Thursday, January 1, 2015

Looking Forward to this New Year with YOU!


Our 6th New Year's celebration came to a close in the early hours of 2015. Thank you so much to those of you who came out to share the beginning of a new year with us at The National Hotel--and thank you to all those of you who made 2014 an absolutely memorable year because you were a part of it!! Everything we've accomplished has been thanks to your support and the dedication of our talented staff. Spending time with you and seeing you return to our establishment just propels us forward more than you can ever imagine, and we are grateful beyond words.

Although we are closed today, we will reopen our doors tomorrow, January 2nd, and be fully energized after spending a day with our respective families. And, we've got a lot planned for the next few weeks:
  • Sunday, January 4 - Arnie Baird
  • Monday, January 5 - Happy Hour, 5-7 pm in The Rathskeller Pub (a.k.a., The Rat)
  • Wednesday, January 7
    - Happy Hour, 4 - 6 pm in The Rat
    - Forks and Corks Special Dinner (1 lb 100% grass-fed Porterhouse steak w/mashed potatoes and veg and/or 50% off a bottle of wine of YOUR choice)
    - Karaoke Night, 8 pm - Midnight
  • Saturday, January 10 - Mike Jaimeson
  • Sunday, January 11 - Dillon Taylor
  • Tuesday, January 13 - Bi-Weekly Trivia Night
  • Wednesday, January 14
     - Karaoke Night, 8 pm - Midnight
     
    - Happy Hour, 4 - 6 pm in The Rat
    - Forks and Corks Special Dinner (1 lb 100% grass-fed Porterhouse steak w/mashed potatoes and veg and/or 50% off a bottle of wine of YOUR choice)
  • Saturday, January 17 - Jesse Ketchel
  • Sunday, January 18 - Brian Colburn
  • Check our website for additional information please.
We also have our weekend Additions to the Menu planned out already, and posted on our website for this 1st weekend of 2015:

DRINK SPECIAL
THE POINSETTIA
Champagne, Cranberry Juice, Cointreau $8

GREENS
SUPER FOOD SALAD
Black Quinoa with toasted Sesame & Pumpkin Seeds, Pomegranate Seeds, Orange Slices, Kale marinated in a Orange & Lime Vinaigrette, Avacado Slices $12

SMALL PLATES
OYSTERS
Taylor Bay Oysters, MA – High Brine, Sweet Finish
Wild Martha Vineyards Oysters, MA – Mild Brine, Clean Finish
West Falmouth Oysters, Buzzard Bay, MA – Briny with a Dry Finish
$2.5 each, 6/$13, 12/$25
LAMB PIZZA
House Made flatbread, Ground Lamb with Mediterranean Spices, Curried Green Tomato Sauce, Garnished with Mint $10

PLATES
FISH
Sautéed Salmon with a Dill Sauce, Salmon Caviar, Sautéed Kale, Red Rice $24
MEAT
Grilled 8 oz. Fillet Mignon, Sautéed Shrimp in a Lemon Butter Sauce, Grilled Asparagus, Black Garlic Mashed Potatoes $32
PASTA
Lobster Ravioli, Lobster Crème Sauce, Diced Tomatoes, Sautéed Spinach $19

DESSERTS
Rum Chiata Tres Leche – Traditional South American dessert made with a moist cake soaked in three (tres) milks (leche) and topped with Rum Chiata Liqueur $8
Cheese Cake – Sweet Potato & Maple Layered Cheese Cake $6
Sweet Apple Empanada – house made Granny Smith & Gala Apple turnovers, dusted with Cinnamon Sugar $7

ASK YOUR SERVER FOR ADDITIONAL DESSERT OPTIONS

CAPPUCCINO, ESPRESSO, FRENCH PRESSED COFFEE

Please talk to us if you are thinking of a special occasion or an overnight stay for yourself or as a gift this winter--we have special packages that we can customize just for you, including a mid-week escape, and Adventurer's Package, and more. We want to help you create special moments in Frenchtown. Our knowledgeable General Manager, Marlon Aranha, will help craft a memorable experience for you and your loved ones. Call us at 908.996.3200 or email us with any questions.

