Robert Treat Hotel has added a seasoned executive chef to its staff as the downtown Newark establishment continues to upgrade its banquet facilities in the wake of the Newark Club's closing.
Frank Heizler, who had been working at the hotel on an interim basis during a search process, joined the banquet team effective May 30. He will work closely with Artie Wassif, the hotel’s director of sales, to update the catering menus and bring new offerings that reflect the diverse tastes of the area’s clientele.
The hotel is owned and managed by the Berger Organization, a diversified real estate company based in Newark with significant hospitality and office properties within its portfolio. The firm has recently completed extensive renovations to the century-old hotel.
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Prior to joining the Robert Treat Hotel, Heizler’s 20-year food-service career has included cooking, running kitchens and designing menus for high-end weddings and upscale social occasions at The Venetian in Garfield and Seasons in Washington Township, where he was executive chef, and Shadowbrook at Shrewsbury. He was the opening chef at the Pleasantdale Chateau in West Orange and worked at the iconic Tavern on the Green restaurant in New York City as well as its sister locations in Florida.
“My specialty is classical French cuisine, but today, everything about catering is eclectic,” said Heizler. “At the Robert Treat, we are veering away from typical hotel fare to offer new ideas such as a la carte banquet service, more akin to a restaurant, where everything is cooked to order fresh. This is quite different than what you usually find elsewhere.”
Heizler attended the French Culinary Institute in New York City as well as Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I. and the Culinary Institute of Charleston at Trident Technical College in S.C. In order to keep up with culinary trends and refine his skills, he takes continuing education courses at the venerated Culinary Institute of America and Johnson & Wales.
Wassif noted that Heizler’s broad experience and attention to culinary trends aligns well with the changes being implemented in the Robert Treat Hotel’s banquet department.
“Here in downtown Newark, we cater to many varied ethnic backgrounds and foods, with a more urban flair," said Wassif, who had previously worked at the Newark Club, which closed in February. "Whether it’s a social occasion or a charity gala, business conference or political event, our clientele is seeking a venue that offers not only gracious banquet space but interesting, contemporary food. We’re proud to be able to offer all that under Frank’s guidance.”
Another change Heizler is bringing to the Robert Treat Hotel are farm-to-table menu options, using more local resources. “The hotel uses local vendors whenever possible, buying ‘Jersey fresh’ produce and other goods,” he said.