern sits on grounds in the heart of these various farm lots and is arguably closer to two of the best craft beverage producers in the state than any other restaurant: Sourland Spirits and Troon Brewing. I have. To say they are within walking distance can give the wrong impression of how close they are. They are across the driveway.
A frequently award-winning small-batch producer, Troon may be the ‘Cartier’ of the two. Loyalty wait on Instagram for notifications of the latest sold-out releases. Alternatively, you can visit a tavern, the only way to taste Troon beer. “For local beers he has eight taps reserved, four from Troon and four from other local producers we really like. Tonewood pours regularly as well. ‘ said Moskowitz. A selection of Sourland spirits is also available at the bar.
“We also have an outpost agreement with Ironbound Cider (Asbury), a brick farm market, where customers can buy cider and seltzer,” he said. “We have a great relationship with them and we love working on their farm.”
Dozens of restaurants could have provided dozens more recommendations to their favorite New Jersey craft producers. It’s the Garden State we’re known for, and that’s where the quality grapes and other ingredients used in our wines, beers, spirits, and ciders are grown.”
try them out. Please support them as many of the top restaurants do.
Hank Zona writes regularly about wines, spirits and different wines. other topics such as food and culture.he also have was running wine spirit All kinds of events over 10 years.
This article originally appeared in the Spring 2022 issue of Jersey’s Best. To access all the details that make Garden State great, subscribe here.
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