Java Garden to host outdoor music

Posted on Friday, April 11, 2014 at 1:06 pm

Java Garden, located on the corner of Henry and West Main Streets in downtown Morristown, will kick off its live outdoor music season at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, April 12, with guitarist Justin Duncan.

Java Garden, located on the corner of Henry and West Main Streets in downtown Morristown, will kick off its live outdoor music season at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, April 12, with guitarist Justin Duncan.

Java Garden owner Ernie Allen is keeping his promise, and in return, the weather is cooperating to bring an evening of outdoor music to downtown Morristown on Saturday.

Guitarist Justin Duncan will perform a variety of music, including blues, rock and traditional country, beginning at 6:30 p.m. April 12.

“We’ve got a forecast of zero percent rain,” Allen said.

Allen purchased the coffee house and eatery in late 2013 and cited the patio dining area as a major asset of the business. In a January Tribune article, Allen said he planned to bring in live music on a regular basis to encourage more after-hours traffic to the downtown area.

Duncan will open the 2014 season that will continue throughout the summer. Initially, music will be offered on Saturday nights; if there is good community response, the series may be extended to Friday nights as well.

“We really hope the community will show some love to these musicians — it’s good for Morristown if we can build the kind of place where they will want to play,” Allen said. “We want to have fun. It would be fantastic to get good crowds. We want to offer more entertainment at night for people in Morristown.”

Java Garden will open at 9 a.m. Saturday and remain open until 10 p.m.

“We’ll stop cooking around 9:30,” Allen said.

Manager April Molzon will use the opportunity to debut new menu items, including a Farm to Plate special that features fresh items from local growers. Kitchen trials will take place today — “She’s been really excited about this,” Allen said.

“We will also feature chicken pasta dishes with marinara and pesto sauces, including our ‘Pregnant Pasta,’ Allen said. “April came up with the dish while she was pregnant.”

New appetizers will be showcased, including Double Tomato Bruschetta, a shrimp cocktail and hummus served with a new type of bread.

“It is a thicker and doughier Pita-like bread that you pull apart and spread with the humus,” Allen sad.

Night-time desserts will include Chocolate Lava cake and cheesecake.

Built on the site of the former Princess Theater, Java Garden is a unique space in the downtown area. The one-story restaurant is nestled among the multi-storied historical buildings, creating a hideaway effect. The large outdoor space includes the ivy covered wall of the adjacent building, along with a large vine covered trellis, trees, small lawn area and ground plantings.

Allen has added cheerful table umbrellas, along with 12 new chairs to the patio, and is adding more river rock along the vine-covered wall today.

He intentionally kept the original Java Garden menu, along with its general layout.

“We like the vibe,” Allen said in January. “Customers feel free to come in and stay for a while. They appreciate the comfortable chairs in the lounge area; they bring in their laptops to work or a book to read — and, yes, people still bring in real books.”

Allen’s intention is to work closely with the Crossroads Downtown Partnership in its endeavors to attract more visitors to the downtown area, including staying open later during community events.

With the growth of downtown residents and other businesses leaving their lights on after normal business hours, the trend toward keeping downtown Morristown open at night could be long-term.

Java Garden is located at the corner of Henry and West Main Streets. For more information, call 423-587-1030 or search for Java Garden on Facebook.

-By Glenna Howington, Tribune Staff Writer

Headlines of the Day