Maplewood is only a 30-minute ride from Penn Station on the express train. That’s where my friend’s restaurant Pickett’s Village Bar is located. It opened in May 2019 almost one year after her husband Jim Pickett passed away.
Heidi Hovland owns it along with Doug and Beth Sasfai, Brinton Brosius and Ashlee Anthony. They opened the restaurant in honor of his memory and the way he lived his life: “with heartfelt appreciation for how connecting over a drink or a meal brings people closer together and how these connections make life, and all of us in it, better.”
Pickett’s has 24 beers on tap, plus lots more bottles and cans. They also offer an interesting selection of wines (16 by the glass), both regular and sparking, plus an interesting cocktail list. If you’re a Margie fan like I am, do start with their award-winning margarita created by Nicholas Ciccone, who won the Iron Shaker 2009 award for it ($12). It’s made with blanco Tequila, Solerno blood orange liquor added to a muddle of fresh mint, agave, pickled jalapeños and fresh lime juice. Unusually delicious.
With that, we shared one of their bar pies. The Alsatian one comes with caramelized onions, mushroom and Gruyère topped with Speck (smoked pork belly) all drizzled with a fig reduction. Yummy! We also shared the Moules Frites, one of their most popular specialties with fresh mussels served in a savory saffron cream sauce served with a side of fries ($23).
Their perfectly cooked grilled thick lamb chops ($29) came accompanied with roasted fingerling potatoes, carrots and asparagus as did the grilled pork chops topped with onions and red peppers from their Daily Special menu that Heidi ordered ($26).
I was so stuffed having indulged in way too many goodies, enjoying every bite, that I couldn’t finish much of anything. I did manage to have more than a spoonful of a new dessert they were trying out – a warm apple cobbler topped with vanilla ice cream.