The owner of Princeton’s Agricola restaurant will open a new bar this summer near Princeton’s new “Dinky” train station. The “Dinky” is what locals call the two-car train that links Princeton University and Princeton Junction station on the Northeast Rail Corridor.
The Dinky Bar and Kitchen will be located in a newly renovated space in the old Princeton Station’s passenger waiting room. The Dinky Bar will be operated by the Fenwick Hospitality Group, which also owns Main Street Bistro, Main Street Eatery and Gourmet Bakery, Main Street Fine Catering and Great Road Farm.
Fenwick’s owner Jim Nawn said the Dinky Bar is ideally located between the new NJ Transit station and McCarter Theater. It will be a convenient place for a pre-show dinner or something to eat before heading to the train.
The bar will serve cocktails, beer and wine as well as lunch, dinner and late night snacks. It will include 60 indoor and 30 outdoor seats. Nawn said the bar will feature a “light, industrial, contemporary” design aesthetic,” which he said will give a “casual vibe.”
New Restaurant to open in 2017
Nawn is also planning to open a French-influenced restaurant in the former luggage handling building of the old “Dinky Station”. It will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and have 140 indoor seats and 50 outdoor seats. The bistro is scheduled to open in 2017.
Nawn said that both the bar and restaurant will feature locally-grown ingredients. “At the center of everything we’re doing is this farm we have,” Nawn said, referring to the Great Road Farm in Skillman, NJ.
The company partnered with Princeton University last year as part of the school’s Arts and Transit Project, a $330 million project including new arts facilities, a relocated Dinky station and a roundabout by Alexander Road.
Princeton Councilwoman Jo Butler said the new businesses are likely to be well received. “I think the McCarter theatergoers will really appreciate it,” she said, adding that locals are always pleased by new eating venues.
“Every time I pass Agricola it seems to be well populated, especially with the younger demographic,” Butler said. “The farm-to-table concept is very popular at the moment.”
Nawn is hoping his new bar and restaurant will appeal to Princeton University students. Nawn has reached out to students, who have visited his farm and discussed what might be popular with the younger crowd.
Michael Cox, a Junior at Princeton, said the new establishment will likely be popular. As a member of the student government, he organized Princeton University’s Restaurant Week in 2015, a period of discounts for Princeton students at local businesses. “[Students] will definitely take interest in heading over there as opposed to Nassau or Prospect Street,” Cox said. Nassau is downtown Princeton’s main street and Prospect Street is where the members-only student Eating Clubs are located. “I’ll definitely go,” he said.