For almost 20 years, Verjus restaurant has been drawing diners from across the state to Springfield Avenue in Maplewood for chef Charlie Tutino’s special twist on traditional French cuisine.
Unfortunately, those days — which include numerous inclusions in Top 25 Restaurants in New Jersey lists and other accolades – are drawing to a close.
Verjus is set to close at the end of October. Tutino and his wife and business partner Jane Witkin will be providing fine dining for curbside pickup until then. (Visit verjusrestaurant.com to order.)
Meanwhile, the testimonials are pouring in. Verjus was a pioneer on Springfield Avenue and an early “win” for the Springfield Avenue Partnership which was formed in the 1990s to help beautify, program and promote the Avenue to residents and potential business owners alike. Witkin was so devoted to the Avenue that she served for decades on the board of the Partnership and also represented its interests on the board of the Maplewood Chamber of Commerce.
Some fast facts about Verjus:
- Verjus opened in June, 2001, first for dinner, but soon adding lunch and Sunday brunch.
- Tutino’s cooking, while rooted in tradition, features updated French Bistro favorites. “We change our menu daily and, of course, seasonally, and have always used locally sourced produce, cheeses, meats and fish as available,” Witkin told Village Green back in 2016 when Verjus was celebrated 15 years of business.
- Verjus has been very favorably reviewed over the years by The New York Times, the Zagat Guide, the Star-Ledger and Inside Jersey Magazine, among others.
- Every year since 2007, Verjus has been designated as one of the “Top 25 Critics Choice” Restaurants by New Jersey Monthly Magazine in its August issue.
Witkin tells Village Green that the property and the liquor license have been sold, but did not name the buyer. She declined to provide any other details about the potential future of the site.