A Committed History

In 2008, during the midst of the worst financial climate in generations, Jerry Rotunno got his break by finding a financial partner, Tony Monteiro, through a craigslist ad. Tony, an Elizabeth native and seasoned restaurant owner, investor, politician, and accountant took a chance on Jerry’s outrages ideas and can-do attitude. This twist of fate turned out to be kismet, and the start of a very long and prosperous relationship for the both of them.

Then, in 2009, the team opened their first restaurant, “food.” in Summit, NJ. The instant success focused on contemporary comfort food, highlighting gourmet burgers and an á la carte brunch. While many restaurants focused on local ingredients, Jerry only wanted the best of the best, no matter the distance. After begging the famous Pat LaFreida to deliver his product to NJ, “food.” became the first restaurant in the state to serve the expertly-prepared chop meat. Similarly, after experiencing the best cup of coffee he’d ever had, Jerry would not rest until a deal was struck with Allann Bros to have their product flown in all the way from Oregon.

“food.” seemed to be just what the beat-up market of the time needed. To what did Jerry attribute the overnight success of this particular restaurant in such a harsh economy? He summed it up by stating how, “in these hard times, people just needed some comfort, a culinary hug if you will.”

Restaurants number two (Manasquan) and three (Morristown), were the realization of Jerry’s infamous concept, “The Committed Pig.” Taking another risk, Tony laid down the cash and decided to jump right in. With Jerry out front and Tony managing the finances, “The Committed Pig” was born.

Although “food.” was very successful, Jerry and Tony could not have predicted the explosive popularity of what they nicknamed, “The Pig.” With waits creeping over two hours almost immediately after opening, they knew they were on to a true winner. The New York Times says “Mr. Rotunno has the right idea… there is a good chance you may be waiting in line for brunch at one near you soon.”

After much thought, Jerry and Tony decided to convert “food.” into a “Committed Pig” in February of 2016. “It’s never comfortable shutting down something that is working and making money. We were just looking for the power that multi-unit locations could provide,” explained Jerry. Fortunately, the Summit location took off and thrived, surpassing sales tenfold. It was around that time Jerry and Tony truly understood the power of the brand.

Through The Committed Pig, Jerry and his team have earned some pretty impressive bragging rights, including, but not limited to:

  • One of the top 3 burgers in NJ from NJ.com
  • One of the top 3 burgers overall in Health and Life Magazine
  • One of N.J.’s 25 best restaurants and dishes of 2015 on NJ.com
  • One of New Theory’s top 5 All-American Restaurants in New Jersey
  • One of the Thrillist’s top 18 Best Restaurants in New Jersey
  • Noted as a favorite place to eat by the New York Jets (With Eli Manning making regular appearances)

…just to name a few…

Restaurants number 2 and 3 in Manasquan and Morristown respectively, were the realization of Jerry’s infamous concept, The Committed Pig. And although “food.” was very successful, Rotunno could not have predicted the explosive popularity of ‘The Pig’. With waits creeping over 2 hours almost immediately, he knew he was on to a true winner. The New York Times says “Mr. Rotunno has the right idea… there is a good chance you may be waiting in line for brunch at one near you soon.”

After much thought, Jerry and his business partner decided to convert “food.” to a Committed Pig in February of 2016.

“It’s never comfortable shutting down something that is working and making money. We were just looking for the power that multi-unit locations could provide,” says Rotunno.

Yet as he watched, the Summit location took off and thrived, surpassing sales 10-fold. It was around that time Jerry truly understood the power of the brand he had created.