Preparing for Autumn with Chef Michael LaCorte

There’s something comforting about being seated in a historic booth surrounded by carvings of diner’s past, anticipating a rich and savory meal. When enjoying your Butternut Squash Risotto, you feel the nostalgia and wonder about the mastermind behind your warm and tasty dish. A chef’s journey is one filled with selfless time, energy and love, ultimately to provide you with scrumptious food to nurture your mind, body, and soul.

Yankee Doodle Tap Room

You may wonder, how does a chef become a chef? Some say destiny, some believe in luck and happenstance. For Michael LaCorte, it was a mix of both. He worked at a hospital during high school, but with a twist of fate, his friend encouraged him take a job at a local Italian restaurant. This opportunity, along with the generous mentorship from the restaurant owner, gave him the push towards becoming a chef – and never looking back.

Nassau Inn

Nassau Inn

Fast forward to 2016 – Michael’s fourth year as our Executive Chef. The new fall menu is on the horizon, and we were given a chance to interview him about the creative process behind his menu development. When putting the fall menu items together, there were important considerations to be made. Michael believes in tradition, locality, and seasonality.

  • Tradition: Our piping hot, flaky and creamy Nassau Inn Chicken Pot Pie is the ultimate comfort food for the soul. It tastes like home and has been a guest favorite for countless years. The braised short ribs, with its succulent taste and fall-off-the-bone texture, is another long-standing tradition. Indulging in a traditional meal is very soothing after a long day. You can always depend on the Yankee Doodle Tap Room to have comfort food that will put you at ease and fill your heart with delight!

Yankee Doodle Tap Room

  • Locality: It’s important to get ingredients from the best, local places available. Just try the Apple Orchard Salad and you can taste the freshness of deliciously sweet and crisp local apples. Michael personally loves cheese, especially during autumn days. The gourmet cheese shop here in Palmer Square, Olsson’s Fine Foods, is a favorite source.

Yankee Doodle Tap Room

  • Seasonality: With auburn leaves outside and darker autumn evenings, we could use something warm, spicy and cheesy – Fiery Black Iron Chili with Wisconsin cheddar and our House Smoked Pork Chop are especially delicious this time of the year. We only use fruits and vegetables at their peak – just try our Sugar Beet & Bleu Cheese Salad, Roasted Pear Salad or Cauliflower Fritters all of which are busting with flavor. Don’t forget to leave room for dessert. If you’re in a dreamy mood, go for the mason jar Pumpkin Pie, always a crowd pleaser Crème Brûlée with spiced pumpkin or Warm Apple Cobbler, all the perfect ending to your night!

Yankee Doodle Tap Room

Autumn menu planning is an exciting mixture of divergent and convergent thinking. Michael and the chefs collaborate on creative ideas, and then finalize their plans. Before the menu is released, there’s a tasting at the Yankee Doodle Tap Room. All the new dishes are laid out on a big table for everyone to feast on. We can’t wait to try them and share the experience with you!

About the AuthorLily Lee is the Marketing Assistant at the historical Nassau Inn. She graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in Communications, minor in Digital Information & Media, and a passion for English and creative writing.

Our Tap Room Favorites

Our resident Monday morning Tap Room crew explained their best staff moments.

159NITP-390NITPLR-151Jules, who has been working in our Tap Room for 7 years, states, “Each day brings a new challenge.” She is willing to take these challenges head on – because as a Tap Room server, you are not just a server — you are a concierge, a guide, and more. Jules explains, “Sometimes the hardest part is playing all the roles.” After all, you really have to anticipate the guest’s needs to ensure a memorable experience. “It is always nice to have those regulars come in because you are able to form a relationship with them. And then it becomes more than just eating a meal. It becomes an entire experience, which is what we want for any guest,” Jules stated.

If you’re coming to the Tap Room for breakfast, Jules recommends trying our delicious Eggs Benedict or our amazing Pecan Pancakes.

Dana, one of our newer servers has been a Tap Room staff for ten months now, but has definitely made her mark. She believes that since the beginning, it had been easy to sell the food because it is so delicious. If feels like a family here instead of a business because of how everyone supports each other. She states, “One of my favorite parts of having new guests come into the Tap Room is explaining the history, because that’s what makes our restaurant stand out from all the others in downtown Princeton.” Dana also likes how you never know who you might run into – it could be a musician, business owner, or celebrity, because the population is so diverse.

