Hop a train in Penn Station, New York City and get off in just a few stops for lunch or dinner at De Novo in Upper Montclair, New Jersey. It’s in the renovated train station!
Once in the station/restaurant you will be greeted by the warmth of Demetri Malki’s sunshine smile. De Novo is his latest love and canvas for his artistry as a restaurateur highly skilled in all aspects of the restaurant business.
Demetri’s passion for food and his love of people are inseparable.
De Novo is Demetri’s third restaurant. He started his first, Demetri’s, when he was just twenty-six years old and it’s here he earned his confidence and the confidence of his clientele. After four and a half years, he began Table 8 and ran this restaurant for almost six years in addition to getting married and starting a family. His desire to take a little time off to be with his wife and two children (Niko born in October 2016) prompted a four year “retirement” in 2010 to not only be with family, but to build a beautiful home in Westfield.
Demetri created his next restaurant opportunity in the summer of 2014 in Upper Montclair’s old train station and De Novo was born — the joint’s been jumping every since.
Under a very unique chandelier of crystals and utensils near the bar and with the hum of a full restaurant, we began our conversation.
SUZE BIENAIMEE: Demetri Malki, De Novo is a delicious delight. What inspires you?
DEMETRI MALKI: My kids are my driving force; I want to give them a better life than I had as a child. They are my inspiration to get up everyday to do what I do. Then once I’m here at De Novo, I love it. It’s my drug, but that initial getting up and going in the morning, my kids are my kickstart.
De Novo is about making people happy. What better satisfaction could I ask for? When I go to work, my friends are my customers and my customers become friends. They come to see me, have a bite to eat. When they’re happy, it makes me happy.
I walk through the restaurant and talk to my friends, but then I also get the problem people, just like I get happy people, but thank God, I don’t have many problems at all.
Cooking is also my passion.
Food is all about bringing people together with the love of food, sharing stories, creating relationships. Food makes my job so pleasant. There is a lot of love in the food and a lot of love in the dining room.
That’s why our customers keep coming back.
SUZE BIENAIMEE: Demetri, thank you for your time and inspiration. You are definitely the “Restaurateur of Happy and Delicious”.
Please connect with Demetri Malki in the COMMENTS section for this post.
275 Bellevue Avenue
New Jersey 07043
Upper Montclair Train Station
Be sure to make a reservation.
Demetri Malki, Owner/Culinary Director
Adolfo Marisi, Chef from Florence, Italy
De Novo’s food is “fun, fresh and forged”
American, Italian, European cuisine
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Demetri Malki, Restaurateur of Happy and Delicious StudioSeeds Inspire By Suze Bienaimee