Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Thirty Acres is Closing

Alex and Kevin Pemoulie, owners of Thirty Acres, announced yesterday that they are closing their much-lauded restaurant in Jersey City and will be moving to Seattle. Service at the restaurant will continue through Saturday, November 28th.

The closure doesn't exactly come as a surprise, but it's certainly a huge loss for the dining culture in town considering Thirty Acres is one of the few truly innovative and high-caliber restaurants we have and can be credited with bringing a huge amount of attention and change to the Jersey City restaurant scene. They've gone through a few transitions over the past four years, originally starting as a BYOB dinner spot before getting a liquor license, then adding a brunch menu, and most recently, changing to a ten course tasting menu format, but always with incredible attention to ingredients, detail and flavors.
                                              Shrimp and grits from the brunch menu at Thirty Acres
In an article from Eater, Kevin mentions he felt that the restaurant started heading downhill after they stopped being BYOB; other comments seem to suggest that the tasting menu (with it's not exactly small, though more than fair all things considered, price tag) caused a significant decrease in patrons. The Pemoulies also said that they just felt the restaurant had run its course and was no longer right for Jersey City or for them. It can't be ignored that Jersey City is undergoing a huge growth spurt right now, particularly in construction and restaurants, and while that growth has its upsides, there's a huge rush to try whatever's new and exciting and the focus tends to be on trends rather than actually excellent dining, much to our own detriment. 

Thirty Acres was very much a stand alone restaurant, relaxed but very modern, and one of inventive, unique, and absolutely delicious dishes and I'm incredibly sorry to see it close though I look forward to following along with what happens in Seattle. In the meantime, another development group is slated to take over the space although details have yet to be announced.

Boneless pork chop from the first meal I ever had at Thirty Acres.
 This wasn't even my order, but it was beautiful.


  1. Food was always ok, but the owners never really seemed to get that they weren't in manhattan and that that treating their customers like they should be glad to be there wasn't going to work- their no reservation policy that they had for years was absurd. Somewhat sad to see them go, but not really. I hope they learned from this.

    1. Interesting. I can honestly say I never had that feeling or experience. A sort of dismissive server once, but that's about it. I always felt it was quite warm and welcoming. The reservation policy, while I agree was definitely not convenient, is no different than a number of restaurants around here - which I do find frustrating. Most places don't take small group reservations. I appreciated that they listened to customers and made changes.

  2. man, from the way some people on twitter and elsewhere are talking about this, you'd think 30 acres was charging a hundred bucks for freeze-dried ants. 30 acres was *not* a far-out restaurant. this was not some outre jersey version of wd-50. even after the introduction of the tasting menu, it was a place where you could get a good bowl of pasta with red sauce and breadcrumbs for $16, and have it be just as good, if not better, as the pasta at the highly-regarded pasta palaces in manhattan. some of the ingredients were unusual, but most weren't.

    giving the people exactly what they expect is wonderful, i guess, but there are literally hundreds of places in hudson county -- and hundreds more across the river -- that do just that. thirty acres stood out because the chef was creative. if jc diners found his mild deviations from expectation too pretentious, boy, the restaurant scene around here is in big trouble. i'd like cooks who are contemplating a jc opening to believe there's an audience here that's appreciative of risk-taking.

    1. I very much agree with your last statement. One of the things I like most about Thirty Acres is that they make more "typical" dishes, but at an elevated level. They also explore and play around with ingredients and concepts which is great for diners who are interested in that, but it's by no means all that they had. I think it's a major loss for us.