New restaurant Agricola to open Sunday, replacing Lahiere’s on Witherspoon St.
The latest project of restaurateur and local farmer Jim Nawn, which he has described as “rustic American,” will feature fresh and seasonal ingredients handpicked from Nawn’s own Great Road Farm located four miles away in Skillman.
Nawn said. He explained that the restaurant will use vegetables and eggs from Great Road.
“The farm is where I live, and it’s an asset in a restaurant, so I was able to pull the two together,” he said. “It’s things that are grown locally and in season that have the best taste.”
The ingredients will be prepared by chef Josh Thomsen, who was named a “Rising Star Chef” by StarChefs. Thomsen has worked at Michelin-star restaurant The French Laundry and Tao restaurant at the Venetian in Las Vegas, which was the highest-grossing restaurant in the country while he was there.
“He’s done a lot of great things in his career,” Agricola manager Billy Van Dolsen said. “He’s very well-established and well-thought-of in this industry.”
Nawn has been planning this restaurant since 2010, when he attended culinary school at the Institute of Culinary Education and later completed a residency at Veritas in New York.
At the end of Nawn’s residency, the space at 11 Witherspoon Street became available. He signed a lease on it in January of last year.
Since then, Nawn said he has been “polishing up the details,” overseeing the construction and renovation process of the two historic buildings which collectively make up the restaurant’s space. Agricola was scheduled to open in late 2012, but construction delays pushed the opening to early 2013.
“The landlords’ construction and renovation grew in scope significantly,” Nawn said. “Our construction dragged on a bit longer [than expected] too because of the quirkiness of the building.”
Community members have expressed excitement about the upcoming opening in reactions to the frequent updates on Agricola’s Facebook page, which has nearly 1,000 followers.
“People are really looking forward to our opening, without a doubt,” Van Dolsen said.
“I think that the new restaurant will attract more people to the town and it will be good for the town,” said Michael Moriello, owner and chef at La Mezzaluna, located down the street from Agricola.
When asked whether he was concerned about competition, Moriello said the two are “completely different restaurants.”
“We’re looking forward to a friendly competitive nature in the town,” said Charles Arrington, manager of the Witherspoon Grill, located further down Witherspoon Street. “We welcome the diversity — we’re a steakhouse, and they have a bit of a different thing going on.”
Van Dolsen said he believes Agricola will bring innovative cuisine and welcoming service in a casual atmosphere.
“We think we have something special here, so now it’s time to perform,” Nawn said.
Reader Comments (0)
No comments yet. Be the first to post your opinion on this article.