If you’re coming to the Tap Room for lunch or dinner, Dana recommends you try our Princetonian Burger. You can pair it with any of our 19 beers on draft. The best time to come in and eat it around 12PM every day.

The Tap Room staff feel at home here, and they appreciate the cooperation between different departments to make your experience great.

So come join our staff for breakfast, lunch, or even a drink on the outdoor patio. We can’t wait to see you!

About the Author: Brandon DeChirico spent the summer interning at the Nassau Inn. He is a student at Widener University studying hospitality.

Edited by Lily Lee

A Seasonal Guide for Princeton Travel

Princeton welcomes you any time of the year. When coming to visit us here in Princeton, know what to expect depending on the season!


If you’re coming during the autumn, expect green, auburn, and yellow crisp leaves scattered across the grass and sidewalks. Pack layers of clothing so you can enjoy the scenery outside without being bothered by the cool gushes of wind. During this season, try the Pumpkin Spiced Café at the Yankee Doodle Tap Room for freshly brewed coffee with pumpkin spice, cinnamon and whipped cream.

NITPLR-25275dbcef064f8137cae44c553a78e7431                                                              Image source

When winter is here, make sure to keep warm under a big coat. Occasionally, the snow may drizzle. It’s the perfect weather to wear knit hats, mittens and hold hands while staring into the effervescent lights spread jubilantly around Princeton. Join in on the holiday cheer at Palmer Square, where you are sure to bump into carolers or even the big man himself!

Winter Wonderland - outsideSpring is cherry blossom season. Many trees are in bloom here. You don’t want to miss out on the flower filled tree lined streets. Take a walk around the University, Cherry Valley Road, and Washington Ave. This is a good time to bring out the capris, cardigans, blazers, and light jackets for the evenings. Cherry-Blossoms1

Image source

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby


The moment summer arrives is when Princeton feels particularly like an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. In his novel, This Side of Paradise, his writing exemplifies the beauty of Princeton and the special place he had for it in his heart, not failing to mention the Nassau Inn! Summer is time to begin again—so strip away from all the layers, and pack light clothing.

Happy travels!

About the Author: Lily Lee is the Marketing Assistant at the historical Nassau Inn. She graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in Communications, minor in Digital Information & Media, and a passion for English and creative writing.

6 Reasons to Book Your Winter Wedding at the Nassau Inn

Winter wedding 2

Spring and summer weddings get a lot of love, but there’s nothing more heart-warming and wonderfully romantic than the beauty and magic of a winter wedding here at the Nassau Inn. Our inviting atmosphere, vibrant festive feel, and year-round charm are just a few great reasons why the colder months have become more popular than ever with our brides.

If you’re considering a winter wedding in the heart of downtown Princeton, allow us to further illustrate why the Nassau Inn is the perfect frame for your winter wedding dream.

Save Money

Our spectacular deals on our winter wedding packages will save you lots of money. Plus, winter tends to be a less busy time of year for vendors, therefore you might be able to score significant discounts on everything from the photographer to the DJ.

Winter wedding 4


Popular dates during the traditional wedding months sometimes book up years in advance. You’ll find it much easier to get your dream Saturday date in in the winter. It’s even easier to book if you decide to get married mid-week.



Our stunning colonial features, surrounding attractions, and all the luxuries you’d expect from a modern hotel makes us one seriously stylish venue for your winter wedding. Boasting 13 beautiful banquet areas and 188 guest rooms, we can accommodate parties large and small, from 10 wedding guests to 200.

winter wedding 1


Our property is always picturesque, but during the winter months it is utterly stunning. You and your guests will depart your wedding experience with numerous and inspiring snapshots of a perfect and unforgettable day.

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Our dedicated wedding coordinators are on hand to help create a day that is as individual, exciting and memorable as you have always hoped – helping you plan every detail to perfection, from the dining to the first dance.

winter wedding 3


Winter wedding menus are all about warming, comfort foods. Celebrate your day with a celebration of sensational seasonal flavors. Whatever you can imagine, our expert culinary team are happy to create a menu that reflects your wishes, making your special day as tasty as it is beautiful.


