One of the first things you will notice, as you walk into the clean and airy interior of The Hills Tavern, is huge pretzels. HUGE. They sit upright on many of the tables and at the bar, with sides of cheese fondue and dijon mustard for dipping. It smells and looks delicious, and could fill you all by itself. But this is just the start of your meal here.
“I mainly focus on execution and technique. I use fresh and seasonal ingredients and always make sure I get the most flavor out of them,” says Executive Chef John Joseph. Joseph learned his trade at Gotham Bar and Grill as a line cook when it was a two-star Michelin Restaurant. From there he went on to work for Iron Chef Bobby Flay at his flagship restaurant Mesa Grill, and from there to Chakra in Paramus, for highly acclaimed Chef Thomas Ciszak as a sous chef.
Owned by the same folks behind Pizzeta, Pizzeta Enoteca, and the Landmark Tavern in Livingston, The Hills officially opened in January, and seats 85 in the taproom (with an additional 24 seat bar) and 55 in the dining room. The dining room is available for private events.
The Hills styles itself as a gastro pub, serving high quality food and beer. The menu does not disappoint, with offerings ranging from lighter fare like eminently sharable appetizers, soups, salads, and pizzas (a nod to sister restaurant Pizzeta), to peppercorn crusted short ribs. Other highlights are Artisan Pizzas (try the Fig-Pig-Goat, with prosciutto, black mission fig, goat cheese, arugula and a balsamic glaze), The Hills Burger with cheese fondue, bacon and frizzled onions on a brioche bun, and Miso Marinated Chilean Sea Bass served with sticky rice, bok choy, shitake mushrooms and a ginger-lemongrass sauce.
The cocktail list is filled with inventive options (try the light and refreshing Miss Jill, with prosecco, aperol, lime and mint, or the blood orange lychee martini.)
“We have 20 beers on tap, with a mix of craft beers and a few mainstays. They are rotated for variety, or when we run out of the smaller batches” says Events and Services Manager Angela Russo. “And we have a new spring and summer cocktail list at the bar.”
The Hills has already been discovered by locals and others, and is often filled with a lively crowd of families, groups, and date night-ers. Large garage-style windows open up to the street, where diners can enjoy eating al fresco.
The Hills Tavern
40 Main Street, Millburn, NJ
Sunday, 11am-9pm, bar open until 10pm
Monday-Wednesday, 11:30am-10pm, bar open until 11pm
Thursday-Friday, 11:30am-11pm, bar open until 1am
Saturday, 11am-Midnight, bar open until 2am
Happy Hour daily from 4-7pm