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Chef Ehren Ryan Opens Common Lot in Millburn
By Rosie Saferstein | June 6, 2016

There is nothing common about Common Lot. From the handmade ceramic dishes, jugs and French press pots to the gunmetal silverware and fresh flowers, this exciting new restaurant is uncommon. The space designed by Studio 1200 in Millburn has an open kitchen, long communal table, dramatic lighting and orange shelves (upstairs) that display some of executive chef/owner Ehren Ryan’s cookbooks. The décor is as luscious as the food.

Australian-born chef Ehren and his partner and wife Austrian born Nadine have impressive bios. He has worked at Michelin star restaurants in Sydney, London, the Channel Islands and Austria, including Heston Blumenthal’s London restaurant. Nadine who runs the front of house, worked at the luxury Kristiania Hotel in Lech, Austria.

Check out the full article here:


By Cody Kendall | For NJ Advance Media 
Original Article:

It seemed as if everyone was waiting breathlessly for Common Lot to open during the long months that the restaurant took shape at the corner of Main and Essex streets in Millburn.

The work on the brick-sided building with the big glass windows originally was scheduled to be finished in December, but you know how that goes. Finally, following a soft opening in March, the restaurant proved its buzz-worthiness by booking up fast.

The space has a studied casual flair, the perfect setting for “globally inspired modern American” food that is thought-provoking. Often so pretty they seem suitable for framing, each dish demands appreciation before one digs into such colorful compilations as delicately handled roasted heirloom carrots ($10) artfully balanced against each other with a backdrop of honey, cumin, pumpkin seeds and yogurt, or lissome butter-poached halibut ($32) flattered by a morel cream sauce.

“Interesting” ingredients — for example, the soy caramel in the $75 braised lamb for two or pickled kohlrabi and crispy garlic with the salmon sashimi ($18) — are an attraction. “We took a risk and it’s paying off. I think people like the change,” said chef/owner Ehren Ryan, a native of Australia and veteran of cooking everywhere from India and the Philippines to the Channel Islands and England.

He works with his wife, Nadine, who comes from Austria. An expert on cheese and tea who studied hotel management, she runs the front of the house, supervising expertly trained, well-informed staffers. They embody the right degree of solicitousness to make the smooth-flowing evening a pleasure.

Although Ryan patronizes a farmers’ market in town, he isn’t wedded to strictly local ingredients, instead preferring to obtain what he needs for his seasonal menus at whatever purveyor offers the best quality of the items he seeks.

The Ryans at first looked for a place to set up shop in New York, including the East Village and Brooklyn, then switched their attention to New Jersey, where the chef’s family lives. Morristown and Summit were on their radar, but he and his wife decided that “Millburn had the right vibe and needed something new.” The location was perfect, “Just down the road from train station, a five-minute walk from the Paper Mill Playhouse.”

Great care has been taken with the furnishings, featuring hand-forged metal to go with reclaimed factory wood boards. An upstairs dining area featuring a cookbook collection accommodates 28.

The layout in the downstairs dining room that seats 34 is interesting, with a community table in the center, a banquette along one wall and very comfortable semi-circular booths on either side near the entrance at the lower level.

Space for four at a counter looking into the open kitchen comprises the “kitchen pass” area, where spots go for $95. The concept offers a chance to interact with the chef and explore a multi-course menu that is billed as a surprise.

Bread isn’t served, so we went with the highly touted bag of egg and crisps ($5) to get our meal under way. The house-made potato chips are shaken in a bag to mix with a soft 64-degree egg. Sorry, but it left me cold, and was rather messy to eat.

Every dish shows thought. Sirloin ($32) dry-aged in-house gets its mojo from a Reform sauce featuring bits of beef tongue. Sweet little smooches of house-made gnocchi combine with a duck leg ragu ($29), shiitake mushrooms and Pecorino.

Vegetarians are not forgotten. Roasted cauliflower ($22) and cauliflower puree (with purple cauliflower for color) are lifted with a relish of sultana raisins and capers.

Desserts by Alexa Clark (formerly of Local Seasonal Kitchen in Ramsey) are fascinating. You can’t go wrong with the Pavlova, the incredible lightness of meringue ($10) matched with the slick velvet of citrus mascarpone and a dusting of dark chocolate. For the kid in you, there’s the chocolate mousse/peanut butter mousse combo ($10) elevated by dulce de leche and cocoa nibs.

Plum brandy sorbet gives a tingle to vanilla rice pudding ($10). The pudding is served in a covered dish, with the sorbet on the lid so it stays cold. Just lift the lid, put it on the side, and partake of both components.

About the restaurant’s name: you know what “common” means. Think one step ahead to communal, and “lot” in this instance stands for a crowd of people, as well as plentiful and abundance. Common Lot is about a place to meet and share unusual food, an experience with an ambiance on the table and in the room that makes for a unique evening.


Common Lot

27 Main St., Millburn. 973-467-0494.

Hours: 5-10 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays, 5-10:30 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays. Closed Sundays-Mondays. BYOW. ★★★½ (three and one-half stars) out of 4!


