About Zod Arifai
A former rock guitarist who has spent time in the kitchens of several world-class chefs (including Charlie Trotter, David Bouley and Roger Vergé), Zod Arifai’s unconventional, exciting and wholly unique world-influenced New American cuisine has garnered raves over the years from The NY Times, New Jersey Monthly and many others. His iconoclastic personal style and great sense of humor have made Arifai and his restaurants consistent favorites among consumers and critics alike. As Alan Richman once noted, “Zod is even more obsessed with perfection than most Manhattan chefs.” Zod’s beloved Blu opened in Montclair, NJ in 2005 and its casual, comfortable sister-restaurant, Next Door, opened in 2007. He closed both restaurants in 2015 to pursue new ventures.
About Benny Mavraj
Benny came to the US in 1992, and has been in the restaurant business for more than 20
years. It’s in his blood — his parents were restaurateurs in his native Albania. He opened his first restaurant, Due Fratelli, in Martinsville, in 1996, and Cafe Azzurro, his popular Northern Italian BYO in 2006. Benny took over the Martinsville Taverna in early 2017. He lives with
his family in Peapack.