A gift to

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:51

    the senses The two and a half year mystery on the Route 15 bypass is ready for unveiling. And it's called the Mohawk House. The new restaurant on the hill, opened its doors on Aug. 2, but even before it welcomed its first official customer, the word was out that the result was worth the long wait. Owners Steve Scro and Rachel Perrone-Scro have turned back the hands of time in this building constructed of stone, old brick, copper, and metal, and trimmed with many different kinds of wood to give it an old-world charm. Upon entering the Mohawk House, a visitor is welcomed by the impression of having stumbled upon a Colorado ski lodge, with its open ceilings and exposed wood beams.. The restaurant, which is adorned by decorations reminiscent of the 1920s, boasts a garden room, barroom, wine room, and outdoor dining, both upstairs and down. All areas are beautifully lit with custom and specialized lighting to set the tone. Every detail has been carefully thought out, right down to the ornate curtain rods and flat-screen TV's over the urinals in the men's room. "We were looking to do it right, so we took our time with it. We're in this for the long haul, so we tried to tend to every detail," commented Scro. The foyer greets the visitor with comfortable, plush, jewel-toned seating that entices the guest to enjoy the warmth of the double-sided, brick fireplace that proudly displays an Indian head carved from stone as the mantel piece. The dark-stained, wide-planked flooring and cinnamon-brick walls of the foyer that offer a classic yet rustic atmosphere, are an invitation to roam the remainder of the restaurant. The barroom to the right, offers custom made, mission-style bar stools that encompass the wide, mahogany 20-foot square bar. The brick wall behind the premium bar provides an elegant backdrop and sets the stage to the exciting atmosphere of the room. For those who prefer table seating for their drinks or casual dining, the visitor will find comfort and welcome in the custom made oak, bow back chairs just past the black baby grand piano. Joanie Beau is the in-house pianist and vocalist who will be adding to the dining experience with a mix of songs from the 1920s to today. Several other vocalists, guitarists and pianists will be joining her on occasion. The focal point of the restaurant is the main room, which commands the visitor's attention with the soaring, 30-foot fireplace, which can also be enjoyed from the loft above. By this point, the visitor's head may well be spinning as they try to absorb all of the minute detail so meticulously thought out by Rachel Perrone-Scro. The wine room offers online connection, speakerphones and a pull-down screen to accommodate business meetings and conferences. The garden room offers a breathtaking view of valleys, hills and a blanket of green with a splattering of trees below. "We built it up on the higher elevation so the view would be more peaceful for our customers," said Scro. In the foreground of this spectacular view, the visitor also enjoys the warmth and comfort of the outdoor brick fireplace. "Each niche within the Mohawk House has been designed with an emphasis on the comfort of our customer," said Perrone-Scro. Amazing décor is not the only quality this restaurant affords. Head chef Ben Del Coro, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, was recruited from ‘Soho on George' in New Brunswick, to bring unique dishes as well as classic American cuisine to the restaurant's tables. "We will be offering a superior quality of organic food, hormone-free meats, and homemade breads and pastas. Superior quality is the way the building was built, that's the way we're going to run the business," said Del Coro, who is working with the Farm Shed Alliance to secure the freshest natural ingredients available from area farmers. In addition to Del Coro, the Scros have brought in specialized pastry chef Paula Canariaco from Cocoluxe in Peapack. "The experienced veterans I've hired here have been hand-picked and are in it for the right reasons. It's an experience for them and I'm proud of them. They are what motivates me," said Scro. Although the Mohawk House is the Scros first venture into restaurants, both are experienced business owners. "I grew up working in a family business with old-world values. We took an educated look at the business from the start and plan to run it the old fashioned way," said Scro. "When you live in the community, you know what the people need." The Scros hope the Mohawk House will become a Sparta landmark and an important partner in the area's business community. "I want this restaurant to be a place where people feel comfortable coming in with a baseball cap, ordering a hamburger, or with a suit and tie, ordering filet mignon," said Scro. "We wanted to give the community a comfortable yet elegant place to come. I don't want it to become a ‘special occasion' place so we kept our pricing reasonable. I want people to think of the Mohawk House when they're on their way home from a sporting event with their family." To this effect, the Mohawk House welcomes children. A swing set, bocci ball, shuffle board and volleyball court are in the plans. Special holiday activities will be offered, such as pumpkin painting, gingerbread-house making and egg hunts. The Mohawk House is located at 3 Sparta Junction. The restaurant opens for dinner at 4 p.m. and, beginning Aug. 9, will start serving lunch at 11:30 a.m. To make a reservation, call 973-729-6464.