BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ — Grain & Cane, a progressive American Brasserie coming to life in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, will open its doors to the public on May 1, 2018. Owned by the Connell family – who at one point was the largest non-governmental rice and sugar distributor in the world – the restaurant’s menu and design draw inspiration from their rich legacy. Grain & Cane will be a desirable new dining destination featuring a menu of modern classics with a contemporary twist, alongside wines, local craft beers, and cocktails.
“We’re confident Grain & Cane will be a welcome new addition to this area in Central New Jersey, and I can’t think of a better location than Connell Corporate Park, where both locals and travelers will have the opportunity to enjoy our offerings,” said Shane Connell, Executive Vice President of the Connell Company. “With the feel of your neighborhood restaurant, our approachable concept celebrates quality ingredients transformed into simply prepared dishes with a creative edge, and we are excited to share this with our guests.”
Helmed by Chef Will Hawkins, the new eatery will serve lunch and dinner, and also offer additional late-night bar hours on the weekends. With a focus on utilizing fresh ingredients from local farms, the menu offers a diverse array of options for every palate. An ever-changing signature menu peppered with items inspired by the Connell family’s favorite dishes will include innovative salads, prime steak tartare with gaufrette potato crisps, responsibly sourced fresh oysters, lobster and fish, a multi-tiered seafood tower showcasing the raw bar offerings, a generously portioned short rib, a southern-inspired fried chicken featuring red beans and Carolina gold rice, and open fired sourdough pizzas. Other soon-to-be favorites include a featured cheeseburger, family-style tomahawk ribeye butchers board and Korean pork belly lettuce wraps.
Puccini Group collaboratively designed the sophisticated space to reflect an industrial warehouse-style feel, inspired by the rice and grain processing plants of the past. Recalling the Connell family history in the grain business with a refined industrial aesthetic, Grain & Cane evokes a strong sense of ancestral tradition with polished concrete floors, exposed brick walls and steel columns that reference the family’s grain storage facilities. The use of rich materials such as tufted leather and wood in the main dining room balance the factory feel. The millwork and custom banquettes, reminiscent of the time grandfather Grover Connell spent in Paris, are complemented by large Eglomise mirrors, chandeliers, brick walls, and welcoming touches of rich wood.
A custom-made Solari board, once used for posting grain prices on the trading floor, serves as the focal point for the open bar area featuring rotating specials and beverage lists as well as inspirational quotes and sayings from company founder Grover Connell. Other decorative touches incorporated by Puccini Group include an open-concept, ladder-accessible, two-story back bar and custom murals based on classic rice bag trademarks.
Grover’s Office, a private dining and intimate event space for up to 14 people, was modeled after Grover Connell’s personal office. A fireplace and modern light fixtures adorn the intimate space, along with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves sprinkled with artifacts and photographs from the Connell’s private collection pay homage to Grover.
For additional seating, a glass garage door opens to an al fresco dining area with heat lamps and fire pits. Off-property, an affiliated food truck, Grain & Cane GastroTruck, will offer a customizable menu and be used for unique special events and community celebrations.
Grain & Cane is directly connected to the new Embassy Suites Berkeley Heights, which also opens its doors on May 1, 2018 as the first phase of a multi-year development project. For more information about Grain & Cane, visit the website here.