Ancient City Bourbon and Boards
Born and raised in Cape May, NJ, seaside restaurant culture runs a saltwater current
through my blood. Marsh crabbing and deep see fishing were some of my hobbies as a boy.
In my early teens, I began working in the industry, taking any and every position a
restaurant would offer me. Within a year of graduating from university, I’d worked in niche
restaurants from Manhattan to Philadelphia. But food culture and the hospitality business
had only ever been as much as summer jobs and a backseat passion.
Throughout my twenties, I wrote and recorded original musical compositions. I would
eventually take those songs on the road, touring the country with an independent rock
band. This was the pinnacle of a music career I had dreamed of since grade school.
After disbanding my musical ensemble, I was left adrift with what to do next. At the
encouragement of family and friends, a culinary pursuit seemed like a logical and exciting
new challenge. At the age of 30, I returned to college to earn a degree in the culinary arts
while simultaneously picking up jobs at eateries and breweries in Pennsylvania’s state
By the time of my graduation, I held the position of executive sous chef for Stock’s on 2nd,
a kitchen/company that ran a gastropub, an Italian bistro, a destination wedding venue,
and a nationwide catering empire. Aside from the bustle of a kitchen that simultaneously
served two restaurants/menus, I would regularly cater events at the state capitol, the
governor’s mansion, the Ritz Carlton in downtown Manhattan, D.C. political events and
even once for the United States Supreme Court.
In the winter of 2016, an irresistible opportunity presented itself; I would have the chance
to open the Allenberry Resort. With 57 acres of bucolic bliss alongside the Appalachian
trail, I had an open canvas to build an unfettered kitchen from the ground up. Within only
months of opening, we were the area’s premier restaurant and location for outdoor events.
But the ocean air that had been born and bred into me was calling.
In 2018, I returned home to Cape May and worked for the summer season at the acclaimed
Red Store, a James Beard nominated restaurant that exclusively offers blind chef’s tasting
experiences and features only peak season ingredients.
Looking for a longer summer season and new adventures in the industry, St. Augustine
came highly recommended. On my first visit to SA, I immediately made plans to move to
the area and also met Chef Michael Lugo. He arranged a position for me in his kitchen, and
for the following year, I enjoyed contributing to nightly dinner services, Asados, caterings,
chef’s tasting menus and more. Michael Lugo, the Michael’s staff, and larger St. Augustine
restaurant community helped this wandering pan slinger to adopt this town as my new
Then struck the Coronavirus. Our industry was crippled, and chefs everywhere were
unsure of what would happen next.
After months of the Corona quarantine, I reached out to friend and colleague, Freddy
Underhill, who had recently bought “Amici,” a restaurant conveniently located 2 blocks
from my house. Excited to get back to work, I began splitting my time between Michael’s
and Amici. Within a month, Freddy and I realized we could achieve his culinary goals by
collaborating and working together. With the support of family, friends, and the crew at
Michael’s, I moved to Amici full time and accepted the position as Freddy’s head chef.
Now is the time for Bourbon and Boards! I will have the opportunity to execute my own
menu and ever changing chef experiences. With the support of a rock star culinary staff
and owner/guru, Melissa Shroeder, we are poised to unleash something never before seen.
In step and fashion of the local chef and restaurant community, I am looking forward to
bringing something delicious to the the St. Augustine dinner table.