Union Republic

24 Apr 2014, Posted by JCVillage in Spotlights

Union Republic, 340 Third St., one of the newest additions to the Village neighborhood, is a little wonder that owners Noah Sexton and chef Greg Torrech, 33 and 35, say has multiple functions.

“Union Republic is a grocer, it’s a cafe, it’s a playground for food,” said Sexton. “We are able to incorporate the work of so many people who are passionate about their individual crafts under one roof. I don’t know of any other establishment where else can you can eat Sun Noodles and have La Colombe Torrefaction espresso.”

Their new business venture, which opened November 2013, came more than a year after the short-lived glory of their previous restaurant, Modern American Eatery in Bergen-Lafayette, which opened in April 2012 to great response only to close in September that year due to business disputes. This time, while the duo is maintaining their passion and commitment for service, they’re trying a few new things.

“Our first inspiration for Union Republic came after meeting David Barry and Michael Darata at what was at the time a unfinished space on the ground floor of 340 Third Street. They explained their vision for URL (Urban Ready Living) which was nearing completion directly above the space,” said Sexton, noting that Torrech actually lives in URL above the restaurant.

“We were a little intimidated, this was the big leagues and we knew we needed to hit it out of the ball-park,” continued Sexton. “From an aesthetic standpoint we wanted the restaurant to be modern yet inviting and the food needed to be relatable while pushing and testing some limits.”

The result is an American restaurant that incorporates various dishes, including a full line of specialty ramen dishes from “A Hen Full,” which has soft egg, chicken meatballs, dashi and shoyu broth, to “Nose to Tail,” which has pork heart, belly and tonkatsu broth. They even have a “Yes Ve-gan!” dish with rice noodles and market vegetables.

“We are at the end of the day an American restaurant but what defines that changes as we experience new and different things, we must never become stagnant,” said Sexton.

Working with neighborhood businesses and residents is also important to them, he adds.

Torrech says the best part about living in the Village is “the feeling of the great changes that are happening while the area maintains local independent businesses. With all of the development and changes taking place its great to still have an old-school baker just across the street!”

That bakery, Pecoraro’s, is just one of the local small businesses Union Republic helps support, said Sexton.


“Our business goal is to continue to provide a gathering place for each community we serve and to support local businesses wherever possible, whether it’s baguettes we get from Pecoraro’s across the street, our bagels from Wonder Bagel, our green wall (which) would not have happened without George from Bouquets and Baskets–and without Mezbah’s local lamb, there would be a rib shaped hole in our…ribs,” he said.

“What we like most about doing business in the Village is hands down the people and the daily interactions with guests and other business owners. There is a true sense of community here and people look out for one another,” said Sexton. “It’s a great place to be and we are so excited to be part of it.”

Union Republic is located at 340 Third St. For more information, visit UnionRepublic.com or call 201-279-5094.

Village Business Spotlight: For over 100 years, small businesses have played a vital role in shaping the Village. The Village Neighborhood Association is committed to bringing awareness and support to those businesses that embrace the long-standing values and enduring community spirit of our neighborhood.

Photography by Mike McNamara