Sunday, January 23, 2011


We are honored to have been chosen by the Frenchtown Lion's Club as the venue for their 75th anniversary celebration!  They do so much for the children in our area, that we're thrilled to be gearing up for next Saturday night's Frenchtown Lion's Club Casino Night fundraiser, 7 - 11 p.m. ... it's going to be FUN, FUN, FUN.  We hope you'll join us too, and support this wonderful organization that strives day in and day out to raise money for projects that impact the lives of children and their families, right here, in our community.  Last year they helped 170 children in Hunterdon County.  And you have to see just what they have planned to make sure the winter blues disappear next Saturday night!

Alright, how do you get involved?  Contact Pete directly (908.996.3200) or contact Sally/Andy at 908.996.7900 or via email.  The tickets are just $95/couple or $50/person and include a specially designed menu by The National Hotel and 1 beverage.  You'll get $75 in Casino Money to be used for Casino PRIZES at the end of the evening.  What's not to love about this special night to close out this bitterly cold January month?!  Do come out and support our local institutions and let them know how much you appreciate the humanitarian work they've done for the past 75 years.

And January isn't over yet.  There's still over a week left to enjoy the snow, the ice storms, the incredibly cold temperatures we've had--and for those of us with children, the school closings and delayed openings.  But yesterday as we brought in the firewood into The National Hotel's cellar pub, The Rat, I realized what a great month it's been already.  It might be 8 degrees Fahrenheit outside, but inside, next to that beautiful wood-burning fireplace, with a drink in hand and listening to the melodic sounds of Teri Rambo and Jesse Ketchel last night...there's just no better way to spend a January evening.

And just wait until next week, when we have Beannacht on Saturday evening, and then Chuck Schaeffer brings the house to their feet on Sunday the 30th.  He's actually going to celebrate his 40th birthday with us that Sunday.  He's one of our faves and has never disappointed, sharing his unique sounds featuring contemporary music, rockabilly, americana, and folk music.  Oh yes, foot-stomping, get-off-your-seat-and-dance kind of music.

Photo courtesy of Lois Heyman
It's truly been quite a month!  We were featured in Lois Heyman's Food Blog (The Food Chain), as well as her food column in The Courier News and  Thank you, Lois, for the detail with which you covered our executive chef's accomplishments.  Lisa Frederick has been with The National Hotel since we opened, but some months ago, she became our executive chef and has been instrumental in incorporating many of the ethnic and exotic flavors and ingredients into our new menu.  Lois' coverage of Lisa's new status and ability to translate our vision for meals that consistently exceed expectations, providing visually stimulating dishes that tickle all the other senses, while still creating classic all-American favorites, summed it all up.  Kudos to Lisa and her staff!

More kudos to give out:  our local musicians and artists, who come week after week to inspire us, to entertain us, and to make sure we all get out of our homes and escape that dreaded winter "cabin fever."  They bring their favorite songs, and they bring the songs they've composed that they want to share with us and our friends.  I don't think that 2011 could have started off better than to know that we already had a line-up of musicians willing to commit to come to Frenchtown, NJ, regardless of the weather, right from the beginning of the New Year.  And equally important, are you, our friends, our patrons, who also come out, whether it be on Wednesday evenings for our By the Fireplace singer/songwriter series, our Thursday Open Mic Night (actually, Alex Wolfson renamed that:  The Frenchtown Underground!!), our Saturday Night Live Music series, or for our Sunday Musical Afternoon series.  Check out some past performers:

And let's not forget about our monthly poetry open mic, the People's Poetry, on the 3rd Sunday of every month from 2 - 4 p.m. in our Rathskeller Pub Lounge.  We were disappointed to have had to cancel December's installment due to our broken boiler situation, but we're off to a great start having had many of our good friends take the mike last Sunday, the 16th.  Here are some webclips from previous months--and there are others posted on our youtube channel:

For more up-to-date information, like us on facebook, follow us on Twitter, subscribe to our youtube channel, follow this blog, or visit our website.  Thank you for making us feel so welcome.  Pete and I truly feel like you've embraced us, like you've wrapped your arms around us and are holding on tight.  And so will we. Let us know if there's anything else that you'd like us to do, to add to our programming, or just send us your contact information (either by posting a comment below or sending it to so we can add you to our e-distribution list for upcoming events and information.  Thank you again, and best wishes for a healthy, happy, and prosperous 2011!