We send you our warmest wishes for a healthy and prosperous 2015. May it be filled with joyous moments and the opportunity to share a day with friends and family. Pete and I thank you for all you do to help us stay the course, better ourselves and improve every day. Do continue to email us or post a comment here if you like. Thank you for your continued patronage and support. Happy New Year once again!

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! It's a Season Filled with Gratefulness


Our fifth anniversary came upon us faster than we could have imagined. It really is unbelievable that on November 3rd, 2009, we re-opened the doors to The National Hotel, and our very first patron, Henry, entered through The Rathskeller Pub (a.k.a. The Rat) entrance. He ran across the street to vote and to share the news with others. And then more of you came in, making it an incredible opening night, filled with stories about the town, about The Rat, and about The National Hotel itself.

And on November 3rd, 2014, we celebrated together, by announcing that The Rat would now be open every single Monday, 5 p.m. to midnight! Our local patrons soon started to drop by and, between the wood burning fireplace that adds warmth to the room while providing a comfortable vibe, the sports programs on the TVs, and the new Monday Happy Hour (5 pm - 7 pm) with 1/2-priced drinks, we just couldn't be happier seeing how many of you are able to carve out a little time to join us. Grateful.

Last night we had the pleasure of hosting the Creek Snakes band once again as they helped everyone unwind and have a little time "off" before today's big day. The music was wonderful, but more importantly, we are so grateful that you made the time to come by, to share with your friends, and to enjoy a night in our little gem of a town.  Thank you!

Today is a special day for us, because we are able to be home as a family and also know that our staff will be able to do the same. They are so dedicated to The National Hotel and have such an incredible drive to be the very best, that we know they'll be back on Friday ready to help cater to our patrons' every need. And your feedback about how well they took care of you, from serving you dinner to helping you make sure your overnight stay is memorable, makes all the difference to us. Yet another reason to be thankful.

A lot has happened this year at The National Hotel, from launching new programs (like our weekly Wednesday Karaoke Night), to our mid-week special ($25 FORKS & CORKS WEDNESDAYS: 1 lb.-100% grass-fed-Porterhouse steak w/mashed potatoes and vegetable &/or 50% off a bottle of wine of YOUR choice!) to continuing to renew our commitment to support local and sustainable farmers, to upgrading some furniture (new chairs in our private dining room; brand new flat screen TVs in each of our 10 guest suites), and more. This is in addition to all of the other special programs that have become weekly and bi-weekly traditions in Frenchtown (e.g., Thursday Open Mic Night, Tuesday Trivia, Saturday Night Live Music Series, and Sunday Musical Afternoons). None of it would be possible without the continued support of patrons like you. Again, grateful.
Thank you to Terry Earhart for sending us this historic photo of The National Hotel and Frenchtown
Love is in the details, and at The National Hotel, it is reciprocated daily, because we know how much you love this wonderful, historic building. Pete and I will continue to do everything possible to honor the trust you have placed in our abilities to take good care of it. 

We send you our warmest wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving. May it be filled with joyous moments and the opportunity to share a day with friends and family. Pete and I thank you for all you do to help us stay the course, better ourselves and improve every day. Do continue to email us or post a comment here if you like. Thank you for your continued patronage and support. Happy Thanksgiving once again!

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Saturday, August 30, 2014

LABOR DAY WEEKEND ACTIVITIES IN FRENCHTOWN, NJ

Argentina's Danisa Fagan
After a week of Tuesday Trivia, Wednesday Karaoke, Thursday Open Mic Night following on the heels of Argentina's Danisa Fagan's live performance in The Rathskeller Pub (a.k.a. The Rat) last Saturday night (performing sets that included jazz, bossa nova, tango, bolero and French songs), and Rob Lanter's live music performance on Sunday, we have an equally exciting weekend ahead!!  Frenchtown, NJ holds its annual Riverfest celebration, 10 am - 5 pm.  There will be lots of in-store special events around town, music, and food! And, you can start your day by supporting our local farmers, by visiting our Farmer's Market, 10 a.m. - 2 pm. The National Hotel is also ready to welcome you.



