VENTANAS Restaurant & Lounge
New Jersey restaurateur Alexander Duran (Co-owner @SonCubanoNJ) is launching VENTANAS Restaurant & Lounge, a Cuban-Asian-American fusion eatery at The Modern, a new residential development from SJP Properties in Fort Lee, NJ.
Cuban dining is getting a boost from David Burke, the chef behind BLT Prime, the steakhouse at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC.
Burke, who lives in Fort Lee, will be the culinary managing director at VENTANAS, which will feature a menu by Celebrity Chef Ricardo Cardona who serves as the chef for the New York Yankees during home games that will be Cuban-Asian-American “fusion” dishes.
The 7,000-square-foot space will seat 150 people in the dining room, which comes with a chef’s table, 50 people in the tapas lounge and bar, and 75 to 100 people on the outdoor terrace bar and lounge.
A regular on “Iron Chef America,” Burke has a stable of restaurants including Tavern62 and Woodpecker in New York; Dirt House in Sea Bright, NJ; The King Bar and Red Salt Room in Garden City, NY, in addition to his Trump location — and BLT Prime by David Burke, at the Trump International Hotel in DC. – NEW YORK POST
Valet Services – John Fuda / Branding/Design – Ney Pimentel / Interior Designer – Yvette Irene / Restaurateur – Alexander Duran / Business Manager / Vice President – Travis Duran / Architect – Manny Pereiras, AIA
The Duran family’s entrepreneurial spirit was inspired by their parent’s immigration to the United States to seek out a better life for themselves and their children. Initially, the Duran parents struggled to establish a new presence in America without the help of any savings or economic assistance during a time when very few people even spoke their native language.
The patriarch, Mr. Duran, held several entry-level jobs to support his new family including working at a car wash and even working double shifts in a textile factory. His wife had her hands full raising their four small children, Alexander, Diana, Edward, and Claudia. Eventually, Mr. Duran found a new opportunity to control their destiny by opening a business in the airport transportation industry, servicing Latin American merchants.
The Duran family were fortunate to be able to put their four children through college, where they earned degrees in such fields as Business, Hotel & Restaurant Management, and Engineering. After each of the four siblings started their respective careers, they eventually all ended up working together within the family business where they gained invaluable experience learning the many facets of running a successful and profitable small business.
Together, with hard work and much determination, the Duran family was able to transform their family business into a thriving international/domestic logistics company, with over 25 employees, now celebrating their 30th year. It was during this time that the expansion into the restaurant business evolved with the inception of Flor de Sol – a Spanish tapas restaurant & lounge in 1997, located in the heart of Tribeca, New York City.
A few years later in 2000, the Duran family started a new Cuban restaurant & bar concept called Son Cubano, located right in the heart of the Meatpacking District in New York City. With the steady success of the brand in NYC, Son Cubano expanded in the Winter of 2010 with the opening of a brand new 7,000 square foot waterfront restaurant and lounge in the Duran family hometown of West New York, New Jersey.
With spectacular skyline views of the New York City, the waterfront restaurant serves a modern Cuban menu and has become a destination hotspot for both locals and out of town travelers. The restaurant features two dining rooms, a large bar and lounge area, a beautiful outdoor patio and live nightly entertainment including both local musicians and DJs.
The restaurant has contributed significantly to the local economy by creating over 75 jobs and supporting many local suppliers of food and spirits, as well as contracting local artists and musicians.
Blurring the lines between chef, artist, entrepreneur and inventor, world-renowned chef David Burke is one of the leading pioneers in American cooking today. His fascination with ingredients and the art of the meal has fueled a thirty-year career marked by creativity, critical acclaim and the introduction of revolutionary products and cooking techniques.
A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and a student at École Lenôtre Pastry School in Plaisir, France. Burke worked with legendary chefs in France and New York such as Pierre Troisgros, George Blanc, Marc Meneau, Daniel Boulud, Charlie Palmer and Waldy Malouf. Burke’s mastery of French culinary technique and his unique American creativity were confirmed at the age of 26, receiving Three Stars from the New York Times at the River Café. Burke was then chosen by his peers to represent the USA at The International Culinary Competition and won France’s coveted Meilleurs Ouvriers de France Diplôme d’Honneur. The only American to ever achieve this honor. Burke also won the Nippon Award for Excellence from the government of Japan, for overall skill and technique. Burke remained Executive Chef at the River Café till 1992.
