Q&A with Gregory Smith, Executive Director, Park Avenue Club
Interview by Laurie Pellichero
Q.Tell us about Park Avenue Club – its history and its unique mission.
A: Twenty-five years ago, several prominent individuals partnered with 600 businesses and 2,500 caring individuals to transform a dilapidated dairy farm structure into Park Avenue Club. Both the land and the building were donated to the Park Avenue Foundation, which is comprised of several nonprofit organizations. The Park Avenue Club leases the space and operates within those walls.
Park Avenue Club attracts a membership that seeks to enhance their social and business lives and appreciates that our mission supports the Park Avenue Foundation and its 13 nonprofits.
Today, Park Avenue Club is reinventing the private dining club concept. Our Club offers an upscale yet casual dining experience with chef-curated menus rivaling those of the finest Manhattan restaurants.
Q.What charities have benefited from the Park Avenue Foundation?
A: Funds raised support essential human needs, provide emergency housing and shelter in a crisis, facilitate access to education, honor culture and the arts, and preserve history.
The net revenue generated by the Park Avenue Foundation via its relationship with the Park Avenue Club, and dedicated for the exclusive benefit of the Foundation’s nonprofit members exceeds $6 million since the Club’s inception.
These nonprofits currently comprise the Park Avenue Foundation:
Boys & Girls Club of Newark
Boy Scouts of America/Patriots Path Council
Community FoodBank of NJ
The Morris Museum
The Family Resource Network
Museum of Early Trades & Crafts
P.G. Chambers School
Burgdorff Foundation (Beneficiaries are Jersey Battered Women’s Service, Morris
Habitat for Humanity and Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts)
Q.Why do members join Park Avenue Club?
A: Members use the Club for personal, social, and business reasons. It is an oasis with a relaxing yet upscale and elegant, home away from home feel. Members can host important business meetings and receptions knowing our impeccable and highly personalized service will impress their clients and associates. At the same time, the Club is also the ultimate destination for family celebrations from weddings to birthdays and mitzvahs. Our modern, casual, and rustically elegant spaces allow for unique versatility. With two daily and distinct dining venues the Club offers breakfast, lunch,
and dinner service.
Our Club calendar offers many family-themed events such as our Mother’s Day Brunch, Easter Brunch, and the Victorian Candlelight at year’s end. A nice benefit is that spouses of members are automatically members at no additional charge, and we welcome our families with several children’s events including holiday pumpkin carving, ginger bread decorating, and movie nights.
Our culinary offerings are a contemporary interpretation of traditional American cuisine. Fresh, local, and seasonal menus are created to deliver a personalized dining experience. A highly skilled culinary staff, house sommelier, and passionate service team provide an upscale epicurean destination while our members “dine for a cause.”
The social clubs within Park Avenue Club offer unique networking opportunities. Our Wine Enthusiasts Club and Cigar Club meet monthly. We also offer book clubs and a women’s executives club that enjoys robust attendance.
Park Avenue Club offers reciprocal agreements with over 190 other elite clubs worldwide. And, as an added value, a member has access to almost a dozen private country clubs in New Jersey, as well as private club offerings in 39 U.S. states, and even international destinations such as London, France, India, and China.
Park Avenue Club offers incredible value and is accessibly priced for a private
Q.What type of events are hosted at the Club?
A:Our newly constructed 14,200-square-foot events wing plays host to memorable weddings, jubilant mitzvahs, and refined corporate meetings. Whether a business event or a major family celebration, the Club has a stunning space with a luxurious and modern aesthetic as well as all the attendant professional staff to fully customize your event and impress your guests.
The Club’s daily member experience includes frequent live entertainment and monthly specialized and seasonally-inspired events such as Lobster Nights, Evening by the Fire (a chef-integrated cooking event), Sunday Brunches, Burger & Beer nights, and so much more.
Q. I understand the Club has undergone a major renovation. What has changed and how does it benefit members and guests?
A:Park Avenue Club is a strikingly handsome facility that embodies rustic elegance at its best. Our brand-new events wing complements the restaurant spaces within the original dairy barn. Our interiors are certainly sophisticated, but also warm and inviting.
We recently refurbished our two daily dining venues, the more casual Charity’s and the upscale Hayloft dining room. Each restaurant offers a unique dining experience and its own specialized menu.
Charity’s also serves as our in-house coffee house during the morning hours. The more formal side of club dining is found in our Hayloft dining room. Each venue has its own patio with fire pits for an inviting alfresco ambiance several months of the year. Our restaurants are appointed with a rustic-luxe design, creating a signature sophisticated but casual setting that honors our history while remaining utterly contemporary.
Q.How do you become a member?
A:The website www.parkavenueclub.com offers preliminary information under the Membership tab, but we love to talk face to face or by phone with anyone interested in membership.
Gregory Smith, CMAA, PGA is the Executive Director of Park Avenue Club. He may be contacted at 973.301.8233.