Hudson Valley native chef John Vargo is excited to return to his roots. Now that the daily constraints of running a popular restaurant are gone, expect to see his name on many collaborative culinary events near you.
Gadaleto's Seafood Market and Restaurant:
As executive chef at Gadaleto's Seafood in New Paltz NY, John was a pioneer of the “market to table” concept whereby he brought the entire fish market to restaurant patrons via a dynamic menu. The menu, hand drawn in blue and red Bic pen by Hudson Valley artist Jesse Towey, was a masterpiece of art and function. By putting the entire fish market on the menu, customers were able to understand that this concept was very different from traditional seafood restaurants. This set Gadaleto's far ahead of the competition in terms of perceived value and quality. The menu was only the beginning of John's influence on the Gadaleto brand. With John's guidance, Gadaleto's became world famous by garnering a Guinness World Record for the largest ever serving of fish and chips. His team of fry cooks took the title away from a pub in England which caught the attention of BBC News. “Why don't you create the worlds largest burger?” the reporter asked, in an obvious attempt to derail his effort to rob the country of their national dish. Not fazed by this request, John and his “Team USA” took the record, making Gadaleto's the “Home of the worlds largest fish and chips”. This was an incredible marketing tool that helped boost sales at the small 50 seat eatery to nearly 1 million annually.
As the Gadaleto brand gained momentum, John saw an opportunity to capitalize on the success. He created a sub-concept by offering free live music 7 days per week at the restaurant. The "All American Fish House and Bandstand" was introduced as an innovative program that created the impetus to make live music profitable by sharing the cost with patrons via a gratuity card that accompanied customer's guest check. By rotating acts on a bi-monthly basis, his patrons never got bored by the conventional “house band” model that most establishments employ.
Hudson Valley Seafood:
John is currently working with the fish mongers of Hudson Valley Seafood in Central Valley NY to provide culinary expertise in this wholesale and retail market just outside NYC. HVS is the proprietary distributor of John's Line Caught NY iniative.