After years of traveling for work, Renee Dorski planted her roots back in New Jersey and opened up Jus, a local Atlantic Highlands healthy eatery.
Originally from southern New Jersey, Renee and her family packed up and moved across the river from Brooklyn about 5 years ago. Motherhood can make us do crazy things
–like a move to the suburbs even after years of being so perfectly comfortable with city life. Still, Renee was unsure of her family’s decision on the closeby geographically but very far away from what she was used to.
I have two girls — one who is 8, and the other is 4. When we moved here 5 years ago–I feel like if I didn’t open this, we were on the way to move back. I’ve got this cute house, we live in this great neighborhood but it was still missing for one, a place of gathering in town.
And so came Jus. Open-concept cafe with healthy vegetarian eats and delicious lattes (try the Tumeric, mmm!) Renee considered all of the angles when opening up–family style bench seating, a little nook for kids to draw and play in while their parents get some work done (or just relax… we need that, too!) It’s the perfect addition to the sleepy, beautiful town of Atlantic Highlands.
We sat down with Renee to discuss goals, her kids’ place in the restaurant and how to stay inspired in a sea of kids’ toys.
You were a model, a masseuse, an accessory designer–where and how did food come in? Who influenced that side of you?
(Food was) always at my center. I grew up with a single father, had a very close relationship with my grandparents. My grandma was the one who planted that seed in me. I spent a lot of time with her–I remember sitting on the counter as she was humming songs and I’d peel the garlic. I was always really involved with her cooking.
What would your advice be to mothers who are trying to start a business?
Advice would be for more mamas to gather, give support to each and that starts to fuel your creativity and confidence again. Because it does take a village.
How did your professional life change after having your first daughter?
My career before my kids was–I was a massage therapist–and then I had my daughter, and something shifted in me. And I didn’t want to do it anymore. I didn’t want to take care of other people in that way anymore.
On the pressures of being a woman…
As women now, we have this expectation now to be beautiful, young, and now we have to be a professional and be a mother and you know–my whole house is a mess. Now I have this restaurant, and… you know, sometimes things just don’t get done.