From noon till closing, we'll have a lot of fun in town and the surrounding areas, and live music seems to be the common thread. Join us tonight from 9 - 11 pm in The Rat, for a live performance by Den and Sue, always a crowd pleasing duo.



And don't forget about tomorrow's Sunday Musical Afternoon performer, David Falcone, 5 - 7 pm.


Sit on our porch, relax a little from the busy week, and take in the sights sipping on something refreshing, while you enjoy a delicious choice from our weekend Additions to the Menu:

DRINK SPECIAL
PASSION FRUIT MARTINI
Vodka, Rum, Grand Marnier, Passion Fruit Juice, Served in a Shaker $9 
GREENS
ARUGULA & WATERMELON SALAD
Baby Arugula, Diced Watermelon, Feta Cheese, Yellow Cherry Tomatoes, Cirtrus Vinaigrette $11 
SMALL PLATES
OYSTERS
Wellfleet Oysters, MA – High Salinity, Sharp Flavor
Umami Oysters, Rhode Island – Intensely Sweet, High Brine
$2.5 each, 6/$13, 12/$25
ROASTED FIGS
Roasted Fresh Figs, Topped with Blue Cheese Crumbles, Balsamic Drizzle $6 
PLATES
FISH
Pan Seared Tilapia, Ripe Mango Salsa, Black Rice, Sautéed Zucchini Squash $19
STEAK
Braised Beef Short Rib with the Bone In, Black Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Locally grown Roma String Beans $28
PASTA (Vegetarian/Available Vegan)
Penne Pasta, Mushrooms, Sweet Peas, Mascarpone Cheese, Vegetable Broth, Drizzled with White Truffle Oil $18 
DESSERTS
Chocolate Truffle Bomba – Zabalone Crème, Covered with Chocolate Ice Cream, Hazelnuts & dusted with Coco powder $6 
ASK YOUR SERVER FOR ADDITIONAL DESSERT OPTIONS

CAPPUCCINO, ESPRESSO, FRENCH PRESSED COFFEE

While we're talking about food...mark your calendars to come by on Wednesdays, where you can take advantage of our newest promotion:  $25 FORKS & CORKS WEDNESDAYS (1 lb.-100% grass-fed-Porterhouse steak w/mashed potatoes and vegetable &/or 50% off a bottle of wine of YOUR choice!).  Come earlier and make it a super day:  Ladies' Night, 5 - 7 pm in The Rat with 1/2 priced drinks!

And if the night gets long...why not make it a mid-week escape and stay with us overnight?  We are so grateful to our overnight guests who wrote these kind words in our Guest Book.  THANK YOU!!  It means so much to us every time we read these pages, especially when we see that guests return time and again, continuing to enjoy our guest suites, and making Frenchtown their chosen destination, whether traveling from afar or accommodating family and friends who are visiting our lovely little town.

Pete and I hope to see you in Frenchtown and at The National Hotel in the near future.  Please do email me with any feedback or questions, or leave a comment on this blog.  You can also reach us at 908.996.3200, or fill out our guest inquiry page on our website.  We have a lot coming up this coming month.  Stay up-to-date with all of the activities and programs we have planned:

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Thank you again.  Here's to a wonderful, long, & restful Labor Day holiday weekend!!!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

CELEBRATING OUR NATION'S INDEPENDENCE DAY AS A COMMUNITY

On the cusp of July 4th, I look out the window of our lobby and take it all in:  The passersby; the vintage cars that take their time to savor every moment of being on Race Street in Frenchtown, NJ; the visitors carrying shopping bags from our local and unique stores; the families walking with strollers and children being held by their hands.  It's so serene, so beautiful, that it reminds me of the very significance of our great nation's Independence Day and all that we have at our fingertips today having built upon that foundation.