To schedule a tour, or for more information,  please contact us at or (609) 921-7500.


Heights, Lights, & History – Amazing Stories of the Palmer Square Tree

For decades, the colossal conifer rising above Palmer Square has brightened downtown and the spirits of the community every holiday season. Its heights, lights, and decorations draw as many as 80,000 annual visitors. However, there’s a lot more to this spectacular centerpiece than just its dazzling brilliance. From World War II to the world’s greatest tree lighting ceremony, let’s get to the “root” of the most iconic tree in Princeton.

A Token of Appreciation

In 1945, as a token of appreciation for donating his 195-foot steel schooner for commission in World War II to patrol and protect the shores of Iceland, Sveinn Björnsson, the nation’s first president, personally presented Edgar Palmer with quite literally the most beautiful Norway Spruce in all of Scandinavia. A gold collar around the lower trunk bore the inscription: “Megi þetta tré vernda lendir leið skipi sem er varið þín og okkar”; translated: “May this tree protect your lands the way your ship protected ours.” During that time period, the Nordic custom of gifting evergreens to close friends and allies was equivalent to being knighted – an honor of which Edgar Palmer was very proud. He immediately made arrangements to have the tree planted on the green at Palmer Square. Furthermore, while it stood only at a mere 10-feet tall at the time, it had the magnificence and beauty of a tree more than 10 times its size.

Einstein’s Marilyn


In the late 1940’s, Albert Einstein invited his last great love, Marilyn Monroe, to visit his home in Princeton. When he took her to Palmer Square, Marilyn stopped at the tree and expressed how incredibly beautiful she thought it was. Einstein concurred and said, “It’s possibly the most beautiful tree I’ve ever seen.” He paused for a moment and then revealed, “It’s so beautiful, in fact, that I even named it.”

“Named it what?” she kindly asked.

“Marilyn,” he replied.

Some believe it was at that moment in which one of the most unlikely love stories began. Whatever the case, to this day, long time locals still refer to the tree as Marilyn.

Topping the Charts

Brenda Lee

While it’s widely believed that the timeless hit Christmas song ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’ was inspired by the annual tree lighting extravaganza at Rockefeller Center, songwriter Johnny Marks revealed to legendary DJ, Cousin Brucie, that he actually got the idea in Princeton. “I remember seeing this truly, truly amazing tree in the center of town,” Marks recounted. “Crowds of people were gathered around it, singing and dancing as if Elvis Presley or Chuck Berry was about to come out from inside the branches. I thought to myself, “Wow! These people are really rockin’ around the Christmas tree.” Seeing all that holiday spirit around that tree gave me such a sentimental feeling that the song (Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’) just began pouring out of me.”

When it was all said and done, it took Johnny Marks all but an hour to write both the lyrics and music to ‘Rockin Around the Christmas Tree’. The following year in 1958, Brenda Lee (AKA Little Miss Dynamite) recorded the song and took it to the top of the charts. Almost 60 years later, the timeless hit is still an essential track for any respectable holiday playlist.

Fit for a Princess


In 1956, the Prince of Monaco planned to surprise his new wife, actress Grace Kelly, with a Christmas celebration fit for a princess.  She was to have the best of everything – including the most spectacular Christmas tree that money could buy. Having once pursued Marilyn Monroe as a possible wife, the prince was aware of a particular tree in Princeton, NJ that was deemed so amazing that the late genius, Albert Einstein, named it in Marilyn’s honor. The Prince was so bent on obtaining this tree, he practically wrote a blank check in exchange for it. Unfortunately for the Prince, no amount of money was acceptable, as Edgar Palmer left very clear instructions that the tree was never to leave its home for any reason.

