There was a time in Hoboken when there was a clear divide between Downtown and Uptown. In fact, you usually had to make a little joke when you had visitors and you’d refer to “downtown” Hoboken; they’d smirk a little, and you’d have to acknowledge that in a city of just a mile or so and nineteen blocks total, those kind of designations made sense.
And there was a distinct split between uptown and downtown. Downtown, beginning at roughly seventh street, was where Washington Street became more about shops and businesses than apartments, and it was where the bars and restaurants began crowding in. Uptown, with a few exceptions, was quieter. And when you got to 14th Street, you usually turned around, because there wasn’t much reason to go any further.
Welcome to NoVi
Today, however, the area sometimes referred to as “NoVi” (for North of the Viaduct) is changing—and fast. San Giuseppes, Bow Tie theaters, Carpe Diem, the Pilsner Haus—these and other businesses are luring people up past 14th Street, an area that still has the industrial and empty look of an old-school Hoboken neighborhood.
And soon, we’ll have one more reason to walk that extra block or two: Porter Collins restaurant.
The Pino Touch
If you want to know why everyone’s kind of super excited about Porter Collins, which is located at 1426 Willow Avenue (one building down from Battaglias), all you need to know is that it will be the third restaurant in Hoboken from Chef Anthony Pino and Pino Hospitality. If you’ve ever been to Anthony Davids and cried over their Wild Boar Ragut, or hung out tasting surprising wines at Bin 14, then you know that the Pino family knows what they’re doing. The moment you hear they’re involved, you relax and stop wondering why you’d head up to 15th Street, and start wondering when you’ll be able to check the place out.
The answer to that question is “any day now.” Their website says the opening will be in February, and they’re actively hiring staff. Of course, this is Hoboken, and the restaurant business: Nothing is certain.
As for why you should care, it all comes down to having another “adult” restaurant in town—a place where the food, the cocktails, and the conversation are more important than the giant TVs and the domestic beer specials. The place will seat 180, will have not one but two cocktail bars—and aside from preparing classic and innovative new cocktails, it will also feature table-side cocktail service. In other words, you can raise your hand like Don Draper in Mad Men and someone will bring a portable bar to your table and mix your cocktail to taste right in front of you.
They also plan to have live music and a raw bar, and if all of that isn’t enough awesome, there will also be an authentic wood-burning oven.
It’s also going to just be cool, from what we can tell. The keywords from Chef Pino are “elegant” and “accessible.” They’ve commissioned New Jersey artist Pork Chop to create a custom mural for the bar area, too, which you can see in progress here:
If that doesn’t look like the sort of place you want to have dinner immediately, we can’t help you. You are lost. For the rest of us—see you on 15th and Willow in a few weeks.