In 1992, Burke opened the critically acclaimed Park Avenue Café with Smith & Wollensky CEO Alan Stillman, and in 1996, he became vice president of culinary development for the Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group. In 2003, Burke branched out on his own to start his first ever proprietary and highly praised restaurant, Davidburke & Donatella. Throughout the past twenty years, Burke’s wide-ranging and innovative restaurant concepts have included David Burke Townhouse, David Burke at Bloomingdale’s, Fishtail by David Burke, and David Burke Kitchen (NYC); David Burke Fromagerie (Rumson, NJ); David Burke’s Primehouse (Chicago); David Burke Las Vegas(Las Vegas); and David Burke Prime (Foxwoods, CT). Currently, David has opened BLT Prime by David Burke in Washington DC, launched the David Burke Catering Company, Woodpecker by David Burke in NYC,Drifthouse and Nauti Bar by David Burke, on the Jersey shore, and Breckenridge Distillery in Breckenridge, CO. He is the Culinary Director for the Adelphi Hotel in Saratoga, Ventanas in Fort Lee and has opened The Garden City Hotel which includes Red Salt Room by David Burke, the King Bar by DB & The Patio Bar, and David Burke Tavern in NYC.
HONORS & AWARDS
New Jersey Red Cross Clara Barton Humanitarian of the Year
American Cancer Society Taste of Hope Culinary Chef Honoree
Restaurant Hospitality MagazineCoolest Multiconcept Companies in the Land, David Burke Group
Best Chef of New York City Two Time Nominee
Johnson & Wales University Distinguished Visiting Chef Award
NJ Restaurant Association Restauranteur of the Year
Concierge Choice Award Best Chef
James Beard Foundation Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America
Nation’s Restaurant News Menu Masters Award for Innovation
Nation’s Restaurant News 50 Top R&D Culinarians
James Beard Foundation Best Chef New York
Time Out New York Best Culinary Prankster
The Vatel Club Chef of the Year
Chef Magazine Chef of the Year
Meilleur Ouvriers de France Diplôme d’Honneur
Robert Mondavi Culinary Award of Excellence
James Beard Foundation Best Chef New York
Culinary Institute of AmericaAuguste Escoffier “Augie” Award
Government of Japan Nippon Award of Excellence
Chefs in America Chef of the Year
Chef Ricardo Cardona is a self-trained chef with over twenty years experience in American, French and Latin cuisines. He began his career working in some of the nation’s leading restaurants. His hands-on, classical training is evident in his work that portrays a fusion of the range of culinary styles. He has been the Executive Chef at several New York metropolitan restaurants: Mamajuana Café, Hudson River Cafe, and Sofrito and Chef at Lua, Josephina, Time Cafe, and Disney Land. In addition, as a lover of baseball, he is proud to have cooked for the New York Yankees and visiting teams.
Through his private catering venture, Cardona Catering, Ricardo can share his fare with families, friends, and businesses that wish to enjoy wonderful food. His cuisine has delighted such luminaries as Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez, and the New York Knick’s basketball team.
He has also shared his expertise and creative talent on the popular cooking competition show, “Chopped”, and as one of the chefs helping struggling restaurateurs on “Mission Menu” on TLC International/NuVo TV. He also continues to make appearances on numerous prime time shows and channels including Good Morning America, Despierta America!, FOX and WPIX 11.
At Cardona Catering, Chef Cardona personally works with each and every client, from a newly engaged couple planning an intimate reception for their special day to a corporate function with dignitaries and many guests. Lastly, Chef Cardona deeply enjoys seeing people smile the moment they taste his food. It is no surprise that clients continue to return over the years but now as friends.
“I love what I do…there is no greater pleasure than making other people happy.”
– Ricardo Cardona