Evel Comes to Princeton


By the mid-1960’s, Marilyn – the tree, that is – had grown to be over 40 feet tall. At the same time, a young daredevil under the moniker of Evil Knievel made a name for himself by jumping over rows of cars on his motorcycle. Nevertheless, the novelty of jumping cars had run thin, and he needed to think of something more dangerous to excite the media. Then, on a fateful visit to downtown Princeton in 1966, he saw Marilyn. She was tall, beautiful, and perfectly placed to be jumped by motorcycle.  So, on the Friday after Thanksgiving of that year, Evel rang in the holiday shopping season with a tree lighting ceremony and high flying spectacle that Princeton would not soon forget. Not only was his jump over Marilyn a success, but the crowds and excitement that it drew cemented the Friday after Thanksgiving as the standing date for all future tree lighting ceremonies. As for Evel, he went on to jump everything from Caesars Palace to the Grand Canyon – breaking every record and bone in his body throughout his motorcycle stunt career.

Who Climbed the Tree?

keith moon

In the 1970’s, Keith Moon, drummer for The Who, was out with his alumni friends during Princeton reunions week. After a long night of partying, the bars had already closed, but Moon was still hankering for a drink with his friends. He insisted that they return to his favorite watering hole in Princeton, the Yankee Doodle Tap Room, where a barstool was always on reserve for him. Despite the doors being locked, Moon spent an hour arguing with his friends about getting inside the bar, while maintaining that the door was merely jammed. When his friends tried to physically remove him from breaking into the building, he escaped their grips and made a mad dash for the tree, aka Marilyn. He quickly scaled to the top of the tree and refused to come down until the Yankee Doodle Tap Room reopened. As the story goes, his friends tried to get him down, but eventually, they gave up. The police and fire department even arrived on the scene to respond to complaints of someone yelling and singing from the tree outside. Despite heroic efforts by Municipal authorities, it was concluded that there was no safe way to remove Mr. Moon, so they were forced to wait the night out with him. A few hours later, the manager of the Yankee Doodle Tap Room notified authorities that the bar had reopened. Although excited, Moon was concerned that he would get arrested if he came down from the tree. So he yelled out to the authorities and said, “If I come down now, are you going to let me get a drink, or are you going to arrest me? If it’s the latter, I’ll just stay here forever!” The police knew that Edgar Palmer would not want Keith Moon as a permanent ornament in his prized tree, so they let him get a drink before taking him into custody. However, he was only charged with disturbing the peace and was quickly released. Immediately after, he returned to his stool at the Yankee Doodle Tap Room, but did not settle in until after he poured a drink on the soil beneath Marilyn, thanking her for her hospitality and nice place to stay the previous night.

Note: For entertainment purposes, the author of this blog may have taken certain creative liberties.



Fun Thanksgiving Facts

When most people think of a Princeton Thanksgiving, the first thing that comes to mind is spending joyous time with family and feasting on culinary delights such as as golden-roasted turkey, fluffy stuffing, tangy cranberry sauce, and whipped cream on top of pumpkin pie at the historic Yankee Doodle Tap Room.

Wherever you spend your Thanksgiving, here are 10 fun Thanksgiving Day facts to think about and share with your family and friends as you dig into this year’s turkey:

Since 1947, the president has pardoned a live turkey every Thanksgiving and allows it to live out its days on a historical farm.

The first Thanksgiving was a moment for the Pilgrims to thank God for allowing them to kill enough game and grow sufficient crops to get through the winter.

Wild turkeys can fly in short bursts at speeds up to 55 MPH.

Now a Thanksgiving dinner staple, cranberries actually were used by Native Americans to treat wounds and dye clothing. They did not eat them.


The Thanksgiving Day football tradition began with Yale and Princeton, who played their first game in 1876 and drew yearly crowds of 40,000 to see them duke it out.

Princeton vs yale

The tradition of breaking a wishbone for good luck started with the Romans.


So consumed with passion for the turkey and its respectful stature, it is said that Benjamin Franklin proposed the turkey become the United States national bird. However, the bald eagle, which Franklin thought had a “bad moral character” won out.

national turkey

St. Patrick’s Day might get the press, but the day before Thanksgiving is the biggest day for bar and liquor sales in the U.S., also ahead of the Super Bowl or New Years’ Eve.

liquor sales

The first national Thanksgiving was declared by President George Washington in 1789 – although it didn’t stick until Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation in 1863.

