Shortly after an exhausted Hans Egg put his landmark Saddle River Inn up for sale, the first interested buyers to walk through the door were chef Jamie Knott and veteran general manager David Madison.
The business partners boast long résumés in major metropolitan restaurants, working for names such as Tom Colicchio and Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
But they, too, were tired — of their big-time gigs. They were looking for what Madison calls a "passion project" and one that brought them back to their North Jersey roots.
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Imelda Egg explained that she and her husband were simply ready for some rest: "After 31 years, and approximately 50 years in the business, we've had it. We are ready to bask in the sun," she said.
The new owners "want to continue, more or less, what we've been doing for 31 years," eventually adding their own styles, Imelda explained. They plan to to reopen after minor renovations on Jan. 19, she said.
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