Food & Drink

Common Lot in Millburn Takes Prize for Best New Restaurant

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Chef Ehren Ryan of Millburn's Common Lot Restaurant Credits: Jonathan Sym
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HAMILTON, NJ - Common Lot of Millburn was named Best New Restaurant on Saturday at the Garden State Culinary Awards. The original candidate list was released in February, and then the top three vote-getters in each category were announced in April. The candidates are voted on by about 100 independent judges from around the state - journalists, food writers, cookbook authors and other culinary experts. 

The Best New Restaurant category started with a field of ten restaurants and then came down to Barrio Costero, Common Lot and Graze. Common Lot brought home to Millburn with as "a restaurant opened in the previous calendar year (2016) that displays excellence in food and service, already has established a distinctive voice and promises to set high standards for years to come."

Winners in additional categories are highlighted in bold.

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BEST NEW RESTAURANT

*Barrio Costero, Asbury Park
*Common Lot, Millburn
Cooper House, Pennsauken
*Graze, Little Silver
James on Main, Hackettstown
Kimchi Smoke, Westwood
The Kitchen Step, Jersey City
Sanook Thai, Haddonfield
Shamone Bites + Wine, Cape May
Viaggio Ristorante, Wayne

BEST RESTAURANT
A restaurant in operation in New Jersey for at least five years that displays overall excellence and consistency of quality in food, atmosphere and service and has set high standards in the industry.

* A Toute Heure, Cranford
* Cucharamama, Hoboken
* The Frog and the Peach, New Brunswick

BEST CHEF
A chef in a professional capacity in New Jersey for at least five consecutive years whose accomplishments have served to inspire, educate and set standards in both the state and the industry.

* Scott Anderson, Elements, Princeton, and Mistral, Princeton
* Andrew “Drew’’ Araneo, Drew’s Bayshore Bistro, Keyport 
* Ryan DePersio, Fascino, Montclair; Battello, Jersey City; The Kitchen Step, Jersey City

BEST CASUAL RESTAURANT
An informal, moderately priced, independently owned eatery with high-quality food that reflects the character of New Jersey and/or its surrounding community. Must have been in operation for at least five years.

* Broad Street Diner, Keyport
* DeLorenzo’s Tomato Pies, Robbinsville
* The Pop Shop, Collingswood

OUTSTANDING FARMER
A farmer whose primary income is derived from agricultural pursuits and has demonstrated significant talent and skill in the profession, as well as setting consistent standards of excellence. Must have been working as a farmer for at least five years.

* Matthew Bruckler III, JAH’s Creation Organic, Egg Harbor Township
* McCormack Family, McCormack Farms, Middletown
* Peter, John and Rebecca Melick, Melick’s Town Farm, Oldwick, Tewksbury Township

OUTSTANDING PASTRY CHEF/BAKER
A pastry chef or baker working in a professional capacity in New Jersey for at least three years in a restaurant, café, bakery or other public outlet who has displayed overall excellence in pastries, desserts and/or bread-making.

* Biemiller Family, McMillan’s Bakery, Westmont
* Fernandez Family, Argentina Bakery, Union City
* Debbie Mumford, Mumford’s Culinary Center, Tinton Falls

OUTSTANDING WINE PROFESSIONAL
A wine professional working in New Jersey who has proven skills and talent and has had a significant positive effect on the industry.

* Nicholas Harary, owner, Restaurant Nicholas, Middletown
* Nick Pizzonia, vice president, Court Liquors, West End, Long Branch
* Chuck Russo, owner, Carlo Russo Wine and Spirit World, Ho-Ho-Kus

OUTSTANDING BEER PROFESSIONAL
A beer professional working in New Jersey who has proven skills and talent and has had a significant positive effect on the industry.

* Augie Carton, co-founder, Carton Brewing Company, Atlantic Highlands
* Michael Kane, president/founder, Kane Brewing Company, Ocean Township
* Gene Muller, founder, Flying Fish Brewing Company, Somerdale

OUTSTANDING SPIRITS PROFESSIONAL
A spirits professional working in New Jersey who has proven skills and talent and has had a significant positive effect on the industry. (tie)

* Brant Braue, owner and master distiller, Jersey Artisan Distilling, Fairfield
* Russell Lewis, owner, Michael Johannsen, head bartender, Watermark, Asbury Park

* Bryan Mack, bartender, Verve, Somerville**

**Mack was placed on the ballot before his death in January. The committee decided to keep his name there to honor his work and memory; he was one of the three top vote-getters in this category.

RISING STAR CHEF
A chef age 30 or younger as of the previous calendar year whose accomplishments and talent already have served to inspire and impress and promise to set standards for years to come. Must have worked in a professional capacity as a chef for a minimum of three years, including two years in New Jersey.

* Christopher Atamian, chef/owner, Porcini, Highlands
* A.J. Capella, chef de cuisine, The Ryland Inn, Whitehouse, Readington Township
* Jacqueline Platzer, assistant culinary director, PJW Restaurant Group, Haddonfield

OUTSTANDING FOOD MARKET
An established, independently owned retail food market that demonstrates a high level of quality in goods offered, service to its customers and devotion to its community. Must have been in operation for at least five years.

* The Cheese Cave, Red Bank
* Delicious Orchards, Colts Neck
* Market Basket, Franklin Lakes

OUTSTANDING FOOD ARTISAN
A food artisan who has demonstrated significant talent and skill in their chosen genre and has set new or consistent standards of achievement and excellence. Must have been working in the genre for at least three years.

* Gabrielle Carbone and Matthew Errico, The Bent Spoon, Princeton
* Eran Wajswol, Valley Shepherd Creamery, Long Valley
* Jonathan and Nina White, Bobolink Dairy and Bakehouse, Alexandria Township

GARDEN STATE CULINARY LEGEND
A food professional, institution or restaurant with a rich, storied history of high standards, commitment, accomplishment and influence. The contributions of the person, place or institution to the culinary arts in New Jersey must have affected residents in positive ways for at least 10 years.

* D'Artagnan, Union
* Knife & Fork Inn, Atlantic City
* Chris Mumford, co-owner, Mumford’s Culinary Center, Tinton Falls

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