New Jersey has many exceptional restaurants and Bergen County is home to many of them. But, there’s one that is a particular favorite for a lot of folks: the Saddle River Inn. The uber romantic eatery, which OpenTable recently named as one of the top 100 restaurants in the country, is situated in a 19th century restored barn nestled along the banks of the Saddle River, is BYOB and, of course, has delicious food. That’s all thanks to one man: Jamie Knott.
The chef and owner is a proud Garden State resident residing in Nutley, something that’s actually inspired his cooking. “Nutley specifically is very Italian centric, so that plays a small role in my cooking style,” he told OMJ. “But, people forget New Jersey is the Garden State and we have an amazing variety of locally grown produce in season, which generally is the way I like to cook.”
He added, “I let the earth dictate the menu. Seasonality is very important because at the peak of a season is when ingredients taste there best, it’s also good for the economy to support local growers and farmers.”
Some of the famous dishes include Hudson Valley Foie Gras,Green Circle Heritage Breed Chicken and one of the most expensive in New Jersey: a $48 Creekstone Farm Prime-Dry-Aged Sirloin. Plus there is a 6-course, $100 per person seasonal tasting menu described as “a culinary journey including the height of season ingredients and Saddle River Inn classics.”
Though Chef Knott has many accolades under his belt, like just being named one of the best restaurants for a special occasion by NJ.com, and recently he opened a second restaurant Cellar335 in Jersey City, he still can’t believe it. “It feels amazing,” he told us. “I’ve always dreamt of owning my own restaurant and the Saddle River Inn is that dream realized.”
Sure his cooking skills had led to his success, but the local chef credits his fellow Jersey residents. “Saddle River is a wonderful community with many lovely residents who have been instrumental in our success,” he said. “I can’t think of someone who wouldn’t like working In a barn along the river! Tom Sawyer maybe?”