A visit to Jersey City’s new riverfront restaurant Maddy Rose at Liberty House embodies a stylish getaway to a Mediterranean hotspot. But Maddy Rose goes one better for a destination that won’t require a plane ride, with its close-up panoramic view of downtown Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.
Maddy Rose is the spanking-new incarnation of the venerable Liberty House restaurant, which has hosted celebratory dinners and events since 2001. Liberty House was the first of many upscale Garden State restaurants under the umbrella of Landmark Hospitality, founded by Frank and Jeanne Cretella.
Maddy Rose is named for an exuberant, of-the-moment, 30-year-old restaurant authority. She’s also the Cretellas’ daughter, Maddy. We talked to the family, and Landmark’s top chef Anthony Bucco, about Maddy Rose the restaurant.
NJM: Liberty House was so well-known and busy. What prompted its reinvention as Maddy Rose?
Jeanne Cretella: Maddy Rose is the next generation of Liberty House. And our daughter Maddy is the next generation of Landmark Hospitality.
Frank Cretella: Landmark Hospitality is proudly an ongoing family business. Renaming our beloved Liberty House restaurant for Maddy honors our family’s ongoing passion for delighting New Jersey diners and wedding celebrants. It’s our heritage and our mission.
Jeanne: To be exact, the restaurant is Maddy Rose at Liberty House; we kept the Liberty House name for our special-occasion and event aspect of the overall property. So if an unforgettable Liberty House wedding and its extraordinary scenery have been in your someday plans, you can still make it happen.
Maddy, what’s your take on the transition from Liberty House to Maddy Rose?
Maddy Cretella: Maddy Rose’s hospitality soul hasn’t changed. Our former staff, including executive chef Nick Paller, are in place. They’re as committed as ever to delivering the food and service, and of course the view, that have brought celebratory diners to the tip of Jersey City for 22 years. Maddy Rose is lively and spirited, and it’s still a place for festivities, whether they commemorate life’s milestones or the joys of friendship.
As my parents said, Maddy Rose is not just a name; it’s a testament to family traditions and innovations–a family that has come to include Landmark Hospitality diners, too. I was the little girl who grew up at Liberty House. It was my second home and that’s true once again. I’m Landmark Hospitality’s engagement and marketing director now. Families change with the times! So do their tastes and preferences. Our business responds to New Jersey’s dining tastes and presents new ideas.
Maddy, how has the Garden State’s dining style evolved since 2001?
Maddy: Today’s Jerseyans go out not just to eat, but to be with their friends and maybe make some new ones. For them, a vibrant social scene is as essential to a meal out as high-quality food. We cater to the social lifestyle with many ways to enjoy and share Maddy Rose. We serve lunch, dinner and brunch, and we provide numerous and very different dining environments. Diners can settle into our airy, bright dining room, with big tables for friends and family, or tables for two or four. Or they can relax outdoors on our sunny patio or in a semi-private dining cabana. Everyone feels immersed in that spectacular view of the city skyline and the Statue of Liberty. Those memories create a bond.
Is there a bar scene at Maddy Rose?
Maddy: It’s major! There’s an outdoor bar and an indoor bar and surrounding tables. They’re the social epicenter of Maddy Rose. The atmosphere crackles with social energy. Our mixologists’ craft cocktails are perfect, and the espresso martini service for six is all over Instagram. It’s so popular we offer classes on making them.
People come to the bar for cocktails, wine, bites, happy hour or even a whole meal. I know that a lot of them feel that Maddy Rose is their social and dining go-to. That’s great because we want diners to feel at home here and keep coming home. We keep things new and fun with live music, special menus, seasonal dinners and appealing events.
Is your Mediterranean-influenced menu a response to diners’ wish list?
Maddy: Absolutely. Today’s Jersey diners are committed to staying healthy, and they seek out wellness-oriented, Mediterranean-style cuisine. It’s not a trend, it’s a modern outlook. Maddy Rose’s menu is diverse; we believe in giving diners lots of choices, and they appreciate our range of food and drink. The varied options satisfy everyone at the table and leave plenty of choices for the next visit.
Does Maddy Rose’s range of menu selections match the diversity of the experience?
Chef Anthony Bucco: As Maddy noted, the team envisioned Maddy Rose as a very social shared experience all around. So the menu invites diners to menu-hop: to try its ever-changing, seasonal small plates, then dig into sharing plates for two like seafood risotto, tomahawk steak or raw-bar tower. Or diners can simply order what they’re craving, whether it’s our standout burger, a golden-grain harvest bowl, or a whole branzino or red snapper.
What we mean by calling Maddy Rose’s menu Mediterranean is that it’s garden-fresh and micro-seasonal, grilled or roasted rather than fried, olive oil in place of butter, an emphasis on seafood. The preparations are inspired and the flavors nuanced. These dishes are immensely pleasurable yet make you feel good about what you’re eating.
Maddy: Yes. Maddy Rose is good for you.
Maddy Rose at Liberty House: 76 Audrey Zapp Drive, Jersey City; 201-395-0300
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