Out of the Kitchen
Eighteen years ago, partners Brian Blatz and Dan Davis bought Fiddleheads Restaurant. They each brought their creative talents and love of food to Jamesburg, Brian as front of house manager and Dan as chef. They have created a warm and welcoming bistro experience.
On their opening day, Brian talked to each customer as they were leaving and made a connection with them. Remembering their favorite dish, birthdays and life events have made their customers extended family. The restaurant has a memorial wall of photos of customers who have passed away, leaving the next generation to take their place at Fiddleheads.
Dan started cooking when he was 17-years-old, working at his aunt and uncle’s restaurant. During his time there, he also learned how to bartend and what it takes to manage a restaurant. He later went on to work for three-time James Beard Award winning chef, Jimmy Schmidt.
Dan developed his own cooking style and calls himself a “de-constructor,” always looking to do something different with a recipe. He is a visual cook and plans how the dish should look. Fiddleheads Restaurant specializes in New American cuisine, bringing Spanish and Asian influences to traditional American Bistro fare. Among the customer favorites are the smoked tomato bisque soup, jambalaya and the salmon with orange brandied sauce.
All dishes are created from scratch with a minimum of ingredients to assure freshness and their menu changes weekly. Brian’s mom did the baking for them before she passed away and now Dan has taken on the task. He said he finds it so rewarding when a dessert comes out of the oven, he even makes his own bread and flatbreads.
When the COVID pandemic forced the restaurant to close their doors, Brian and Dan quickly implemented a “To Go” plan. Their customers continued to support them with takeout meals until they were able to re-open.
Fiddleheads had sponsored “Networking with Style” for 12 years prior to the pandemic. A quarterly networking event for the LGBTQ community, it was well received by over 70 attendees and a special performance by the Gay Men’s Chorus. This year, the networking event was held at the State Theater in New Brunswick.
To all those aspiring cooks, Dan’s secret is to be brave, take chances and be creative.
His secret ingredients in the wildly popular Sloppy Joes are molasses, cider vinegar and red pepper. A bit of nostalgia but a long way off from your high school cafeteria!