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Oh yes, what a fabulous way to start 2011.  Thank you to the Courier News' Lois Heyman for a wonderful article in her food column and on her food blog ( that blog, guys...truly wonderful writing and an exceptional way to stay on top of the latest food trends and venues in our area--where our new Executive Chef, Lisa Frederick, is highlighted and put in the spotlight.  Lisa is in fact an "original" having been part of The National Hotel from the moment we opened our doors, and for a few months now, having taken the helm of this historic "ship."  Lisa has managed to very quietly, with great humility and terrific talent, elevated the already high-standard of food preparation that had already been established.

[photo courtesy of Lois Heyman,]

How did she manage this?  Well read her own words where she is quoted in the Courier News article, "Global Influence":  It truly captures the essence of Lisa's vision for the restaurant and manages to wrap her arms around the ethnic flavors that Pete and I incorporated into our mission plan, whereby exotic (or ethnic) flavors and ingredients are interspersed with traditional fare, while still offering the all-American classics that everyone loves.  And Lisa has stepped up to the challenge and exceeded our expectations.  She is a consummate professional in the culinary field, but also a visionary in how she incorporates the products of local sustainable farmers into our menu.  It was always Lisa who spoke up and asked us to try this farm's produce, or that shop's product, because they were local, they were inter-generational farmers, or because they were truly a "green" organization.  Pete and I have learned that Lisa is not only capable, but also incredibly innovative and creative.  We are truly fortunate to be in the position to have Lisa as our Executive Chef.

Congratulations, Lisa, on the write-up!
And that's just the start.  Oh yes, so much!  How about the Casino Night we have planned for January 29th?  This is a fundraiser for the Frenchtown Lions Club that does so much for the children of our community.  Come on out and support their's going to be a FUN night for sure!!!  Make sure to contact us for information at 908.996.3200 or contact Sally or Andy directly at 908.996.7900, or email them at  It's sure to be a blast!

The "New Year" is almost a month old many of us have re-evaluated our resolutions?  I know many of The National Hotel's patrons have expressed a desire to not have ANY resolutions at just enjoy life, to live life in the moment, to listen to those speaking, to share honestly, and to just enjoy 2011 day by day.

Is this actually possible?  Truly, I don't know.  But I do know that Pete and I work feverishly to make sure that we meet expectations--and whenever possible, that we exceed them.  And truth be told, Pete is the one on premises, day in and day out.  My role and responsibilities are often easier to handle off-site, which allows me to have a tremendous work-life balance, by being able to work and still be around for our daughters.  That's one of the advantages of this technological age.  And yes, I LOVE THAT!!!

But in terms of The National Hotel, I also love the "human" interaction, the ability to talk to our clients and patrons who come in day after day, week after week, and absolutely assure us that our business model is "spot on".  It was our goal to make The National Hotel a community center of sorts, a place where local residents and tourists could find common ground and a comfortable setting where repeat visits became a part of their culture.  Here is where Pete and I were taken aback:  Not only did our establishment become a place where patrons felt they could frequent often, but rather, it was a place that welcomed the arts--music, poetry, art, "home-grown," and driven by our very patrons...not by us--we owe them a debt of gratitude for what they've done for us and what they've created:  a home away from home for local artists.  And so today, we have so many weekly events, it's often hard to track:

  • bi-weekly Tuesday Trivia nights
  • Wednesday Ladies' night (with 1/2 off drinks...hey, why not???)
  • Wednesday singer/songwriter "By the Fireplace" music series
  • Thursday Open Mic Night
  • Saturday Night live music series
  • Sunday Afternoon Musical Afternoon series
  • 3rd Sunday of the month poetry open mic, People's Poetry
And more ideas are still percolating...comedy nights anyone?

But here we go!  2011 full steam ahead.  Are you jumping on board?  This train is getting ready to leave the station and we hope you are right there with us when we depart.  Call us with any ideas you have for future programming, or email me at, or just post a comment on this blog.

Thank you to all those of you who have taken the time to email me, post comments, or call me directly.  Here's to looking forward to a wonderful and prosperous 2011 for ALL of us!  For more up-to-the-minute information, like us on facebook, subscribe to our youtube channel, find us on twitter, follow our blog, or check our website regularly.  Thank you for all of your support during the end of 2009 and throughout 2010.  Here's to a great New Year together!!!