Chris Siversen expected to be hanging up bunting and breaking open the champagne more than a year ago. In summer 2019, Siversen—chef of Maritime Parc, a New Jersey Monthly Top 30 on the Jersey City waterfront—signed a lease for the vacant restaurant space in Livingston’s Westminster Hotel. He was going to turn what had been the Strip House into an updated steakhouse with both a sushi bar and raw bar. It would be called The Feathered Fox.
“In March 2020, we were about five weeks from opening when Covid hit,” says Siversen. The plan was put on hold. Meanwhile, the pandemic forced Maritime Parc to temporarily close. Its location, far from any neighborhood, made takeout a nonstarter. The Restaurant at Maritime Parc reopened in March. Now The Feathered Fox is finally ready to shake its tail, with an opening anticipated in mid-June.
[RELATED: New Chef Named at Morristown’s Jockey Hollow]
“When we did the research for the new restaurant,” recounts Siversen, “we found there’s a strong connection between steakhouses and sushi. It’s been fun because I’m creating a lot of the rolls with the sushi team I’m working with. On the regular menu, I’ll have classic steakhouse dishes but also a decent amount of vegetable dishes because that’s so front and center now.” One such dish is a roasted carrot appetizer with a ginger-garlic yogurt sauce and toasted sesame seeds.
“We’ll do a braised celery root entree, glazed with red wine and served with farro and oyster mushrooms in a lemon vinaigrette,” Siversen continues. “What I’ve been discovering at Maritime Parc is that a lot of people want vegetable entrees, so we’re starting off with that right away. There will always be one vegetarian entree and three vegetarian appetizers. Between salads, appetizers and entrees, there will be eight vegetarian options.”
“Yes, there will be heavy steak options, but if you’re a vegetarian, you’ll appreciate not sitting in a room with a head of a calf on the wall. We designed the room to not look like a men’s clubhouse. We wanted to balance feminine and masculine, and it came out real nice,” says Siversen.
“All of my meat comes from DeBragga and Spitler in Jersey City. Most of their cattle comes from Iowa, and their quality is top of the ladder. I’ve used them all 11 years at Maritime Parc. We’ll have an aging room, and you can go in and see how the steaks are aging. We’ll do a ribeye, dry-aged for, I think, 41 days.” Filet mignon, New York strip and a porterhouse for two will also make an appearance on The Feathered Fox’s menu.
“With my history at Maritime Parc, there will be a decent amount of seafood on the menu as well, especially on the appetizer menu. We’ll do the crispy, fried mashed potato rings from Maritime Parc—they look like big doughnuts and come with a mustard fondue. There’s a grilled oyster dish with bacon, leeks and cream that we’ll bring over from Maritime Parc. My pastry chef at Maritime Parc, Michael Lee, will do the desserts for both restaurants, including all-new ones for The Feathered Fox.”
“We’re fully built out, the wine cases are filled—we’re ready to go as soon as we can hire enough staff. It’s been difficult throughout the industry. We’re just waiting for people—not customers, but employees. But we’ll get there.”
As for the name, ‘Feathered Fox’…
“We were working with a branding team, and we had a list of 200 names. I said, ‘When you hear an animal name, you know it’s probably a tavern or restaurant.’ I wanted that because the Westminster Hotel makes you think of the English countryside and a fox hunt.”
“There was another name, feathered something, [but] I thought that would be cool with ‘fox’ because it’s a mystical creature. No one has ever seen one. So the idea is: expect the unexpected when you walk into The Feathered Fox.”Click here to leave a comment