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Morristown - a new restaurant from Chris Cannon


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Morristown Record reports on a new restaurant proposal in the Vail Mansion. This huge Golden era marble building has been the town hall, police HQ, and "front door" for a luxury apartment project. N

NJ Monthly reports that Executive Chef Kevin Sippel has left Jockey Hollow, and moved back to Buffalo to care for his ailing parents. Sippel's long time chef de cuisine, Michael O'Shea will take over.

If true, that's one helluva lotta tasting.

 

Back to the Jockey Hollow, I notice both the dining room and the oyster bar have thousand point incentives on Open Table if you're willing to dine up to 5.30 or at 8.30 and later.

  • Sun 5:00PM-5:30PM 8:30PM-9:30PM
  • Tue-Thu 5:00PM-5:30PM 8:30PM-9:30PM

I just looked and didn't see any.

 

 

 

They had the deal up when I looked, and mentioned it.

 

I just checked, and both rooms have the thousand point deal for Wednesday April 8 at 5.30 and 8.30, Same thing for April 15. And for Wednesday of this week. Many places in Morristown are doing deals for weekday evenings. But not for Friday or Saturday based on a quick check

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Back to the Jockey Hollow, I notice both the dining room and the oyster bar have thousand point incentives on Open Table if you're willing to dine up to 5.30 or at 8.30 and later.

 

  • Sun 5:00PM-5:30PM 8:30PM-9:30PM
  • Tue-Thu 5:00PM-5:30PM 8:30PM-9:30PM

I just looked and didn't see any.

 

They had the deal up when I looked, and mentioned it.

 

I just checked, and both rooms have the thousand point deal for Wednesday April 8 at 5.30 and 8.30, Same thing for April 15. And for Wednesday of this week. Many places in Morristown are doing deals for weekday evenings. But not for Friday or Saturday based on a quick check

I only looked at today and tomorrow and didn't go into April. Based on what you found, it appears they're concentrating on Wednesdays. Interesting. I was thinking they'd do it on Mondays and Tuesdays which are generally slow nights.

 

I would be surprised to find the 1,000 point deal on a Friday or Saturday since that's when most restaurants are busiest.

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I only looked at today and tomorrow and didn't go into April. Based on what you found, it appears they're concentrating on Wednesdays. Interesting. I was thinking they'd do it on Mondays and Tuesdays which are generally slow nights.

 

I would be surprised to find the 1,000 point deal on a Friday or Saturday since that's when most restaurants are busiest.

 

 

Absolutely. I'd agree completely with this.

 

Morristown area has a lot of corporate business nearby, so it would seem they can draw some expense account traffic at peak hours during the week. That's a huge advantage, and goes a long way toward filling some seats during traditional slow periods.

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

 

I only looked at today and tomorrow and didn't go into April. Based on what you found, it appears they're concentrating on Wednesdays. Interesting. I was thinking they'd do it on Mondays and Tuesdays which are generally slow nights.

 

I would be surprised to find the 1,000 point deal on a Friday or Saturday since that's when most restaurants are busiest.

 

 

Absolutely. I'd agree completely with this.

 

Morristown area has a lot of corporate business nearby, so it would seem they can draw some expense account traffic at peak hours during the week. That's a huge advantage, and goes a long way toward filling some seats during traditional slow periods.

 

 

Excellent point Paul. I had recently spoke with a restaurant owner who did something like this -- I am not intimately familiar with open table/reward points program, so I can't speak to the details. However, in Morristown, he was saying that slow nights aside, he is appealing to a different clientele on a Monday - Thursday, versus a Friday/Saturday. The corporate vs. weekend crowd can be a different dynamic -- and yes, filling your place during the "slow" nights can be a huge benefit and drastically and positively impact your bottom line.

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Had a terrific brunch there yesterday...and perhaps the best margarita around.

 

Rosie reports that

 

Master Bartender, Christopher James, formerly head bartender at Jockey Hollow Bar and Kitchen, Vail Mansion, 110 South Street, Morristown (973 -644-3180), has been promoted to Bar Director.

 

http://njmonthly.com/articles/eat-drink/table-hopping-with-rosie/chef-bryan-gregg-announces-changes-at-escape-montclair/

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  • 4 months later...

Teresa Politano invites chef Joey Baldino of Zeppoli in Collingwood to join her for dinner at the oyster bar. Chefs see restaurants differently than some others see restaurants. It's an interesting article.

 

 

The chef here is Kevin Sippel, who is deliberately low-key and camera-shy, despite his own kick-ass résumé and trails of accolades. For Sippel, it seems, it's not about Twitter followers and klieg lights, it's about braised octopus with asopao ($16).

Sippel explains the dish. His wife is Dominican and frequently prepares asopao, a rice soup, for their family. The kids love it, Sippel loves it — and it's not a common restaurant item. Also, Sippel is a fan of octopus, a dynamic but often coy ingredient. His secrets for this dish? He braises the octopus for hours, in a sofrito (garlic, Spanish onions and capers) and a homemade tomato sauce. The octopus is cooled in the sauce, absorbing the flavor. Before serving, the octopus is seared, for texture. The dish is topped with a green olive gremolata.