I think about the decisive battle on Christmas, fought just a little bit south of where we are, and imagine George Washington crossing the Delaware River--the same river that brings locals and tourists great joy and an escape from "life."  When I walk on the Delware and Raritan Canal Trail (or simply the "Towpath" too) that was designed so beautifully to run parallel to this gift of nature, I love seeing the cyclists who ride their bicycles past me, the kayakers enjoying the river, and the families who trek to this little corner of our world, to have a family fun day tubing on the Delaware River.  Of course, given the weather yesterday and today, the river was devoid of this activity, with the major tubing company on our side of the river, Delaware River Tubing, always putting people's safety ahead of profits and closing during these bad weather days.  


As the storm unleashed it's rapid fury late this afternoon, I looked out the window and was in awe of the majesty of the storm, the calm that followed, and the rapid pace of the night afterwards in our Restaurant and Bar, when guests started arriving quickly, all trying to find a respite from the deluge.

As the evening winds down on our main floor and activity increases in The Rathskeller Pub (a.k.a. the Rat), I steal a moment to write this.  It is during these "quiet" moments, that often allow me to think, to reflect, and to be thankful.  I am especially grateful for our staff, who are so genuine, so dedicated, and so conscientious.  I watch them talking with our patrons, serving them, and doing all they can to make their day a little better than before they entered The National Hotel.  It makes such a difference knowing that they have internalized our vision for this historic establishment.  Again, thankful.  Simply and honestly, grateful.

To all of you, Pete and I wish you a wonderful July 4th.  Those of you who braved the rain storm and came, we hope you enjoyed the Brinley Shipwreck Rum Tasting event with Zack Brinley this evening.  And, if you're still here enjoying our Pre-Independence Day celebration featuring a live music performance by Midtown Direct, thank you for your continued patronage.

Pete and I hope to see you in Frenchtown and at The National Hotel in the near future.  Please do email me with any feedback or questions, or leave a comment on this blog.  You can also reach us at 908.996.3200, or fill out our guest inquiry page on our website.  We have a lot coming up this month, from this Saturday's live music featuring Mike Pfeiffer, to live music with Arnie Baird on Sunday, and much more.  Stay up-to-date with all of the activities and programs we have planned for this special season:

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Thank you again.  Here's to a wonderful July 4th!!!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

END-OF-MAY BLISS LEADS TO A GREAT MONTH OF JUNE AHEAD

We definitely received a gift:  An incredibly beautiful spring day!!  I love the way the sun shines over The National Hotel as you come down the hill from Route 12; it never ceases to take my breath away.  Having our front porch open and filled with smiling faces from satisfied customers just absolutely completes this picture!!!

Tomorrow is supposed to be a picture-perfect spring day & we couldn't be happier!  We have a special musical group lined up to entertain our dining guests, 5-7 p.m. in our main Restaurant and Bar:  El Bandito.  They will surely create a special way to close out this gorgeous weekend that will have you "chomping at the bit" for next weekend's line-up that will soon be posted on our website...pun intended, given that it'll be the Belmont Stakes and even if you don't follow the races, this will be yet another reason to get together Saturday afternoon and share our lives together.  Make sure to mark your calendars for June 7th and cheer on your fave, even if it's not California Chrome!  The 3rd and final leg of the Triple Crown is, after all, "the test of the champion."  Can you say, "exciting?!"

And another reason to say thank you, is the recent award we received from TripAdvisor that absolutely floored us, because we know we OWE IT TO YOU!!!  Thank you for your feedback and for continuing to support us and share your experiences with TripAdvisor, Yelp, facebook, and other online forums.

It's also unbelievable how quickly May is winding down! Maybe it's because of all of the activities in our area, from the local schools' proms, graduations, teacher-talent nights, and plays, to the area's myriad activities, ranging from cycle clubs touring our area's local roads to new initiatives that keep tourists and locals in town.