George Washington

Considered the “Mother of Thanksgiving,” Sara Hale (1788-1879) was an influential editor and writer who urged President Lincoln to proclaim a national day of thanksgiving. She selected the last Thursday in November because, as she said, harvests were done, elections were over, and summer travelers were home.

sarah hale

10 Reasons Why Fall is a Great Time to Have a Wedding


Cozy Vibes

There’s something so intimate and homey about an autumn wedding.
Exhibit A: this cozy tablescape that’s got us all swooning.

Fall Tablescape

Stunning Scenery

Fall foliage as your wedding portrait backdrop? It doesn’t get any better than that.

fall foilage nassau

In-season Florals

Dahlia, alstroemeria, celosia… the list goes on for pretty flowers you’ll find for fall.

Fall Florals

Historic Venues

Let’s be real – historic weddings and autumn go together like PB&J, and for the rustic-loving bride fall is the perfect time of year.

Fall Wedding 2

Outdoor Ceremony

You can have a beautiful outdoor ceremony without worrying your guests are going to melt or freeze.


Fresh Foods

The food! Think apple cider signature cocktails, a delicious soup course, and donuts for dessert

Fall food


You can create gorgeous décor on the cheap — crunchy leaves, votives, and beautiful branches all make lovely decorations. Plus, they’re more budget-friendly than flowers.

fall decor 1

Fall Sun

Because of the way engagement rings sparkle in the fall sun.

autumn engagement ring

Guest lists

Wedding guests do not have to work around their summer vacations in order to attend.

Fall wedding guests

NO bad hair days!

Frizz-free wedding hair.

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Corporate Meetings & the Benefits of Natural Light

NI Crossing DelawareSince before the American Revolution, our meeting space has been widely known among political, business, and military leaders to invite focus and ignite creativity.

Our superior amenities and top notch customer service have always fostered a comfortable and productive environment for our esteemed guests.

While our hospitality greatly compliments the overall experience, the mood of the day is actually determined before a meeting is even convened. It takes effect the moment our guests step into the room and find themselves welcomed by the brilliance of natural light.

All of our meeting rooms come standard with natural light and its many aesthetic and health benefits, which include:

1.) Boost in mood and alertness







2.) Reduction in stress







3.)  Elevation in happiness







4.) Increased quality of sleep







5.) Boost in metabolism







In addition, our naturally lit meeting space also comes equipped with the proper shade to accommodate video and presentations.

To book a corporate space or to get more information, please contact us at or call 609-921-7500


April in Bloom

flowersCommunity Spotlight

April was another incredible month for downtown Princeton. The entire town literally exploded with color in a matter of weeks as our natural surroundings quickly transitioned from bare, bleak, and brittle to robust, bright, and in bloom. The much welcomed spring weather provided ideal conditions for al fresco dining, window shopping, outdoor sports, and community events such as the Princeton University Farmers’ Market and Communiversity.

Yankee Doodle Tap RoomYDTR Sign w Flowers

The opening of our outdoor patio and the release of our Spring Menu has made for an outstanding month at the Yankee Doodle Tap Room. The fresh air and fine fare motivated many to ditch the indoors and dine with us. The interior of the Tap Room continues to see an abundance of activity too. In addition to our regular business, tour groups have been piling in to enjoy a beautiful buffet and an anecdotal history of our property.

If you like to unwind after work, our Happy Hour Specials and promotions may be just what you need. Monster Mug Mondays were made to quench your thirst while “I Made History” and “Beers Around the World” give you the opportunity to drink outside your comfort zone and win cool prizes. Live music on our patio is also on its way starting May 14.

Most importantly, however, we need to talk about Mom. Her special day is racing towards us. To celebrate, we’re holding our annual Mother’s Day Brunch on Sunday, May 10th.  There’s no better way to remind Mom how amazing she is by treating her to a delicious meal with us. Click here for more information.

Nassau Inn Ext Summer - 3.5 wNassau Inn

The picturesque purlieu of downtown Princeton in the spring attracts an abundance of visitors from all around. Although the nearby Route 1 Corridor offers a cornucopia of shiny, brand name hotels to meet their lodging needs, it is at the independently owned Nassau Inn that travelers aim to book first. That’s because when you’re at the Nassau Inn, you’re already here, in the heart of downtown Princeton. Our iconic red door opens up to a lush green square, not a parking lot. The scent in the air is of efflorescence, not exhaust fumes. The distance to restaurants, entertainment, shopping and the arts is measured in steps, not miles.