It's a dish that's exotic and intense, and also comforting. A shocking combination that left Baldino at a loss for words. His comment is simple, but spoken with a slight dramatic pause for effect: "That octopus dish is really something special." Baldino also likes how the dish tastes even better as it matures, the first bite alluring and daring, the last bite mellow and deep.

Then, the macaroni ($24). The pasta is homemade, with just semolina and flour, no eggs. It's peasant pasta. Added to that is house-made sausage and cannellini beans.

 

 

 

 

http://www.nj.com/inside-jersey/index.ssf/2015/08/jockey_hollow_in_morristown_wows_acclaimed_jersey_restaurateur.html#incart_most_shared-food

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The place is knocking people's socks off -- and the right people, as Paul pointed out above. I've had several friends "in the business" go there, several times, and each of them were raving about the place. The reviews have been very good, and I say that in light of the fact that you can't please everyone -- but Chris is pleasing most of them, LOL. Actually more than most.

 

Each time I've been there -- and no, I haven't posted a review -- I've liked it very much and the experience has been excellent! Never once had a problem with valet parking. I had heard that they worked something out with a nearby garage or parking lot owner, but I don't know. As far as the iPads -- they worked extremely well, and the staff was very well trained, knew their way around them, the dishes, and everything. On one visit, the waiter was asked questions about ingredients, gluten-free, etc. -- and he immediately jumped in and scrolled around, immediately finding what he/the guest was looking for. Not only did he know it, but he allowed the guest to see/read it, and he referenced it and pointed right to it. The service has been excellent. I don't know this for a fact, and wasn't told this by anyone involved -- but my feeling/thinking is that after they opened, worked out any bugs, etc. -- then staff can be trained, on the job, polished, refined, and you create culture, models, and so forth. Chris knows what he wants and has a vision for it -- and he's doing it and doing it very well.

 

My last visit there was with a seasoned, life-long industry veteran -- a chef, who is now a senior corporate executive for one of the major restaurant/management groups -- and like the article above, he really has the eye and sees things that almost everyone else won't see. Simply put -- he loved it -- not only the food, but the entire environment, experience, ambiance, landscape, etc. Sure, we both loved the food -- but as I've alway said, some people like chocolate and some people like vanilla...and some people don't like ice cream, LOL.

 

Regardless -- this place is doing very well and has already built up a serious and loyal following.

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Teresa Politano invites chef Joey Baldino of Zeppoli in Collingwood to join her for dinner at the oyster bar. Chefs see restaurants differently than some others see restaurants. It's an interesting article.

 

 

The chef here is Kevin Sippel, who is deliberately low-key and camera-shy, despite his own kick-ass résumé and trails of accolades. For Sippel, it seems, it's not about Twitter followers and klieg lights, it's about braised octopus with asopao ($16).

Sippel explains the dish. His wife is Dominican and frequently prepares asopao, a rice soup, for their family. The kids love it, Sippel loves it — and it's not a common restaurant item. Also, Sippel is a fan of octopus, a dynamic but often coy ingredient. His secrets for this dish? He braises the octopus for hours, in a sofrito (garlic, Spanish onions and capers) and a homemade tomato sauce. The octopus is cooled in the sauce, absorbing the flavor. Before serving, the octopus is seared, for texture. The dish is topped with a green olive gremolata.

It's a dish that's exotic and intense, and also comforting. A shocking combination that left Baldino at a loss for words. His comment is simple, but spoken with a slight dramatic pause for effect: "That octopus dish is really something special." Baldino also likes how the dish tastes even better as it matures, the first bite alluring and daring, the last bite mellow and deep.

Then, the macaroni ($24). The pasta is homemade, with just semolina and flour, no eggs. It's peasant pasta. Added to that is house-made sausage and cannellini beans.

 

 

 

 

http://www.nj.com/inside-jersey/index.ssf/2015/08/jockey_hollow_in_morristown_wows_acclaimed_jersey_restaurateur.html#incart_most_shared-food

 

Paul, thank you for posting this. I agree with a lot of the commentary -- and one of the things I liked about this place is the different "rooms" and tones. I've experienced that at other restaurants, and depending on your mood, what you are looking for, etc. -- you have choices, options, etc.

 

That's just my feeling, my opinion -- but here, with such a large, stunning space, you can attract a wide/wider variety of people. This may be even more of a benefit given that it's Morristown, which can be a draw and destination spot. Between size, ambiance, different feel/rooms, and excellent food and service -- this place is firing on all cylinders, and firing very well.

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  • 1 month later...

The restaurant acknowledges the parking situation could/should be better. Even with valet parking (the overflow lot is about three blocks away), it can be challenging. Mayo Center is literally at the property line, and there is a dearth of any space nearby.

 

So, 5% off for arriving / departing by Uber. Just show your evidence, drink all you want, and let Uber bring you home. That's a nice idea.

 

http://www.jockeyhollowbarandkitchen.com/

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From the restaurant's website...as Paul referred to...

