Rising Star Restaurateur Jason Denton of 'ino, café / bar - Biography

New York, NY

November 2011

After leaving his home of Twin Falls, Idaho at 18, Jason Denton set out for California to learn the restaurant business from his uncle, nightlife impresario Harry Denton of Harry Denton's in San Francisco. Under the tutelage of his uncle and general manager David O'Malley, Denton absorbed both the business and entertainment facets of being a restaurateur. He furthered his epicurean education by working for two years at renowned wine shop retailer, California Wine Merchants.

After touring Europe for seven months, Denton moved to New York City and worked in the kitchen of Casanis and as a server and manager at Po, where he met his future partner, Mario Batali. In November 1998 Jason and his wife Jennifer, inspired by a panini bar they visited in Monterossa in Cinque Terre, Italy, opened 'ino, a tiny panini bar and bruschetteria in the West Village with an unusual wine selection and warm atmosphere

In October 1999 Denton partnered with Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich, and chef Mark Ladner to open Lupa Osteria Romana, a trattoria specializing in both new and classic interpretations of the foods of Rome. Denton teamed up with Mario, Joe and Mark a second time to open Otto Enoteca Pizzeria in January 2003. In July 2003, Denton and his brother Joe Denton opened 'inoteca, a larger but still casual Italian café on the Lower East Side, with chef Eric Kleinman. 'Inoteca's menu is inspired by classic Italian wine bar fare, and every region of Italy is represented on its wine list. 'Inoteca was included in Gourmet's 2004 round-up of "America's Best Restaurants," and Denton was featured in Food & Wine as one of “The 35 most fearsome talents in wine and food, 35 years old or under.”

In 2006 the 'ino cookbook, Simple Italian Sandwiches, was released by Harper Collins, and in 2008 Denton’s Bar Milano opened to much success. While still a neighborhood-style restaurant, Bar Milano, run by chef Steve Connaughton of ‘inoteca, upped the ante with a sleek space and a more formal menu. His latest project, Corsino, is a rustic wine bar in that opened in 2009 in the West Village.