Jonathan Glick, owner of the newly opened Jonathan’s Bar and Grille, has returned to his roots.
Though Glick moved here at age six, he considers himself a Newton native. He went through Newton public schools, graduating from Newton South High School in 1985.
From there he went to UMass Amherst where he earned a degree in Hospitality Management. Glick even spent two months in the César Ritz College program in Switzerland, learning first-hand all aspects of running an upscale restaurant.
But for the next 21 years, that would be Glick’s last foray into the culinary world.
“I came back here and started working in my family’s real estate business,” Glick explains, matter-of-factly. “I finished the construction of these two buildings (the Needham Street building that now houses Jonathan’s and the former Filene’s Basement, and the adjacent building that contains Bank of America, Fine Lines and Arlene & Roberta, among other businesses). Then I did some commercial leasing, some management of apartment buildings. Whatever was needed.”
When Papa Gino’s chose not to renew their lease in late 2010 and moved across Needham Street, Glick saw an opportunity. He could finally open his own restaurant, putting to good use not only his management background but also the “literal blood, sweat and tears” he’d put into the construction of the actual building that houses Jonathan’s.
“My good friend (and now business partner), Ross Finn, and I – everywhere we’d go in the area, it would be packed,” says Glick. “The two of us said ‘Why don’t we think about opening something in our demographic? Something between a Capital Grille or a Met Bar and a Biltmore, a place you can afford to go four nights a week, if you want.’”
Glick and Finn, along with Executive Chef Matt Haney and sous chef Gregory Phillips have worked hard to create that sort of locale in Jonathan’s, which opened its doors on May 4 after 15 long months of preparation, consultation and construction.
Glick laughs when he recalls a consulting chef who expressed disbelief that he could serve the quality and variety of food he does at the current price points. But Glick remains committed to providing for his customers a sort of “chamber of commerce” experience, as people tend to run into others they know when they come to Jonathan’s.
The owners have tried to make the most of the restaurant's space, seating 90 at booths, low tables, high-tops and the bar. Glick has also applied for a permit to add another 30 seats on the patio and hopes to realize that idea before the cooler weather sets in.
Other changes that will be coming to the fledgling restaurant are the addition of specials to the menu and a live, jazz Sunday brunch that may become a weekly tradition as soon as next month.
In fact, Glick hopes to have live music at Jonathan’s a couple of nights a week, at least. He sees this as the perfect complement to the “comforting, quality food” that Jonathan’s serves at both lunch and dinner.
“This is the kind of place you hang out for a couple of hours,” Glick says warmly. “It’s not a place that you come in for a couple of beers and a burger and then you’re done in an hour. You can spend two or three hours, take your time and enjoy the food and the place.”
As they have been fully booked during prime meal times, Glick recommends that people make reservations. In the near future Jonathan’s will be on Open Table, but for now you can call the restaurant at 617-332-1600 or take your chances with first-come/first-served, full-service seating at the bar.