Jack Morrison is the owner of Witherspoon Grill and Blue Point Grill restaurants, and Nassau Street Seafood & Produce Co. He is the driving force behind the Princeton Farmers Market, located in Hinds Plaza, and is set to open his third restaurant, the French-bistro-inspired Kristine’s—which will offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner—in late summer 2019.
“My wife, Debbie, and I moved to Princeton in 1981, from Millburn, New Jersey. She was working in New York City, and I was working for a seafood business outside of Philadelphia. I commuted back and forth to Pennsylvania. When I took the train, I’d hear, ‘Next stop, Princeton!’ We came down on weekends to check it out, and fell in love with the town. We found a fixer upper, so we dove in—and oh, what a dive! It took every bit of the 34 years we lived in that home to restore it, and we raised two beautiful children there.
Nassau Street Seafood Company opened in 1982. Our first day, we did $118 in sales—and my mom was $108 of it! Slowly, we developed a customer base which was largely made up of university professors, academic professionals, and [some of the area’s] storied families. They would routinely come to the market and stand by my cutting area while I opened oysters for them, which they would slurp down while giving me business advice. I realized my customers knew a lot more about seafood than I did; [many were] brought up on the fruits of the North Atlantic, so off I went to New York City. The Fulton Fish Market was another world at 2 a.m., full of colorful personalities, phenomenal seafood, and experiences that made me who I am today.
A few years ago, we sold our house in Princeton and moved to a place better suited for grandchildren, in Skillman. Living near Hopewell, we like Brick Farm Tavern for a cocktail, Antimo’s for Italian food, Blue Bottle Café, and Charlie at Sumo Sushi, in Pennington, is the real deal.
Princeton has certainly grown from the Lahiere’s and Annex days; we are extremely fortunate to have so many exceptional, focused professionals committed to serving the community above and beyond just a meal or a drink. The thousands of families, many of them local, we support through employment, training, and development makes an enormous impact on the Princeton culture. I really admire the people I’ve known here: family first, honest, hard-working, polite, fair, and always giving back to the community. I could name so many who share the same beliefs and probably don’t realize how much they’ve raised my bar along the way.” —As told to Jennifer P. Henderson (photographs by Dan Komoda; article originally appeared in Bricks & Mortar: Spring/Summer 2019)