 

"We know that parking is challenging at The Vail Mansion and in Morristown in general. And that's why, tonight, and every night moving forward, we will be offering 5% off your entire bill to any individual or two people who take Uber to and from the restaurant. No hassle with limited valet and a show at the theatre next door (and there is a show tonight), no danger of driving after having some of our cocktails or wine, and a discount on dinner! Leave your car at home tonight and hop in an Uber!"

 

Being that there are a lot of hotels around, people may be coming from nearby, etc. -- it might be a good idea to expand that to hotel shuttles and cabs, but I guess that opens the door to other issues. Not sure.

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  • 6 months later...

The restaurant was featured on a segment of the CBS weekend show this week. Lots of lavish photography of the woodworking, marble, dining rooms, etc. Food was sampled in the largely empty kitchen.

 

Chris Cannon's Grand Mansion restaurant...

 

http://www.cbsnews.com/live/video/chris-cannons-grand-mansion-restaurant/

 

Very nice piece...thank you for posting it Paul.

 

I've been to Jockey Hollow numerous times, and I've enjoyed it each and every time. First, I can't speak to the economics or business side of the equation -- but I will say this -- the place has been crowded every single time I've been there. It appears as if they've developed a very strong, loyal following. I have friends from Bergen County -- Mahwah, Ramsey, Allendale, Paramus, etc. -- who have been there numerous times and they rave about it. They meet friends who come from south, west, etc., and it's become their "destination" spot for a nice evening out.

 

One of the most favorable things I like about Jockey Hollow is that you have four distinct dining spaces to enjoy. What I like about that is that -- I can enjoy a very nice dinner in any of the spaces, and then go to the the "lounge" (which is the bar in the back-space of the first floor), or the wine/oyster bar, or the bar/lounge downstairs in the "cellar" space (where they have music, live bands, etc.). Jockey Hollow offers a lot -- all of it high-quality in my opinion. I've enjoyed drinks in each bar there, and it's always a lot of fun. Nice crowds, very good vibe, ambiance.

 

As far as the early complaints about parking -- I've found no problems at all. Each time I went, the valet parking was working perfectly, smoothly, and no one I was with had any problems whatsoever. Another time I was there, I went to see Dave Mason next door at the theater. We parked in the lot right across the street, paid $5 and it was simple. Unfortunately the concert ended early -- and we walked right next door to Jockey Hollow and enjoyed a great night.

 

I hope Chris does very well and continues to excel here.

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  • 11 months later...

NJ Monthly reports that Executive Chef Kevin Sippel has left Jockey Hollow, and moved back to Buffalo to care for his ailing parents. Sippel's long time chef de cuisine, Michael O'Shea will take over. Sippel will become chef of the private Buffalo Club, which was founded 150 years ago this year, with then former president Millard Fillmore as its first president.

 

"Kevin Sippel, who has been executive chef of Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen in Morristown since it opened in late 2014, worked his last shift Saturday night. Yesterday, on his 40th birthday, Sippel and his wife moved back to their native Buffalo to help look after his ailing parents.

“It was a tough decision,” said Sippel. “The recurrence of my mother’s cancer, which we thought was gone, and my father’s continuing ill health, made it necessary.”

Paying tribute to Sippel, who helped Jockey Hollow make NJM’s Top 25 list in its August Best Restaurants issues of 2015 and 2016, owner Chris Cannon said, “Kevin’s a classically gifted, technically excellent chef, one of the few executive chefs who actually worked the line every night.”

Cannon has promoted Sippel’s longtime chef de cuisine, Michael O’Shea. Though O’Shea will retain his present title, Cannon said, “Michael will lead the kitchen team. Michael’s been here since we opened. He was promoted to sous chef, then head sous chef, then chef de cuisine. He’s rock solid, works his ass off, is really calm and grounded in the moment. We have a kitchen full of people like that.”

O’Shea, 35, grew up in Parsippany, earned a degree from the Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan in 2007 and was sous chef at Salt Gastropub in Byram before joining Sippel’s opening team at Jockey Hollow.

“It’s a pretty great place to work,” said O’Shea. “We’ve got a great crew. A lot of us have been here since the beginning, something you don’t see often. Usually it’s a revolving door. That speaks volumes about Chris and Kevin and the restaurant as a whole.”

Sippel, for his part, attributed the solidarity to his and Cannon’s belief in promoting from within and “wanting it to be about the restaurant, not about me or any one person. The men and women I’ve worked with every single day are the best work force I’ve ever been a part of. They are driven to be the best. I think they’ll continue with what we set out to do.”

(One who is leaving the team, however, is banquet chef Dennis Matthews, who next week will move across town to the Blue Morel restaurant at the Westin Governor Morris Hotel.)

Cannon said he will take a more active role in “providing direction in the food. What I like to do best is the creative stuff, getting involved with food and picking wines.”

Jockey Hollow, with its three menus plus parties and special events on three different floors, “allows me the opportunity to keep doing that till the end of my days,” he added with a laugh.

Sippel will become chef of the private Buffalo Club, which was founded 150 years ago this year, with then former president Millard Fillmore as its first president."

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