Long Awaited, the Hill Nears Completion

Michelin-starred Jersey native expects to open his Closter restaurant in May.

Chef Ben Pollinger, who won a Michelin star at Oceana in Manhattan, is finally in the home stretch of opening the Hill, his  New American restaurant, with a liquor license, in Closter.

Back in December, the Jersey native told us he expected to open the restaurant, his first as owner, in February. Now, he says, the soft opening will be early May, with the official opening “definitely before Memorial Day weekend.”

Pollinger says the renovation of the big farmhouse took longer than expected—partly because of changes to the kitchen he made “to let me do more things;” partly because he decided to fully renovate the restrooms; and partly due to the usual surprises that occur when the bones of a building are examined during the gauntlet that restaurateurs call a build-out.

In December, Pollinger described the Hill’s cuisine as “globally-inspired American. I’ve always cooked with global flavors,” he explained, “whether different European cuisines, a little bit of Asian, Latin American and even some spices and bolder flavors based on my time as chef de cuisine at Tabla [the celebrated modern Indian restaurant in Manhattan that closed in 2010].”

For all the oomph that implies, Pollinger added, “Overall, I have a little bit of a lighter perspective. [The Hill] will be fresh and approachable, not fine dining—food you could eat every day.”

—Eric Levin

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Recipe for Success

Attention independent restaurants; food truck operators!

Here’s a recipe contest just for you.

General Mills Foodservice, based in Minneapolis, is accepting entries to its 4th annual Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest.

The contest celebrates independent family restaurants—often called neighborhood eateries—and the one-of-a-kind dishes these places serve that showcase their local flavor.

Entries are due Monday, April 30.

Here are the details:

There’s more at stake than bringing local pride to the communities of the five restaurants that will be crowned winners. Those winning restaurants will be raising funds for an area charity as well, because in addition to snagging a $5,000 prize, an additional $1,000 will be donated to a local charity chosen by the winner.

And, on top of the cash prizes, General Mills will host a festive celebration at each winner’s locale this August.

In true contest lingo, that’s not all: One of the five regional winners will be named the grand-prize winner and receive both an additional $25,000 cash prize as well as an additional $5,000 for the charity of their choice. There’s also a trip to New York for the NYC Wine & Food Festival this October as part of the grand-prize package.

The contest is open to food-service operators, chefs and line cooks who develop and prepare recipes for menu items served at independent, commercial restaurants or food trucks. Participants are to submit original recipes that use at least one ingredient from General Mills’ list of eligible food-service products.

To learn what those products are, and to read complete information about the contest, visit NeighborhoodtoNation.com or call 800-215-6120.

General Mills’ brands include Pillsbury, Gold Medal, Yoplait and Mountain High. Recipes will be judged on taste, appearance, creativity and food-service viability. The five regions are West, North Central, South Central, Northeast and Southeast. New Jersey is in the Northeast region.

Remember: The entry deadline is Monday, April 30.

—Andy Clurfeld

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