There are no questions about the dress code at Denim, a new restaurant in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
Located in a colonial farm house built in the 1850s, the newly opened restaurant owned by chef and restaurant consultant David Murray serves up American classics in a dining room that pays homage to another American classic—blue jeans.
Denim—the fabric—Murray said, encapsulates the approachable, relaxed and comfortable feeling he and his wife Stacey wanted to create in their dining room.
“We thought about how the name ‘Denim’ could make sense for a restaurant,” he said.
Walls are painted a fresh shade of washed down indigo. Table tops are adorned with denim floral arrangements and denim pumpkins decorate for fall.
And the artwork, including pieces by denim artist Ian Berry, are a visual timeline of key denim moments in pop culture. Diners are greeted with images of local hero Bruce Springsteen wearing jeans, as well as James Dean, Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake.
The restaurant has also partnered with Teens For Jeans, a non-profit organization that distributes jeans to homeless youth, to collect unwanted jeans. Diners who drop-off a pair of donated jeans receive a free dessert with their prix-fixe meal.
Whereas most other restaurants in the area call for “slacks and a button-down shirt,” Murray says Denim customers are welcome to wear jeans and a baseball cap.
“Everyone wants that one neighborhood hood spot they can go to,” he said.
The goal, he said, is to create a new dining experience for the millennial-age population in the area. Even the staff are encouraged to wear their white shirts untucked with jeans and a denim apron.
While the environment is laid back, Murray says the menu is top-notch. The American bistro serves up elevated American dishes with a European twist, like handmade lobster ravioli and American Kobe beef burgers.
The kitchen staff is small—just three cooks and chefs—but they maintain a high level of passion for the culinary arts, which Murray says customers recognize.
And once again, denim is proving to be ageless. Denim’s clientele spans diners in their 20s to locals in their 70s.
“If you were to do a demographic study of the area, you would say that I’m nuts. That a concept like Denim would work better in Philadelphia or New York City,” Murray said. “But we’re proving people wrong.”