Why `Summit House?'

The substance of Summit House is exceptional seasonal American cuisine. Its soul, however, can be found in its connection to the community, from downtown Summit to the farmland and rolling hills of surrounding New Jersey towns.

In opening Summit House, two local families aim to provide an extraordinary culinary experience for guests in a welcoming, neighborhood atmosphere. That is our simple goal.

Courtesy Summit Historical Society

Courtesy Summit Historical Society

Tying the restaurant’s name to the community was an important way to show that dedication to our environment, so we visited the Summit Historical Society to seek inspiration. We found plenty.

The original Summit House, a family boarding house, was located at the current site of the Presbyterian Church on Maple Street and Morris Avenue, and established in the 1840s by town founder Jonathan Crane Bonnel.

“Among those who in the first half of the century figured prominently in the public life of New Jersey was this gentleman, whose labors materially advanced the interests of the community with which he was connected, and whose works are yet manifest in the improved conditions of the county,” according to “History of Union County, New Jersey,” originally published in 1897.

Summit House eventually succumbed to a fire, though the name carried on in several iterations, including a restaurant, for well over a century before finally closing in 1970. Early 2017 marks its return.

Summit's first police booth stands outside 395 Springfield Avenue in November, 1928. Courtesy Summit Historical Society.

Summit's first police booth stands outside 395 Springfield Avenue in November, 1928. Courtesy Summit Historical Society.

The new Summit House will open after more than a year of renovating 395 Springfield Avenue, which initially was constructed in 1894 as a YMCA. The shell of a small swimming pool is still visible in our basement. 

“We loved the idea of embracing that history, and a time when food came from local farmers, local butchers and local fisherman,” says Dylan Baker, operating partner. “In renovating this amazing 120-year-old building and taking the Summit House name, we hope our guests feel as though we've peeled back time just a bit."