JASON DENTON, Partner, ‘ino, ‘inoteca, ‘inoteca liquori and corsino cantina

Jason Denton owns and operates some of New York City‘s most successful restaurants. In 1998, armed with a simple panini press and only 400 square feet of space, Jason opened the diminutive but highly successful ‘ino, in New York City‘s West Village. Known for its robust Italian wine list and delicious menu, the award winning ‘ino has built a cult following and is often credited with creating the wine bar and panini craze here in the United States. Building off the success of ‘ino, Jason went on to open ‘inoteca, a truly authentic Italian enoteca with an award winning menu and wine list that serves up simple but sophisticated panini, anitpasti and small plates. In 1998 along with Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich, Jason partnered to open Lupa Osteria Romana where Denton was partner for over 10 years.

In February of 2009 Jason opened ‘inoteca e liquori bar, a second out -post of the original ‘inoteca, which features an expanded menu and an exciting cocktail program. Most recently, Jason opened corsino in the fall of 2009, a rustic Italian wine bar and restaurant in the West Village.

In 2008, Jason won the Star Chefs Rising Star Restaurateur of the Year award for New York City. Food & Wine, in their annual taste-maker awards, dubbed Denton an “Italian food emissary.” Jason has co-authored two cookbooks Simple Italian Sandwiches and Simple Italian Snacks through Harper Collins Publishers. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and sons, Jack and Finn, in New York City.

JOE DENTON, Partner, ‘inoteca and ‘inoteca liquori

Joe Denton has gained recognition for creating one of New York’s most loved wine bars, ‘inoteca. He is a natural host and brings a genuine understanding of people to the front-of-house, as well as his expertise and passion for Italian wines.

His interest in the food business began in his hometown of Twin Falls, Idaho, where he helped out at his parents’ grocery distribution company. Joe was also encouraged by his uncle, Harry Denton, an accomplished restaurant and nightclub owner in San Francisco. In 1990, Joe began his career in restaurants as a busboy in Stamos Café in Bellevue, Washington. He fondly remembers being thrilled when he received $8 tips.

In 1998, after spending several years snowboarding and building his interest in wine working at Plumpjack Restaurant in Lake Tahoe, Joe moved to New York City to help his brother, Jason, open ‘ino. The West Village wine, panini and bruschetta bar, the first of its kind, was an instant hit. While managing ‘ino, Joe developed a loyal fan base and primed himself for his future at ‘inoteca, which he opened with Jason and chef Eric Kleinman in 2003.

‘inoteca’s success is due to the fun, authentic Italian dining experience Joe helped create, as well as his smart, offbeat, 600-bottle wine list. The list, along with 30 wine-by-the-glass selections and exclusively imported ‘inoteca wines, is regarded as one of the top all-Italian wine programs in the country.

A newlywed, Joe lives with his wife Simone, and newborn son, Oliver in Manhattan.

ERIC KLEINMAN, Co-Chef/Owner, ‘inoteca and ‘inoteca liquori

Little did Eric Kleinman know that his high school job at Foot Locker would lead him to an executive chef position at a highly anticipated Italian restaurant. A New York City native, Kleinman was selling sneakers when he helped the owner of Wildlife, an Upper West Side bar and grill, pick out a pair. Solely based on Kleinman’s engaging demeanor, the restaurateur offered the teenager a job on the spot as a dishwasher and busboy.

After pursuing an engineering degree at Rochester Institute of Technology, Kleinman realized that he missed the restaurant industry. He moved back to New York City, and returned to Wildlife, where he developed a friendship with the chef that sparked his interest in cooking.

In 1994, Kleinman moved to San Francisco where he met his mentor, Gordon Drysdale, while working at the Café Museo at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Kleinman proceeded to hone basic cooking techniques working under Gordon for the next five years at his Bay area restaurants. He eventually took an opening sous chef position at Gordon’s House of Fine Eats.

Returning to New York City in 1999, Kleinman got in touch with Jason Denton, who he met through friends of Denton’s uncle, San Francisco restaurateur Harry Denton. Jason Denton offered Kleinman a sous chef position at Lupa Osteria shortly after it opened. After two years at Lupa, Kleinman partnered with Jason Denton and his brother Joe Denton in 2003 to open ‘inoteca on the Lower East Side. The restaurant was an instant success and continues to be popular five years later. At ‘inoteca, Kleinman prepares classic wine bar cuisine with a menu of simple and inspired Italian dishes.