If you’ve dined at Hearthside, which first opened in Collingswood in 2017, you likely indulged in their menu of wood-oven and charred delicacies—it’s the reason this venue has become so popular. Helmed by Chef Dominic and Lindsay Piperno, the restaurant offers an experience from its atmosphere to its dishes, but now, things are changing at this New Jersey hotspot.
Recently, the BYOB announced they moved to a tasting menu and reservation-only format to enable the restaurant to move to a four-day work week. And why these changes?
“I think it kind of was a snowball effect post-pandemic,” explains Chef Dominic Piperno. “The industry in itself has changed a lot from food costs, perspective and labor shortage, and it just made us evolve as a restaurant. It’s not something that forced our hand…the restaurant was extremely successful post-pandemic and we’ve been doing really great. It’s just with the increasing labor costs and labor shortage and food costs, we decided to come up with a new model that betters our staff.”
Another obvious benefit is work/life balance for those who work at Hearthside. The bonus to this new model is less days spent at work, but more money coming in to their pockets.
“The goal is to pay our employees more money and have, for the front of the house, a better idea of their weekly income,” Dominic continues. “It’s a little bit more set in stone and we’re not really at the mercy of how many covers we do every single night.”
The BYOB’s new model features set menus that rotate twice a month. And there’s going to be a lot of creativity going into each rendition—from refined, individually-plated tasting menus to more casual and convivial family-style experiences.
The first menu was inspired by South American dishes as an ode to the flavors Chef Dom discovered while living in Costa Rica and traveling in Central and South America, a release states. That particular menu finished its run earlier this month, but Philadelphians can now indulge in Hearthside’s current offerings, which put the spotlight on rustic Italian by paying homage to the Italian classics Chef grew up eating, but elevated and served family-style.
“My father was born in Italy, so growing up in an Italian American family, [we] like playing with some of those classic dishes,” he continues.
Running until March 25, this new menu features different sweet and savory choices such as a veal chop, verde capra, braciole, Fusilli alla Siciliana, antipasto and much more. The full menu is available to view on the restaurant’s website, and when the next rendition is ready, it will also be posted there and on the venue’s Facebook and Instagram. Currently, the experience runs for $115 per person for a dinner for two, and family style reservations for party sizes of five of larger can be made by calling Hearthside at 856-240-1164.
“We’re really happy with our decision. [For the staff,] I think it was a pure excitement with the idea that they’re going to be learning a lot more and be a little bit more involved with the creative aspect of menu. And obviously, going to a four-day work week is also really nice for them and they’re not losing hours.”
This new model is also one that prioritizes sustainability and equity, namely, drastically reducing waste and allowing the culinary team to thoughtfully collaborate with farmers and purveyors. As a release states, similarly, a fixed menu allows Hearthside’s team to prep more strategically in anticipation for the exact number of guests dining each evening.
On top of the new model and the creative new menus, the BYOB also has some added extras for libation lovers
“We work with Moore Brothers in Pennsauken,” adds Hearthside’s General Manager Ashley Hayden. “They do wine pairings for all of these menus. So if any of the guests are looking for pairings, they can head over to Moore Brothers and they can let them know the date that they’re coming for their reservation and they’ll have wine set aside to purchase.”
Selections will be updated bi-monthly in accordance with Hearthside’s new fixed menus, and the venue is open Wednesday through Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m. Reservations are available now via Resy, and note that pricing for each menu will range from $90-125 per person.
“Just from a restaurant standpoint, the ability to do way fewer covers than we’re used to and still generate roughly the same amount of revenue has been really nice,” finishes Chef. “The hours and the work-life balance for the kitchen and the front of the house has drastically improved… It’s been just a little bit better of a work-life balance for everybody.”
For more information on Hearthside, visit hearthsidebyob.com