From next weekend's Farmer's Market opening in Frenchtown on June 2nd running through October 27th (10 a.m. - 2 p.m.), to our very own NEW Wednesday Karaoke Night that launched last month, featuring DJ Papa Gs repertoire of hundreds of songs (with on-screen lyrics), this little corner of the world has an invitation card all crafted & carved with your name engraved!!

But let's not forget about Father's Day too...The National Hotel has an entire weekend menu planned for that special day (that we'll post next week) so that YOU can decide when you'd like to celebrate:  Friday, Saturday, or Sunday!!  Make the special man you are honoring truly feel special as you choose the special day, time, and activity.  Call us at 908.996.3200 or click here to make your reservation, be it lunch or dinner, or even an overnight stay with special add-ons to make it an unforgettable Father's Day experience.


How about giving that special person a gift that will make him think of you and thank you EVERY SINGLE MONTH OF THE YEAR?!  Why not give him a membership gift to our monthly National Wine Club?  And if you'd prefer something a little different, why not just give him a Gift Certificate that will allow him to choose the many options available?  Call us at 908.996.3200 or email us to talk to our knowledgeable staff.

With everything we've just mentioned, I don't want to forget about the many other options that The National Hotel offers our patrons:


All of this is complemented by Frenchtown's list of upcoming activities, from the Farmer's Market in June to Bastille Day in July.  Even beyond the planned activities, our area offers a ton of options, from kayaking to tubing to bicycling and hiking--not to mention shopping, spa treatments, yoga sessions, pilates training, etc.  As we clear away the winter blues and see the extended hours allowing us to spend more time outdoors, Frenchtown comes alive! 

Thank you for all that you continue to do to make Frenchtown your chosen destination.  Whether you are a local resident or someone who enjoys visiting our area, make sure to visit our website for updates on things to do while you plan your time in Frenchtown.  It will be our pleasure to serve you and to make your stay with us memorable and something that you will long treasure.

Pete and I hope to see you in Frenchtown and at The National Hotel in the near future.  Please do email me with any feedback or questions, or leave a comment on this blog.  You can also reach us at 908.996.3200, or fill out our guest inquiry page on our website.  Stay up-to-date with all of the activities and programs we have planned for this special season:


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Thank you again.

Monday, April 28, 2014

FROM FLOWERS TO NEW PROGRAMS, EVERYTHING IS BLOOMING AT THE NATIONAL HOTEL

Spring arrived but old man winter has had a hard time letting go this year.  Still, seeing the flowers starting to bloom and lawns starting to turn green, refreshes the senses and lifts one's spirits.  It inspired us to plant some flowers in front of The National Hotel's main entrance, to replace all the beautiful flowers that had been planted back in 2009 by Kristine Gryl Marinelli (KM Interior Design), after we took ownership of this historic building.  It seemed like a minor inconvenience losing all those flowers after SuperStorm Sandy, compared to all the damage and destruction that storm brought with it.  But it was time.


It became a "family affair," as so much of our personal lives are intertwined with the love and respect we hold for The National Hotel.  Even on Mondays, when only the Hotel is open, we are often in Frenchtown, NJ tweaking this or that, replenishing supplies, deep cleaning carpets or tending to the beautiful, original pumpkin pine floors that welcome our guests.  Last week we weeded and planted; the week before that we spent Monday resetting computers with our new Spring Menu that was unveiled on April 15th, as well as doing a full staff training that very night.  The latter is an essential ingredient that helps us deliver the quality of service that our patrons demand.  It's our attentive, friendly, and caring staff that continues to amaze us.  We are so appreciative of all of their hard work and their dedication to The National Hotel.

All I can say  is that with their help, WE ARE READY FOR MOTHER'S DAY!!! That all-important day where we have the opportunity to honor our mothers, the mother of our children, or women in our lives who are nurturing and who make all the difference.  We're planning a special menu that weekend that will definitely say to that special lady in your life:  I VALUE YOU!  Make your reservations early; call us at 908.996.3200 or email us, or if you'd prefer, present her with a Gift Certificate to The National Hotel.

