—Collingswood’s Hearthside unveils four day work week and rotating set menus
Chef Dominic and Lindsay Piperno’s Hearthside has wowed guests since opening their doors back in 2017. The Collingswood restaurant specializes in wood-fired entrees, utilizing locally sourced ingredients—a concept which landed them on a spot among New Jersey’s 25 Best Restaurants. Until now, Hearthside has focused on a la carte dining.
Hearthside has officially converted from a la carte to a set menu, which will rotate twice a month and only be available via reservation. Additionally, they have a new schedule, open from Wednesday through Saturday.
Along with sous chef Thomas Anastasia, the trio aimed to tweak their concept in order to reduce waste and offer a more virtuous environment for their employees to work in. You’ve heard it before, restaurants can be a gruesome place to work. Beyond the physical turmoil and occasional beratement from stubborn guests, the hours are simply too long. These lengthy work weeks have become the norm and although they aren’t always morally right, it is often brushed off as “just a part of the industry.”
With advancements made in fine dining over the years, we have seen guests (correctly) questioning the principles of their food. Was this chicken treated humanely? Was this cow allowed to graze? But, what about the treatment of the employees who cook and serve your food? That is the million dollar question and one that the Hearthside team is answering with ease. With their new system, the entire staff enjoys a four day work week, allowing them ample time off to relax and rejuvenate. Not only does this generate happier employees, but it is expected to translate into better food and service.
Right beside the moral downside that often comes with properly staffing a full-service, a la carte restaurant is the presence of a colossal amount of food waste. Because traditional restaurants have no way of telling what guests will order each night, food is often wasted. Sure, you can estimate that the steak might sell more than the trout, but what happens when it doesn’t? Suddenly, you find yourself throwing out products that won’t last until the next day. Not only is this essentially throwing money into the waste bin, but it becomes an ethical dilemma when so much food is being wasted.
Slowly, chefs around the world have been working to change this idea. In New Jersey, Hearthside leads the way in this forward thinking. With their new unveiling, they know each night exactly how much of what product to prep—mitigating both waste and unnecessary overworking in the process.
Hearthside’s new concept will center around the rotating set menu, which will still center around the wood-burning hearth that brought them to fame in the first place. The debut menu—which is available now through March 11—is an individual tasting menu, highlighting the flavors and cuisine of South and Central America. Chef Piperno draws inspiration from his time living in Costa Rica with dishes such as red snapper with aguachile and a carne asada hanger steak.
On March 15, the concept will switch to a rustic Italian menu, served family-style. An homage to Piperno’s childhood, the idea aims to modernize and elevate the dishes of his youth.
For Hearthside fans, you can expect the same level of greatness that has come to be expected when dining at the Collingswood BYOB. Hopefully, in addition to bringing the public new and inventive ways to eat, Hearthside can begin to change the conversation surrounding ethics in the restaurant industry. To sustain this field in the future, a progressive approach is necessary and what better place to start than at one of New Jersey’s premier restaurants?
Reservations for March are available now through Resy.
The South American menu runs from now until March 11.
The Rustic Italian menu will debut on March 15 and run through March 25.
About the Author/s
Peter Candia is the Food + Drink Editor at New Jersey Digest. A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, Peter found a passion for food journalism midway through his schooling and never looked back. He is a former line cook, server and bartender at top-rated restaurants in the tri-state area. Peter never stops learning and he is always in the weeds.
This idea of a 4 day restaurant is not new. There is a restaurant that does a Thursday to Sunday restaurant. It is called Heirloom Kitchen in old bridge nj.