ANI / Fascino Montclair Collab: Third In Series Of Culinary Exchanges Between Two Top NJ Chefs

Montclair, NJ – March 2023 – Chef AJ Capella, Corporate Chef of Montclair Hospitality Group (MHG), the originators of the Ani Ramen brand, conceived a delicious and popular exchange program built upon his relationships with leading New Jersey chefs: a series which is about to embark on its third variation.

AJ and his restaurateur colleagues each create a dish, available only for a limited time, in which their trademark style is adapted to each other’s restaurant. This program has seized the imaginations of the chefs and brought new excitement and flavor to each restaurant’s guests, while confirming MHG’s mission as a chef-driven hospitality company.

For the collab commencing in April, Chef AJ has partnered with renowned Chef Ryan DePersio, owner of Kitchen Step and Batello (Jersey City), and Fascino in Montclair. For the Montclair location of ANI, Chef Ryan has created Amalfi Shrimp Toast (sesame shrimp toast with sambal dip); down the block at Fascino, the menu will include Chef AJ’s Beef Tataki (with Parmigiano Reggiano, Tomato, Scallion).

Earlier, South + Pine Chef/Owner Leia Gaccione created Buttermilk Fried Chicken Bao for Summit ANI, and Chef AJ made a Roasted Local Pork Belly. Next, Jamie Knott, Chef/Owner of several restaurants including the new Madame in Jersey City, offered a Fire Beef Bao at ANI JC; for Madame, Chef AJ brought Local Fluke Crudo to the menu. Each of these collabs were held over due to their popularity, and guests may expect the same at ANI Montclair and Fascino.Chefs Capella and DePersio have gained renown throughout their New Jersey-centric careers and are equally committed to serving the best of locally sourced ingredients. Like the two prior collabs, this exciting project has resulted in two exceptional dishes born from a friendly camaraderie and mutual encouragement; guests will find more of these ANI-based collabs on the menu in the future.

About Chef Ryan DePersio:
A graduate of New York Restaurant School, trained in NYC (Jean-Georges), Paris and Florence, Ryan opened family-owned and staffed Fascino at age 25 and received an “Excellent” rating from the NY Times, who raved that he was “born to run a restaurant”--or more than one: in 2015 he opened seafood- focused Batello in Jersey City, on the Hudson River, and in 2016, in downtown Jersey City he opened Kitchen Step, featuring modern American food, locally sourced. Ryan is also busy preparing to open Tilling House in Eatontown later this year, and next year, Ember & Eagle, also in Eatontown

About Chef AJ Capella:
A Culinary Institute of America grad, AJ’s career has led him to prominence in the teams at The Ryland Inn, Uproot, The Aviary at Columbus Circle, A Toute Heure and Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen. AJ is deeply involved in mentoring aspiring chefs and creating unique pop-ups and charity dinners such as open-flame cooking at Ironbound Cider. He’s proud to be a part of Montclair Hospitality Group, with the recent ANI
opening in Princeton, and more projects to come.

Ani Ramen House
511 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair NJ 07042
/ / @aniramen
Lunch: 11:30am-3pm / Dinner: Sun-Thurs 4pm-10pm, Fri-Sat til 11pm

331 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair NJ 07042
973-233-0350 / / @fascino_restaurant
Dinner: Wed-Thurs 5pm-9pm, Fri-Sat til 10pm, Sunday 4pm-8pm

ANI, a brand founded by Montclair Hospitality Group (MHG, a chef-driven, global hospitality company), is a group of popular and critically acclaimed Japanese ramen restaurants in New Jersey and New York. In addition to the newest location which opened in Princeton in January 2023, other ANIs include Montclair (est. 2014), Jersey City (est. 2017), JC Harbourside (est. 2019), Summit (est. 2019), Maplewood (est. 2019), Cranford (est. 2020), Brookfield Place, Manhattan and Larchmont (est. 2022) ANI is known for signature Japanese ramen made with custom-made noodles from Sun Noodle as well as other Japanese Izakaya items: bao buns, don buri bowls and more. Lunch and dinner are served daily, and all locations are BYOB except for Jersey City, New Brunswick, and New York, which offer cocktails, beer, sake and other Japanese spirits. In 2021, MHG introduced the Mochinut concept to New Jersey locations, including Princeton, which has a Mochinut kiosk adjacent to ANI serving rice flour doughnuts, boba tea, and rice flour corndogs. Ani Ramen’s annual ramen-eating contest happens in October around National Noodle Day. Other MHG brands include pastaRAMEN and Kai Yang.

Montclair Hospitality Group (MHG), founded by Luck Sarabhayavanija in 2014, is a chef driven, global hospitality company focused on curating the world's leading dining concepts, restaurant brands and critically acclaimed culinary experiences. MHG currently boasts popular restaurant brands including Ani Ramen House, Mochinut, pastaRAMEN (by James Beard nominated Chef Robbie Felice) and Kai Yang. Having recently appointed Joey Simons as CEO, and with Simons building a newly expanded leadership team, MHG has assembled a group encompassing a who's who of the culinary world. New restaurant concepts in the works include collaborations with some of the world's most renowned chefs including a new global dining concept with
famed Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto and MM Management LLC.

Working to disrupt the food and beverage industry, the MHG team creates high-touch brand experiences that are rooted in service and design to transport guests on a unique culinary journey and to places both familiar and extraordinary. MHG currently operates in New York, New Jersey, California, Miami and with plans for expansion with new concepts in Boston, Massachusetts, Las Vegas, Nevada and Bellevue, Washington. For more information visit:

Photo Caption: Chef AJ Cappella and Chef Ryan DePersio

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