New York restaurateur Chris Cannon will provide the table. And Bennett Haynes will supply the farm.
Together, they plan to introduce farm-to-table dining to Morristown’s historic Vail Mansion, where Chris aims to open the Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen by late spring.
Bennett’s three-acre Ralston Farm in Mendham will be the source of fresh vegetables, the pair announced on Monday.
“As restaurateur and farmer — both passionate about great food — Chris and I are working together to build a true farm-to-table relationship, based around the highest quality seasonal produce,” Bennett said in a statement.
He also raises egg-laying hens, ducks and pigs on his farm.
“We’ll work closely with Bennett and his team on our menus and develop ideas together, since they’ll be providing most of our vegetables in season,” Chris said in the statement.
“That includes fresh local tomatoes, all types of lettuces and carrots, heirloom Thai hot peppers, Chioggia beets, Tropea onions, wasabi, baby ginger and more. Anything we want, he’ll plant!”
Construction of the restaurant is scheduled to start this month, according to the statement.
Forty North Oyster Farms in Mantoloking will supply oysters to the restaurant, which will include an Oyster & Wine Bar, along with a “glam 1920s-style cocktail lounge” called the Vail Bar; the Rathskeller, a private dining space; and the second-floor Ding Room, which will feature modern American- and Italian-inspired cuisine with a farm-to-table emphasis.
Built by AT&T President Theodore Vail during World War I, the Vail Mansion for decades served as Morristown’s town hall and police headquarters.
Woodmont Properties redeveloped the site, adding 31 luxury condos a few years ago. The town stipulated that the original, historic part of the the site–the mansion–must remain accessible to the public.
It took a long time to find a commercial tenant able to deal with the mansion’s challenging configuration–15,000 square feet spanning three floors.
Chris, a Mountain Lakes resident who opened All’onda near New York’s Union Square last month, thinks the Vail Mansion is beautiful challenge.
“We need to bring a lot of life to it. The customers bring the life to it,” he told MorristownGreen.com last fall.
He has agreed to pay Morristown $500,000 over 10 years to secure a state concessionaire’s permit to serve alcohol. His investors are prepared to invest up to $4 million into the project, according to his lawyer.
Renowned for such Manhattan restaurants as Palio, Remi, L’Impero, Alto and Marea, Chris also envisions Jockey Hollow as a cultural hub that will house a contemporary art collection.
And he intends to promote healthy eating and environmental awareness in New Jersey schools, through his affiliation with New York City’s Wellness in the Schools program, he said.