By Andrew Farinaccio
EquityEats, a crowdfunding platform that brings together restaurants and restaurateurs with potential local investors, has undertaken its first venture in the tri-state area through a partnership with Eno Terra Restaurant & Enoteca in Kingston.
Eno Terra, part of the Terra Momo Restaurant Group, reached out to EquityEats out of a desire to “finance and go away from lenders to build out a new kitchen,” says Dan Benavidez, who conducts Business Development for EquityEats. This complete renovation of the Eno Terra kitchen will allow for “better food, better service, quicker turnaround on getting food to patrons, and will just create a better overall food experience,” explains Benavidez.
EquityEats serves as an alternative to more traditional methods of financing. The unique VIP membership campaign encourages patrons to become VIP members at Eno Terra by pledging either $1,000 or $2,500, which is then used to finance the kitchen renovation at Eno Terra. This payment is immediately reimbursed to the member in the form of restaurant credit, plus 40% to 50% extra credit, depending on the amount pledged.
Members enjoy various other privileges as well. “They get preferred seating, priority reservations, can share credits with friends and family, [and] can directly message with the general manager through our app,” says Benavidez.
Another perk for members is the upcoming VIP Membership Preview event at Eno Terra. (The date is yet to be announced, but stay tuned for details.) “It’s going to be an appreciation event where people can come in, try the food and try the wines,” Benavidez describes. “We’ll be talking to customers and thanking them for the opportunity to create a better experience.”
Through this event, EquityEats and Eno Terra will aim to create a feeling of brand ambassadorship between the restaurant and its members by providing attendees with an exclusive experience beyond the already desirable VIP privileges. “It’s important to us that [members] are rewarded more than just monetarily—that they get an experience that they deserve,” explains Benavidez.
Patrons who are not yet members, but are interested in learning more about the VIP membership process, are welcome to attend as well. (While members are invited to come to the event for free, those who have not yet pledged to the fundraising efforts will pay a fee to attend.)
The date of VIP Membership Preview event is soon to be determined and those interested in attending are encouraged to visit the Eno Terra Facebook page for more details.
This fundraiser is a valuable opportunity for patrons who have come to enjoy the refreshingly honest approach to cuisine at Eno Terra. Their menu highlights the finest aspects of regional and seasonal ingredients, sourcing from local farmers, fishermen, and the bounty of fresh produce harvested from Eno Terra’s own Canal Farm.
The farm-to-table ideology that resonates through each dish is the specialty of Executive Chef Joseph Voller, whose culinary pedigree includes training from Iron Chef Jose Garces. Voller became the executive chef at Eno Terra in 2015 and has since brought with him a remarkable sense for artful simplicity, nuanced by his precision and skill.
The vast selection of fine wines and rustic atmosphere and surrounds at Eno Terra provide the perfect complement to Voller’s cuisine, necessary to ensure that each meal will be not soon be forgotten.
In some ways, this partnership between Eno Terra and EquityEats bridges the best of the old and the new. Eno Terra, which can be found on King’s Highway, the “oldest highway in America,” is housed in the site of the Fisk General Store, which dates back to the 1860s. It captures the essence of old-world culinary sensibility, while simultaneously offering new and exciting dishes.
EquityEats, which began only a couple of years ago, has already established a remarkable track record. The impressive accomplishments of the EquityEats platform include crowdfunding the launch of the group’s own “restaurant incubator” Prequel in Washington, D.C. and raising $4 million in the last year alone for restaurant clients like Eno Terra.
All the while, EquityEats has offered a better-suited alternative to restaurant financing than constrictive bank loans and other crowdfunding platforms, which are not specifically tailored to the unique needs of restaurants and restaurateurs.
EquityEats has helped finance more than 20 restaurants in just a few years, and each partnership is handled with as much care and earnest as the food being placed onto the tables at Eno Terra. “We’re really trying to help Eno Terra succeed,” says Benavidez. “We put a lot of effort into the campaign.”
Eno Terra Restaurant & Enoteca
4484 Route 27
Kingston, NJ 08528
(Eno Terra photos courtesy of enoterra.com.)