Restaurant Village at Long Valley: History & Heritage Meet Hospitality
Ensconced in the verdant beauty of northern New Jersey’s Highlands region, the Restaurant Village at Long Valley serves as a distinctive – and deliciously diverse – dining destination for both locals and day trippers. This cluster of restaurants shares a desirable location at the base of Schooley’s Mountain, a recreational vacation area for more than a century.
Visitors to scenic Washington Township can cap a day of outdoor activity by enjoying the pleasures of the table at Long Valley Pub and Brewery, Andrea’s Dining Room, La Rienda Latin Café or Red Lantern, an Asian kitchen specializing in sushi. Each eatery features seasonal outdoor dining. The close proximity of the restaurants encourages patrons to mix-and-match dining experiences, trying a different course at each place or enjoying a mini pub crawl in the Village.
The concept of Restaurant Village was forged through the vision of Steve Bussel and wife Andrea Mulleta-Bussel, who purchased the successful brewpub and an adjacent restaurant in 2009. Two neighboring properties were also acquired, renovated and opened as complementary restaurants, creating a spectrum of gastronomic choices to feed every appetite – and encourage adventurous eating.
First settled in the late eighteenth century, Long Valley is steeped in colonial history. Originally named German Valley for the preponderance of immigrants from that country, the community was given a more politically neutral name following World War II. The buildings that house Restaurant Village boast a wide range of storied pasts. Nearby, socialites and political leaders at the turn of the twentieth century from New York, Philadelphia and Washington DC, flocked to luxurious (and now defunct) mountain resorts to reap the purported health benefits of the mineral waters of Schooley’s Mountain Spring. Today, the nearby Columbia Trail, a rail-trail tracing the South Branch of the Raritan River, attracts hikers and cycling enthusiasts.
Long Valley Pub and Brewery was constructed as a classic stone bank barn in 1771, and remained part of a working dairy farm until the 1940s. The barn then sat idle and fell into complete disrepair until 1995, when efforts to transform it into a brewpub began. The renovation was respectful of the structure’s character and retained the handsome stone walls, original window opening and hand-hewn beams. The addition of a loft-style wraparound dining area and bar now provides airy, upper-floor hospitality in the voluminous interior space. Along with a new entrance, a spacious stone-walled terrace with an outdoor bar was added to the exterior.
La Rienda, built by John Peter Neitzer in 1763, became Neitzer’s Tavern a few years later when his nephew William Neitzer assumed ownership. The building was soon expanded and it is rumored that General George Washington enjoyed a glass of wine there on several occasions wile conferring with Continental Army officers during the war. Is there any better endorsement for a tavern than George Washington once drank here?
Red Lantern sushi is another example of the type of sturdy stone barn commonly crafted by early German settlers that has survived and been repurposed as a restaurant. Though much more compact than what now houses the neighboring brewpub, beautifully preserved wide plank floors connect the past with the present in the restyled contemporary interior.
Andrea’s Dining Room began as The Long Valley Hotel, which is believed to have opened sometime in the 1870s. Beyond providing food and lodging, the hotel served as hub of community activity, the recently revamped interior still captures the feel of yesterday elegance, while catering to modern sensibilities.
Long Valley’s pastoral farmlands bring enticements to foodies, offering the opportunity to be immersed in American history while experiencing superior cuisine from all corners of the world.
For additional information, contact:
Andrea Maletta-Bussel, Vice President of Marketing, Restaurant Village at Long Valley