Featured on NJ Monthly:


Practicing at Common Lot in Millburn: New Jersey’s winning team of (from left) Frankie Flores (Totowa), Jasmine Garcia (Haledon), Kathleen Ortiz (Hawthorne), Ashley Gulliksen (Haskell) and Katherine Yakovlev (Wayne). Photo: Michele De Vincentis, Passaic County Technical Institute

With help from chef Ehren Ryan, co-owner of Milburn’s newly-opened Common Lot restaurant, five teens from the School of Culinary Arts at Passaic County Technical Institute are about to compete in the finals of the National Restaurant Association’s 2016 National ProStart Invitational competition in Dallas, Texas.

The contest pits teams from high schools in 50 states.  Team New Jersey is Frankie Flores of Totowa,Jasmine Garcia of Haledon, Kathleen Ortiz of Hawthorne, Ashley Gulliksen of Haskell and Katherine Yakovlev of Wayne. They will compete against more than 300 other finalists for prizes that include full scholarships to post-secondary schools including the Culinary Institute of America.

Team New Jersey (in white) with chef Ehren Ryan (far left) and his Common Lot kitchen team. Photo: Michele De Vincentis, Passaic County Technical Institute

Last fall, chef Ryan volunteered to mentor the group while he and his wife were riding out construction delays on Common Lot, the restaurant they were opening together.

With his help and lots of practice, they developed a three-course menu for the rounds of competition that would determine the New Jersey state representative to the ProStart finals.

The menu includes two portions each of a pan-seared scallop and pumpkin appetizer; an entree ofwhole roasted quail with faro risotto and Swiss chard; and a chocolate-peanut butter-caramelized banana torte, served with vanilla crème anglaise sauce.

The hitch is that everything must be made at top speed using the absolute simplest tools and equipment.

Chef Ehren Ryan watching Frankie Flores plate a dish. Photo: Michele De Vincentis, Passaic County Technical Institute

“What they produce in one hour is phenomenal,” says Ryan. “There’s basically no electricity. The kids have two gas burners to cook off of, and that’s it.”

Recommended Reading: Taste of Tuscany Dinner at James Beard House

Ryan’s own staff has called the conditions “barbaric.”

Nevertheless, back in January the group weathered the rigorous statewide competition, advancing to take their menu to Dallas on April 29th.

To help keep them focused, Ryan recently staged a mock contest at Common Lot, pitting his kitchen crew against the kids. In order to level the playing field, he handicapped his professionals with a mystery box of ingredients and no extra planning time.

At the state level, Ryan had seen many competitors get distracted by what other teams were doing,

“This pressure test,” he says, “was all about focusing and drowning out the exterior sounds and just doing your job as you would in a normal kitchen.”

The kids finished before the pros even got their dishes plated.

“They seem to thrive on pressure,” Ryan says.

“I’ve always wanted to give back and mentor kids,” says the chef. “There’s such a shortage of good chefs in the world. We have to inspire the next generation.”


Original article:

“Officially opened on March 29 by Australian-born chef/owner Ehren Ryan and his wife, Nadine, Ryan describes the locally and seasonally-inspired menu at Common Lot as “modern American with global influences.” Among the Millburn NJ restaurants signature appetizers are salmon sashimi with a pickled daikon and ponzu dressing and slow-cooked duck egg with duck prosciutto and spaetzle infused with hazelnuts. Popular spring entrées include butter-poached halibut with peas, morels, and fava beans as well as duck ragout with house-made gnocchi and beer-infused tomato sauce. At the quaint 64-seat eatery, “we have a rustic casual décor in gray shades with a lot of metal and reclaimed wood,” said Ryan, who hopes to appeal to a local clientele that’s used to traveling to New York City to enjoy this level of dining. “We offer fine dining without pretention and a fun, relaxed, yet elegant dining experience,” he said.”


Article Featured in NJ Monthly

This casual, fine-dining BYO restaurant takes the open-kitchen concept to a new level, providing views of the action from inside as well as out.
By Rosie Saferstein | March 28, 2016

One of the most anticipated restaurant openings this year is Common Lot, at 27 Main Street, Millburn (973-467-0494), which will be opening tomorrow, March 29, by Australian-born chef Ehren Ryan and his Austrian wife, Nadine.

This casual, fine-dining BYO restaurant takes the open-kitchen concept to a new level, providing views of the action from inside as well as out—the latter through large plate-glass, street-level windows.

Menu highlights include small plates of egg and crisps in a bag; roasted heirloom carrots with honey, cumin, yogurt and pumpkin seeds; salmon sashimi, pickled kohlrabi, crispy garlic and lime and chili dressing; and hasselback potato cooked in lamb fat with burrata and onion marmalade. Big plates include roasted bass fillet with cauliflower purée, Puy lentils, Madeira and truffle sauce; braised duck leg ragu with house-made gnocchi and preserved lemon ricotta; in house dry-aged rib eye with Brussels sprouts, chunky potato chips and mushroom ketchup and 12-hour braised lamb shoulder ‘san choy bow’ style, with iceberg lettuce, cashews, brown rice and soy caramel (for two).

