New Restaurant: Panacea is coming to Amenia

Serevan, the restaurant in Amenia has been sold recently by Serge Madikians to new owners, Chef Jacob Somers and his fiancée Kendum Namgyal. The restaurant located along Route 44 West, is targeting an opening date in early July. Its new name is Panacea.

Leila Hawken

New Restaurant: Panacea is coming to Amenia

Residents of greater Amenia and a wide radius beyond have a penchant for world-class food served in country ambiance, a reason that Serevan, hosted by Chef Serge Madikians, became a destination for so many. In recent months, Madikians decided it was time to retire and the important restaurant closed.

Before long, new owners saw the potential and purchased the restaurant. So much about it was right. The new owners from Manhattan would open a new restaurant to be named “Panacea.”

The enthusiastic new owners are Chef Jacob Somers and his fiancée Khendum Namgyal. Pausing the hard work of preparing to open a restaurant, Somers took the time to provide some details on Wednesday, June 12, just days following the purchase. The couple will be married soon, and at that point, the two will co-own Panacea, Somers said.

One of Namgyal’s talents is fresh house-made pasta, although her duties will be varied, as needed to align with her talents.

The couple met in 2019, serving as chefs at Union Square Café, the landmark spot in Manhattan. Somers said that Namgyal will run the front-of-house operations in addition to kitchen work.

“In short, we’ll both be doing a lot of everything,” Somers said.

Eager to open, Somers said they are aware that this is peak season, both for diners and for garden-fresh produce. Namgyal has past tenure at Natoora, a Brooklyn-based distributor of seasonal produce from local farms directly to restaurants. Seasonality is a key word indicating that the freshest of ingredients will drive the menu.

Asked to categorize the Panacea cuisine, Somers resisted a broad label because the emphasis will be on seasonality.

“If I had to generalize, it would be ‘New-fare, eclectic, Americana Continental cuisine’,” Somers said, adding, “similar to Union Square Cafe.”

“I’ve been cooking professionally in NYC for around 14 years now,” Somers said. He began as a line cook at Clinton Street Baking Company on the Lower East Side and moved on to a few other spots before traveling to Alsace, France for an internship that was life changing.

Returning to Manhattan, he worked for Chef David Burke and then the Hudson Clearwater where he immersed in seasonality. From there he moved on to the Union Square Café, gaining lifelong friends, colleagues, and fellow chef, Khendum.

“I am so excited to become part of Amenia,” Somers said, having first visited the area in late October and been drawn to it. Then he saw the Serevan property in Amenia.

“My jaw dropped,” Somers said. “It looked so similar to my Alsace experience. I knew from the moment I laid my eyes on the property that I had to make it a reality.”

Clearly, there is a love story embedded, as Somers said, love of cooking well, love of the setting, and the love he has for Khendum, all coming together in Panacea.

On to the present, Somers reported that he and Khendum are unpacking, repairing and getting ready to open Panacea’s doors to diners, probably in July, maybe by July 4.

Somers was delighted to report phone calls from people already seeking reservations but they are not quite ready yet.

The property was listed for $890,000 and sold on June 6 for $800,000. Listed for sale in July of 2023 according to First Key MLS. 7 acres with restaurant equipment and 2,645 square foot building.

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