Then there’s our history, which dates all the way back to the 18th century. Since opening our doors in 1756, we’ve prided ourselves on offering our guests the most neoteric amenities of the day. Whether you were to stay with us in the 1700’s, 1800’s, or 1900’s, you could expect to find available all the latest comforts and technology at the Nassau Inn. The same still rings true today. We continue to expertly exist as a historical landmark and a state-of-the-art, full service hotel and conference center.

It’s all of these inimitable attributes, and many more, that have made our property a target destination for tourism, corporate functions, and celebratory life events.. With 188 guest rooms and 13 beautiful conference/banquet options, our savvy coordinators can skillfully design and deliver a personalized experience sure to delight you and everyone in your party. To schedule a tour or to request more information about planning an event, please contact us at

True History of the IPA

You can love them, you can hate them, you can pour them, you can make them, but there ipa 1
is no denying the fact that Indian pale ales have become America’s most popular beer style. In 1978, Congress passed a law that legalized home brewing in the United States. This law brought American brewing into a renaissance, allowing Indian pale ales into the hearts and mouths of main stream America.

ipa 2The origins of the style dates back to the 1700s. Back then, English colonies in India were heavily influenced by the East Indian Company. The imports they collected from trade were the colonists main supply line. A small brewery named Bow Brewery, on the most western edge of London, was credited with the widespread awareness of the style. Due more to the convenience rather than the craftsmanship, the EIC began trading with the small brewery. The style became popular with the colonists of India because of its lighter consistency and higher alcohol content. The Englishmen were used to drinking porters and the Pale Ale was a refreshing replacement. With approval of the Eastern Indian Colonists, the EIC was able to bring this style of beer across the Indian subcontinent, eventually coining the term “Indian Pale Ale”.

Indian Pale Ales require pale malts and a strong hop influence. This style is typically ipa 3higher in alcohol content (6-7% ABV) as appose to the tradition ales (4-5% ABV). With a variety of different hops in America there is no wonder American IPA became its own style. American IPA is considerably a whole different evolution from the English IPA. American IPA is generally drier and higher in alcohol where English IPA is malty. American hops causes the beer to be bitter and can give a collection of different flavors such as floral, citrus, and earthy characteristics. English hops are often fruity and give an herbal taste.

ipa 4The obsession with hops in our IPAs have given rise to an arms race in the field of IPAs. The development of the Imperial IPA or the Double IPA was a direct result. They typically have an alcohol content of 7.5% or higher. Claims have been made that the recipe originated in Santa Rosa, CA, in 1994 at the Russian River Brewing Company. The style is beloved by craft beer drinkers in San Diego with such a passion that some refer to the Double IPA as, “San Diego Pale Ale”. The beer is extremely hoppy in flavor, but that is not even the hoppiest, my friends. Somewhere in America there must be some non-descript building inhabiting an evil genius and their laboratory whose sole purposes is to develop the hoppiest beer known to man. The Triple IPA has been on the shelves of liquor stores for quite some time, but only the strong of heart dare to drink them. With the classification as nothing lower than 10% ABV, Triple IPAs are the most full flavored and bitterest of the IPAs known to date. But don’t worry, the same evil geniuses have developed a beer that is far less complex. The newest development to the Indian Pale Ales is not an ale at all, it is actually a Lager. The Indian Pale Lager (IPL) tends to be hopped as an IPA but values bottom-fermenting yeast which gives a lager its signature. An easier drink, the IPL has a lighter, cleaner body and the hops are more subtle.

From England to India then to its rightful home, America. IPAs have developed and evolved through history and will continue as long as there are creative brewers and ipa 5enthusiastic drinkers. So next time your at the bar with your buddies and someone asks, “Where do IPAs come from?” You can shut down the know it all who says, “It’s an Indian Beer”. Be sure to tell them the true story, where IPAs are from and where they are going. Until text time Keep Laughing ,Keep Drinking, and Keep Living!!!!!!