Chef Chat: Jamie Knott On His New Saddle River Café – New Jersey Monthly
Owner of the upscale Saddle River Inn adds a fast casual café.
Since purchasing the Saddle River Inn in 2013, chef Jamie Knott has won a devoted following for his refined new American cuisine and made NJM’s Top 25 restaurant list every year.
On Tuesday, July 17, Knott will open a casual companion spot, the 44-seat Saddle River Café. Like the Saddle River Inn, the café will be BYO.
Table Hopping: How did you come up with the idea?
Jamie Knott: I couldn’t get what I needed in the morning from my local Starbucks—fresh-pressed juices, smoothies, healthful food, great coffee. I drove by this place [the former Carucci’s] every day for three years. Finally, I called the landlord. I set up a meeting and the rest is history.
TH: How did the concept evolve?
JK: In the beginning it was gonna be coffee and doughnuts. But as we got into it, I looked at the space and thought, Why dumb down a great space and surroundings? You have a demographic here that lets you aim for the fences.
So we started doing an elevated concept—elevated food, elevated coffee. All our coffee is from Devoción, out of Brooklyn. It’s really the freshest coffee in the country. And it’s shipped direct. [Owner] Steven Sutton’s parents are coffee bean farmers in Medellín. His whole family lives there, he’s the real deal. We have drip, we have modbar [pour-over], and we have three taps—cold brew, nitro cold brew, and cascara. Cascara is the fruit of the coffee bean, it almost has a cherry cola flavor to it.