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Hillcrest Avenue Closed Until Noon Tuesday

Jockey Hollow Bar and Kitchen Coming Spring 2014

American and Italian-inspired cuisine to be featured inside the Vail Mansion.

One Jockey Hollow closes, another opens.

While that might not be an actual expression the day after the government shutdown shuttered Jockey Hollow Park comes the announcement of the new  Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen planning a grand opening for early next year.

New York restaurateur Chris Cannon who plans to open Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen inside Morristown’s historic Vail Mansion.

"It's in a 1917 landmarked, unbelievably beautiful building," Cannon told the website Eater.com. "It's going to have a casual dining component to it, an oyster/wine bar, a huge cocktail lounge, a very refined second seat 70-seat fine dining concept, a lot of banqueting, outdoor seating. It's going to be really great."

According to Cannon, the location means savings for Morristown diners. 

"It's going to have amazing food, but it's also going to be very reasonably priced, because I pay a tenth of the rent that I paid in Manhattan,"Cannon said.

Offering contemporary American and Italian-inspired cuisine, Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen will occupy a three-story space that will include an oyster and wine bar with a casual menu, a sophisticated 1920’s style cocktail lounge, an upscale dining room and private event space.

The restaurant will allow members of the public to experience Vail Mansion from inside the walls of the cherished Morristown landmark and the opulent former home of Theodore N. Vail, the first president of AT&T. Roseland and Woodmont Properties acquired and faithfully restored the property to its original grandeur. 

 “Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen is an exceptional use for this space and a great way to connect the public to Vail Mansion while adding a unique flair to Morristown’s thriving downtown restaurant scene,” said Debra Tantleff, a Vice President of Development at Roseland. “Guests will be able to enjoy an elegant dining experience and revel in the historic ambience and architectural splendor of this one-of-a-kind location.”

Stephen A. Santola, Esq., Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Woodmont Properties, added that the developers of Vail Mansion were very selective in their search for a tenant, considering only businesses that would ideally complement the historic character of Vail Mansion.

“After years of searching, we were finally able to locate the right New York City restaurateur to make this incredible space work as a four-star dining establishment,” Santola said.

Farm to Table

For his part, Cannon, said he fell in love with Vail Mansion when he first toured it, and immediately recognized its potential to become one of New Jersey’s most iconic restaurant spaces.

He intends to bring an upscale farm-to-table dining concept to Morristown that incorporates fresh, local ingredients from New Jersey. The Mountain Lakes resident, who has been a principal in such well-known Italian restaurants as Palio, Remi, L’Impero, Convivio, Alto, All’Onda and James Beard Award winner Marea, said the cuisine of his new Morristown restaurant will be on par with those establishments, although the entrees will be more reasonably priced.

Theodore N. Vail originally built Vail Mansion some time between 1916 and 1918, with the idea of creating an Italian Renaissance Palazzo-style mansion to house his extensive collection of art and family inventions. The Roseland/Woodmont partnership undertook a multi-million dollar renovation of the mansion interior, façade and associated Great Lawn along with the development of award-winning condominium residences annexed to the building. 

Paying homage to the original design, Cannon has commissioned eight artists to create original pieces for the restaurant that will thoughtfully incorporate a contemporary flair into the historic charm of the space. 

Cannon said he is particularly thrilled with the Mansion’s location in the heart of Morristown, right next to the Mayo Performing Arts Center, where theater patrons could easily stop in for dinner or a drink before each evening’s performance. The multi-level layout allows him to create distinct dining and lounge experiences, and the beautiful grounds of the Vail Mansion estate offer an attractive setting for seasonal outdoor dining.

“I couldn’t imagine a more ideal location in New Jersey for a restaurant,” Cannon said. “Physically, it is one of the most beautiful spaces around.  There’s no way I could ever find anything remotely like this in New York City, or even in New Jersey.”

According to Cannon, Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen is looking forward to opening in the spring of 2014.

TC October 22, 2013 at 11:09 AM
I'm pleased to hear that this project is going forward, and I look forward to seeing it when it's done. But the article is a little light on details. Who is the Designer or Architect? Are any plans or renderings available for Patch to publish? How many people will the restaurant accommodate? Have drawings been filed with the building department? Do the alterations require the approval of the State Historical Preservation Office? When is construction scheduled to begin? How much is it expected to cost? In any case, I think this restaurant is a great thing for Morristown, and I'm glad to see the Vail Mansion's historic spaces put to good use.

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