Congratulations to the winner of the Spotlight Auction for Dinner at Otto’s. Your generous support of the Library is greatly appreciated. Enjoy the special night at Otto’s!
At the intersection of Piermont Avenue and Ash Street sits a sight that is both familiar and new. Otto’s Full Service is an American cuisine restaurant and bar, inspired by the building’s history as Gerhardt’s Automotive Repair. After 85 years of operation, David Gerhardt closed his beloved auto shop that had been a staple in our village. What he may not have counted on was that the new owners, David and Jill Kaliff, actually loved the property in its authentic state, and have since sought to preserve and enhance its original character. The end result is a new life for an old building, one that “elevates the humble,” in Jill’s own words.
When David and Jill first bought the property in 2018, they originally intended for it to be the corporate headquarters for David’s technology consulting business, Xyster Consulting. But then the pandemic hit in 2020, and the concept of the workplace shifted overnight. David and Jill knew the building had to change, and turning it into a restaurant was an opportunity for them to try something new. They were introduced to Phil Iannuccilli from the Greenwich Country Club who joined the team as executive chef. With Jill as the interior designer, Phil as kitchen designer and David as the general contractor overseeing a close-knit team of workers, they underwent a complete renovation within nine months to open the restaurant in August of 2022.
Jill chose the original, distinctive, neon clock (which still hangs in the window) as the jumping-off point for the design of the new space. After peeling off all the layers that had been added throughout the years, they painstakingly restored the original architectural details, such as the art deco moulding that curves around the roof and the beautiful wood ceiling beams that had been hidden behind acoustic ceiling tiles. Jill also reused vintage items such as her grandfather’s reupholstered couch, but added bold, poppy accents from the clock’s color palette to create a unique space that is both modern and retro. She sought to not only preserve the history of the building, but also to pay homage to the village’s role in military history. Piermont was known as “Last Stop USA” during World War II, so for Jill, it was important “to reflect how this building witnessed so much of our nation’s history.” David and Jill chose to name their new restaurant after Otto Gerhardt, the mechanic whose family had owned the building since 1938.
In transforming the village auto shop into a restaurant, David and Jill are not only honoring the building’s history, but they are also coming full circle with their own past. Both David’s and Jill’s first jobs were in the restaurant industry — David began washing dishes in a Chinese restaurant where he worked his way up the ladder and became part owner in two Chinese restaurants in New York City, and Jill was the hostess at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans, serving under Executive Chef Emeril Lagasse. Their vision for Otto’s, supported by Chef Phil’s diverse and delicious menu, was to create a place where they themselves would want to go — a place that brings people together as a community. Otto’s is a testament to David and Jill’s love of Piermont and its history. We invite you to come inside and experience an appreciation of the past in a refreshing new way.
Support the Piermont Library by bidding on this unique dining experience offered by Otto’s:
- A 3-course meal for 4 guests
- 2 bottles of wine (chef’s pairing choice)
- Special seating at the chef’s table in the Bay Dining Room
- The opportunity to meet owners David and Jill Kaliff
Valued at $500
Bidding starts at $200
*Note: Gratuity not included
To bid on the item up for auction, click here