A couple of weeks ago, I went to see The Waterboys at the Mayo Performing Arts Center, in Morristown, with my good friend, Sharon. As it was impossible to find street parking in Morristown on a Saturday night, we followed signs to one of the many public decks, an in doing so, we passed a most stunning mansion, with a long reflective pool in the front.
When I got home, I told Mr. Hot how fabulous The Waterboys were, then went on to gush about this fabulous mansion right next door. The wealth of knowledge he is, Mr. Hot casually explained that it must have been the historic Vail Mansion, home to the first president of AT&T, Theodore Vail. He subsequently marveled at how I could not have known that.
Smitten with this building, I did a bit of googling and learned that, (Mr. Hot was right), and that poor Mr. Vail, never got to live in his mansion! According to Morristown-NJ.org:
Built between 1916 and 1918, the Vail Mansion was designed to serve as both a residence and a museum for Theodore Vail. He was twice president of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, and considered the chief architect of the Bell System. The first floor of this Italian Renaissance Palazzo style mansion was to house Mr. Vail´s collection of art and family inventions, while the second floor was to be his living quarters. The bronze front doors contain eight panels that depict scenes from local folklore. Unfortunately, Theodore Vail died soon after the completion of the building and never lived there. In 1922, the building was acquired by the Town of Morristown for municipal offices.
Yesterday, I was overjoyed to receive notice from Diaz-Schloss Communications stating that by Spring 2014, Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen -- a four-part restaurant concept -- will occupy a three-story space in the spectacular Vail Mansion, featuring modern American and Italian-inspired menus.
The release went on to note:
Roseland and Woodmont Properties acquired and faithfully restored the property to its original grandeur. Notes Stephen A. Santola, Esq., Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Woodmont Properties, "After years of searching, we were finally able to locate the right restaurateur to make this incredible space work as a four-star dining establishment."
That restaurateur is Chris Cannon, who fell in love with Vail Mansion after his first walkthrough, when he recognized its potential to become one of the state's most iconic restaurant spaces. The exciting 4-part concept will include The Oyster & Wine Bar at Jockey Hollow (with a casual, contemporary menu); a glam 1920's-style cocktail lounge ("Vail Bar") and a private event space ("The Rathskeller"). The fourth site on premise will be The Dining Room at Jockey Hollow on the Mansion's second floor, with a regional, sustainable farm-to-table focus.
Chris Cannon, a Mountain Lakes resident for ten years, has been a principal in such acclaimed Italian restaurants as Palio, Remi, L'Impero, Convivio, Alto and James Beard Award-winner Marea. He notes that the cuisine of the new Morristown concept will be on par with those venues, though entrées will be more reasonably priced.
"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," adds Debra Tantleff, a Vice President of Development at Roseland.
"I can't imagine a more ideal location in New Jersey for a restaurant," Mr. Cannon concludes. "Physically, it's 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."
110 South Street
Morristown, NJ 07960