And speaking of ladies, following on the heels of our weekly Wednesday Ladies' Night (with 1/2-priced drinks for ladies, 5-7 pm in The Rathskeller Pub, a.k.a. The Rat), which has become a ritual for many, meeting up with friends and often, making new ones, last week also marked the launch of our brand new Wednesday Karaoke Night--something many of you have asked us repeatedly to establish.  We needed to wait to find the right person to host the night, the right music selection, etc.  We have established a long tradition of making sure that we take care of our guests and allow many of our programs to develop organically.  But with your encouragement, we found the right person, as anyone who attended last Wednesday's launch night can attest:
And while The National Hotel offers these great opportunities for community connections often on six nights of the week, Frenchtown itself has been busy creating many such opportunities, from getting neighbors involved to help clean up Frenchtown Park earlier this month, to planting trees at Horseshoe Bend Park (a 450+ acre preserved park with some of the best views of the Delaware River and wonderful hiking trails), to "Fit Frenchtown" which kicked off yesterday, focusing on a campaign for wellness created by the town's mayor, Warren Cooper.  Fit Frenchtown activities included participation from Yoga Loka offering a free yoga class yesterday, engaging students from the Frenchtown Elementary School Running Club, and will continue for the next few months with a women's wellness series planned, a softball game, walks along the bike path (Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park), and more.

And there's a lot to look forward to if you're planning to visit our area from out-of-state, or are a resident in search of new activities, including a world-class archery center that is likely to be built in Union Township across from the entrance to Spruce Run Reservoir State Park, and could be used by would-be Olympians.  There are currently only 3 such centers in the entire country.


As you can see, there's a little something for everyone in our little corner of the world, from sports, to health and fitness, to shopping, to finding that sweet spot when you look to escape from the daily grind.  Our Hotel guests often share that what Frenchtown offers is different from anywhere else they have traveled; a unique and special experience.  At The National Hotel, we'll continue to bring you exceptional programming, wonderful lunch and dinner experiences, fresh and delicious signature drinks, continue to explore new wine and beer choices to complement your meals, and provide you with attention to detail during your overnight stays.  This is at the very core of everything we do, always challenging ourselves to improve and to bring you innovative programs that will help make The National Hotel part of your weekly plans.

One of the best outcomes from the programs we schedule is the feedback we receive from those in attendance and the enthusiasm you demonstrate when these special nights come around.  If you've been to our Bi-Weekly Tuesday Trivia Nights (next one is scheduled for May 5th), then you know first-hand just how much time and effort Russ Coen (the night's creator) and our General Manager, Marlon Aranha, put into each of Russ' unique and well-developed trivia questions.  Everyone is welcome to join and "first-timers" are always embraced.  I have always loved that about The National Hotel's loyal patrons--they are the first ones to welcome you into the group, making it easy for anyone new to feel right at home, especially in the more relaxed Rathskeller Pub, the area's "late night destination," also dubbed "The Frenchtown Underground" by Alex Wolfson back in 2010:

[July 2010 Open Mic Night]

And from that to our regular music that continues to captivate us, from our weekly Thursday Open Mic Night (which, by the way, was also created by one of our loyal patrons, Alex Wolfson), to our Saturday Night Live Music series, to our Sunday Afternoon Music series; we live in an exceptional part of the country, where the appreciation of and for art is palpable.  The musicians who sign-up for Open Mic Night are joyful to perform, while those of us who can sit and enjoy their music, are in awe of their talent and appreciate the gift they bring each and every week.  Thank you to all of these artists, and to you for supporting them too.

Pete and I hope to see you in Frenchtown and at The National Hotel in the near future.  Please do email me with any feedback or questions, or leave a comment on this blog.  You can also reach us at 908.996.3200, or fill out our guest inquiry page on our website.  Stay up-to-date with all of the activities and programs we have planned for this special season:

Find us on Facebook  Visit our blog  Follow us on Twitter  View our videos on YouTubeFind us on Google+


Thank you again.