Summit House Names AJ Capella New Executive Chef

Summit House, a seasonal American restaurant based in Summit, New Jersey, announced the hiring of award-winning and locally renowned chef AJ Capella as its new executive chef. The restaurant is now welcoming guests – new and old – to enjoy a summer menu crafted by one of the Garden State’s leading culinary visionaries.

The winner of the Garden State Culinary Arts Foundation’s 2017 Rising Star Chef Award, Capella joins Summit House from Montclair Hospitality Group, where as corporate chef he supported menus for restaurants that included the well-regarded pastaRAMEN, Ani Ramen House and Mochinut. Previously, he was executive chef at Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen in Morristown until its temporary closure due the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as at A Toute Heure in Cranford and Liberty House in Jersey City.

Capella’s “modern American” style of cooking incorporates global culinary influences while remaining dedicated to best-of-the-best local, seasonal ingredients. He will add his own spin on what has already been a successful recipe for 6-year-old Summit House: offering approachably elegant and seasonally driven cuisine in an upscale atmosphere that celebrates every guest, no matter the occasion.

“Summit House is thrilled to begin the next chapter of our story, led by the extraordinarily talented and inventive AJ Capella,” says Dylan Baker, the restaurant’s managing general partner. “Since our 2017 debut, we have been steadfastly focused on building community through locally driven seasonal cuisine. Chef AJ shares this passion, and we cannot wait to introduce his talent to this amazing town we call home.”

Capella replaces Justin Antiorio, who stepped down earlier this year to pursue other opportunities following a highly successful three-year run at Summit House. As executive chef, Capella also will lead the kitchen at BarBacoa, the slow-cooked Mexican smokehouse and taqueria, tequila and mezcal bar located next door to Summit House. Both restaurants are owned by hospitality group All My Friends LLC.

“I am excited and humbled to join Summit House and build on its already impressive culinary legacy,” adds Capella. “This is the best-equipped kitchen I’ve ever had the pleasure to call my own and I see a very bright future here.”

A 2010 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Capella spent much of his early career as chef de cuisine at The Ryland Inn, where he was part of the team that was awarded a 4-star “extraordinary” review from New Jersey Monthly. He has also worked alongside Anthony Bucco at Uproot, as well as at famed Chef Grant Achatz’s restaurant, The Aviary, at Columbus Circle in New York.

Located at 395 Springfield Ave., Summit House is open for lunch Wednesdays through Fridays from 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.; brunch Saturdays and Sundays from 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m.; and dinner Tuesdays through Saturdays from 5-9 p.m. Its world-class craft cocktail bar is open for lunch, brunch and dinner.

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