Yes, it does connote craft beer, but it‘s more than that. “It means high quality.” he told me. Not just for beer but for everything that comes out of the kitchen—and from behind the bar, too. He pointed out that this extends to the staff. The bartenders are “as much chefs as the chef is.” Cocktails are crafted from local ingredients and they are as tuned in to the menu as they are the draft list.
And what about that draft list? For starters, New Jersey newbies Magnify Brewing and Rinn Duin have already found tap handles. Kane and Carton brewing are more established Jersey brands and have also made the list. Goldberg spent a year visiting breweries around the state and made his wish list. Future lines will go to small, self-distributing breweries like 902 and Bolero Snort to name a couple. He joked that doing research like that is one of the fringe benefits of his job. Yes, we know: it’s a tough job but someone has to do it. But Goldberg really did his homework on the draft list.
Goldberg is a Jersey guy who had a couple of places down in Miami. (He came back to the Garden State to raise a family). Quality, locally made draft beer is not something he was used to down there. So, jokes aside, I’ll bet it was a lot of fun cultivating a local beer program and conjuring up a menu to complement it. Of course, the beer even makes it into some of the dishes. Those dishes will run from breakfast to dinner so be prepared for beer-battered pancakes and beer-braised mussels!
The concept of Essex Junction is pretty simple: It’s located close to the train station in Bloomfield and is meant to be a hub of local activity. Kind of sounds like an old-fashioned tavern to me, only with a very modern twist. It has an upscale look but is still homey. (It’s a look that should play well with Goldberg’s philosophy of creating customer interaction with events like tap takeovers and food pairings.) They even run a cocktail program that benefits the Bloomfield public school system. It’s always good to do right by the community.
Eventually Jeremy Goldberg would like to take the same concept to other urban rail line locations like Newark, Hoboken or even to that big city across the river.
Top photo: Entrance to Essex Junction. Photo courtesy of Adam Holz/BeTerrific!
Essex Junction Craft Bar & Kitchen
90 Washington Street