Chef Ryan’s life and career has taken him from his native Australia to India, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Canada, the Channel Islands, Austria, England and now the U.S. The Common Lot menu reflects these global influences while sourcing the freshest ingredients available from nearby purveyors like Urbana Greens, Mosefund Farm and No. Six Depot Roastery and Cafe. His wife, Nadine, a cheese sommelier and expert in the art of tea-making, is a restaurant manager, who studied front-of-house restaurant management at the Hotel Management School in her native Austria.

Common Lot will seat 34 on the main level w/an additional 28 in the upstairs dining room. The restaurant will initially open for dinner Tuesday-Saturday. The Kitchen Pass is an exclusive four-seat counter directly overlooking the kitchen similar to a Chef’s table, where the diner purchases the seat for the evening and is served dishes of the chef’s choosing.

The Ryans worked closely with Short Hills design collective Studio 1200 on renovating the property to better represent town history. For example, the brick exterior was chosen to reflect the mills that are the origin of the town’s name, while blending in with nearby landmark buildings from the early-20th century.


The Mind of a Chef: A Conversation with Chef Ehren Ryan of Millburn’s Common Lot Restaurant

March 13, 2016 at 10:33 PM

MILLBURN, NJ – Opening a new restaurant is no simple task, particularly if it intends to cater to an educated fine dining audience. Though the competition for diners’ dollars in “the biz” is tough everywhere, it’s particularly risky for the fine dining establishment as the relative investment in construction, equipment, staff and ingredients is much higher than opening, say, a similarly sized diner…

Read the full article here: The Mind of a Chef


Chef Bryan Gregg is being joined by Chef Ehren Ryan of Common Lot, opening in February 2016 in Millburn, for a collaboration dinner being held at Escape on Wednesday January 13, 2016 at 7PM.

1st Course

Hirame / puffed rye / smoked apple – Chef Gregg

2nd Course

Celery root / chicken skin / pickled celery – Chef Ehren

3rd Course

Hapuka / sunchoke / mustard seeds / fish jus – Chef Ehren

4th Course

Venison / ash cooked beets / buttermilk bleu – Chef Gregg

5th Course

Sorghum spiced financier / malted vanilla ice cream / oat streusel crumbs – Chefs collaboration

The cost of the dinner is $59 per person plus tax and gratuity and is BYO to allow guests to bring special bottles. Wine Legend is able to make wine recommendations to complement the food, please call Wine Legend at (973) 992-4441 and reference the Escape Gregg/Ryan dinner.

Seating for this event is very limited.

Note that we have a strict 48-hour cancellation policy for this dinner. If a reservation is cancelled within 48 hours of the dinner or guests don’t attend, the full cost of the event will be charged.

WHEN: Wednesday, January 13, 2016 from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM (EST)
WHERE: Escape – 345 Bloomfield Avenue Montclair, NJ 07042


This Turkey Ramen is another smart and satisfying use for Thanksgiving leftovers. It comes to us from Common Lot in Millburn, NJ, a new globally inspired but locally focused restaurant from husband/wife duo Ehren and Nadine Ryan launching in early 2016.
Turkey Ramen
Common Lot, Millburn, NJTurkey Broth (Master Stock)Ingredients
· 1 turkey carcass
· 8 cups chicken stock
· 2 pods star anise
· 1 whole orange peel
· 2 cloves
· ½ bunch cilantro stalks
· 3.5 ounces shitake mushrooms
· 1 tsp. peppercorns
· 1/2 cup soy sauce
· 1/2 cup dry white wine
· 1/3 oz. sliced ginger

Pre-heat oven to 380F. Place leftover turkey carcass (picked of all its meat) into oven and roast till golden brown.
Place roasted carcass in a large heavy base pot and add all remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes to infuse broth. Cool in pot for about 30 minutes. Strain broth using sieve and discard the solids. This master stock may be kept in freezer for months. If running low, top up with fresh chicken stock and fresh herbs and spices. This stock gets better with age. The flavors intensify after each use. Can be used for poached chicken, braised pork belly and others. Just bring to boil before each use and remember to top up so you can use it again.

To make Ramen, you’ll need:

Leftover Turkey Meat
· Leftover Sweet Potatoes
· Kale (or another leafy green)
· Ramen noodles or two-minute noodles
· Sesame
· Cilantro leaves

Bring turkey broth to a boil. Place noodles, turkey meat, sweet potato and kale into four bowls and pour boiling turkey broth over all. Allow to sit for 2 to 3 minutes or until noodles are cooked. Finish with sesame and cilantro. (You can also add fresh Nori sheets and fresh chili to the garnish if you’d like.)


Common Lot is located on 27 Main Street Millburn, New Jersey, (at the corner of Main and Essex Streets). The closest public car parking lot is across the road from Common Lot, where the big clock is. We are a short 3 minute walk from Millburn Train Station from where you can catch a NJ Transit Train directly to / from New York Penn Station. The Train takes around 30 minutes. We are also a 5 minute walk from the renowned Paper Mill Playhouse.