We’re well familiar with J.P. Gifford’s market in Kent on N. Main Street; their truffle fries are not to be resisted, but never have we dined at Gifford’s the restaurant, just a few feet away at 9 Maple Street. From their website, “Gifford’s offers seasonal New American cuisine with a menu of signature dishes and specials to please every palate.”

Knowing that we like to be hands-on in our features, co-owners Chef James Neunzig and Michael Moriarty invited us into their kitchen to attempt to cook our own lunch. I say attempt because if you’ve read any of our other cooking posts, you’ll know that cooking isn’t exactly one of our “talents.” Challenge accepted!

To help us prepare, we watched the movie “Burnt” starring Bradley Cooper and Sierra Miller. If you haven’t seen it, it’s all about the fine dining kitchen scene – pretty crazy, pretty manic, Cooper’s character acting a lot like Gordon Ramsey. We’re glad to report our experience in the kitchen with James and Michael was nothing like this. They couldn’t be any further from the Gordon Ramsey types!


Mike Moriarty on the left, James Neunzig on the right.

Lora opted to make grilled black pearl salmon over spicy yellow lentil dal with cilantro sauce and tomato chutney. I went for the chicken pad thai. See how we did…

How proud do we look about our culinary creations?


Action shots…and yes, our hair isn’t tied back, but our lunch, our hair!


Lora named her dal Barbie (get it!?) Look at the concentration.


The fine folks that do this for real every day….and who cheered us on during our “experience.”


Matthew Jones and Christine Short

Deliciousness…this is the Sledgehammer Coffee Chocolate Cake with classic cream cheese frosting…it’s not on the dessert menu but can always be ordered! Mmmmm

The lowdown and some breaking news!

Michael and James, friends and business partners, met when Michael was 16 and worked at the Bistro Cafe in New Milford. James was the head chef and manager at the time. A solid friendship was formed (James was the best man at Michael’s wedding) and years later their dreams would be realized by opening their own eating establishment together.

J. P. Gifford Market & Catering launched in 2010. In 2013, with a clientele and following already established, opening Gifford’s restaurant was a natural progression.

Michael explained to us that the two establishments use similar local farm ingredients, the Marketplace offering grab and go, fast casual food, the restaurant offering more refined, old school fine dining.

The two shared with us that they’re 0pening another J.P. Gifford Market and Catering in Sharon! Great news for northern Litchfield County! Scheduled opening date is August-ish.

Catering is a big part of their business. They tell us they cater for parties anywhere from 10 – 500 people. Horse farm weddings will be plentiful this summer.

When asked what their favorite thing is about owning a restaurant, the two emphatically respond that the people they meet are by far the best thing, along with no two days being the same.

Gifford’s really does cater to all. You can opt for an amazing dry aged steak, just a sandwich, or a cocktail and appetizer. Just leave room for dessert, the three we sampled were out of this world!

There’s something for everyone and very soon, you can enjoy it all outdoors on the patio. See you there…we promise we won’t be doing the cooking!


9 Maple Street, Kent
(860) 592-0262

Pics: Lora Warnick Words: Bev Canepari Video: Tim Lenz