Church Street Café kicks off first anniversary celebration

The Montclair Times
Thursday, August 18, 2005

Defying the wilting heat, Church Street Café owners Cheryl and Greg Spinelli have having a whirlwind summer. They’ve appointed a new executive chef, Kevin Peterson, and are about to launch a monthlong celebration of the Café’s first anniversary.

On Friday, Sept. 9, at 8 p.m., the festivities begin with Montclair Time Out — Parents Who Rock. There will be eight performers that evening (rumor has it that Church Street’s Greg Spinelli is one). All are local parents with a variety of musical talents. Montclair Time Out is a music event that takes place every three months for a different charity. This time the beneficiary will be the local Early Intervention Program. Donation is $10. Reservations are required and may be obtained by calling (973) 233-0216.

On Saturday, Sept. 10, Church Street Café’s Anniversary Gala will rock the downtown scene with live entertainment.

Chef Peterson, 28, was appointed executive chef on July 5. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland and New York City’s Institute of Culinary Education. Just before joining the culinary team at the Church Street Café in late 2004, he worked at the Union Square Café.

“I’m thrilled at the opportunity to practice my craft in such a sophisticated dining community as Montclair,” stated Peterson in an e-mail to The Times. “This town has so many terrific restaurants. It’s a lot of fun, as well as a professional challenge to work in this environment. The open kitchen at the café is an added bonus because I get to see people’s reactions to the food as they dine.”

“Kevin’s promotion was the direct result of his hard work, commitment and creativity,” stated Greg Spinelli in the press release. “Kevin, Cheryl and I spent most of the spring deconstructing the dinner menu and looked for ways to refine our offerings. The process usually started with one of us saying, ‘How can we improve this dish?’ or ‘What if we added that new item?’ or ‘Does this item deserve to stay on the menu?’ By the time the process was completed in late June, the new dinner menu featured eight new items and four reworked dishes.”

“With our backgrounds in luxury hotels and restaurants, we have always loved the idea of serving a wide variety of great fresh food,” stated Cheryl Spinelli in the press release. “But we didn’t want the fussiness and ritual that just seemed to make it extra work for the guests. Our concept is great food in a comfortable environment without the charade.”

Prior to developing and opening the Church Street Café, Greg Spinelli had a successful career as a catering director at such notable venues as the Tavern on the Green, The Russian Tea Room, Essex House/Hotel Nikko New York, and the Four Season Hotels and Resorts.

Cheryl Spinelli’s hospitality industry experience includes F&B management positions with the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Hyatt Hotels, Stouffer’s and Hotels of Distinction.

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