Jersey City officially opened up one of the swankiest restaurants on their waterfront with magnificent views of Manhattan. Mona Panjwani is the proprietor and visionary of this establishment. After 12 days of having their doors opened, they have built a team of individuals who are personable, approachable and possess a strong sense of ownership. Literally a recipe for prosperity.
With sufficient space, Lokal Eatery & Bar can comfortably sit up to 200 customers and is the perfect destination for a rehearsal dinner, trunk show, celebratory engagement and/or corporate gathering. Towards the rear, there’s a semi-private area with its own seating, lounge and sound system to drown out the clutter of what’s taken place in the main arena. “Lokal” murals, perfect for social engagement, are sprinkled throughout the spot which were constructed by a local commissioned artist. Adding an element of youth and elegance similar to its milieu. Overall the architecture and intent of this eclectic eatery have an industrial yet modern feel. Iron gates frame the bar and above the 30-foot island hangs a custom lighting installation.
Nestled in the heart of a rising luxury neighborhood within JC, this venue is destined to become one of the area’s most popular draws. Executive Chef, Walter Donadio, has managed to fabricate a tantalizing menu of appetizers, small plates and entrees which are certain to keep you coming back. Some of his best infused tapas and items include succulent scallops, rock shrimp, sauteed mushroom bowls as well as a vegan surf and turf packed with savory lentils. Most of their components are locally sourced and fresh from the Garden State – right down to the blueberries featured in some of their signature drinks.
Often times, you inflict a new place and the waitstaff is uncertain on what to recommend. That’s not the case for Lokal. Many of their squad members were well-informed on what they offer and even had ample recommendations for their handcrafted cocktails. Our favorites were their Elliott Stubb (reminiscent of an old fashioned) and Jerry Thomas – cucumber water iced cubes make this drink refreshing.
The future is bright for Lokal Eatery & Bar. And, with a strong location, menu and bar, it’s set to be one of the most prestigious brunch/dinner spots for global foodies, making it a firm contender for three Michelin stars and a James Beard Award. Subsequently, it’s extremely apparent that Mona and her crew are meticulous and pay close attention to details.
ABOUT TEAM LOKAL:
CHEF: Walter Donadio will serve as Lokal’s Executive Chef.
Donadio is a Michelin star kitchen trained chef with over 17 years of versatile culinary professional experience managing the provisions of fine dining for hotels, restaurants and country clubs. His experience spans the globe from various chef positions at Richy’s DMCC and Café Habana in Dubai to The Smith, Nobu Fifty Seven, Le Circ and Brasserie in New York, along with supervising kitchens at Hilton and Marriott in New Jersey. Passionate about food since growing up in his grandmother’s own restaurant, he loves combinations of flavors from different cuisines and is always searching for the perfect balance. He is a graduate from the French Culinary Institute (now International Culinary Center).
OWNER: Mona Panjwani
Panjwani opens Lokal as an events industry vet in the Northern New Jersey region. She launched an events production company in 2014 and came across the idea to create Lokal more recently while seeking a venue for her own company. The gorgeous waterfront eatery in Jersey City – which will primarily serve as a full service restaurant and bar is also complete with event and private dining spaces – combines all of Panjwani’s skills, passion, experience and goals into one. Panjwani is a member of the Hudson County Chamber of Commerce, Hudson County Women Rising and LadyDrinks South Asian Women Entrepreneurs Networking Professionals. She has been a Jersey City resident for a decade.
ARCHITECT: Abraham John ARCHITECTS
A multidisciplinary architecture, interior design, landscaping and urban planning firm founded in 1967. Abraham John & Alan Abraham are the Joint Principal Architects of Abraham John Architects. Abraham John Architects’ design approach is to re-connect architecture with nature, make optimum use of space, natural materials, lighting & landscape to reinvent and transform living environments and urban spaces. The firm works at multiple scales and with various organizations right from private clients to corporates & NGOs allowing itself to experiment and diversify its work.