Inspired to create a restaurant that would bring the cuisine and atmosphere they love to their own backyard, the Livanos family opened Moderne Barn in 2010 in their hometown of Armonk, New York. Merging an upscale yet approachable environment with the talent of Executive Chef Ethan Kostbar, Moderne Barn delivers exceptional global cuisine in a setting that will make you feel at home – whether for a business meeting, after a round of golf, or with family for a relaxing weekend gathering.
In the restaurant, world spices discovered on Chef Ethan’s travels mingle with new American dishes, showcasing the region’s best organic fare alongside terroir-driven wines. Meanwhile rustic elements blend with modern industrial details to add visual interest. These include a soaring vaulted ceiling of American walnut, beautiful hand designed glass chandeliers and an iron catwalk above the bar housing Moderne Barn’s impressive wine collection.
At Moderne Barn, the Livanos family has crafted the perfect combination of exceptional food and service in a comfortably elegant atmosphere.
Owners // Livanos Family
Executive Chef // Ethan Kostbar
GM // Marissa Zeolla
Wine Director // Edgar Balagot
Executive Chef Ethan Kostbar is a self-described “Jewish Yenta” with a love for food. His passion for the culinary arts is evident in a seasonally rotating menu of signature dishes and new favorites with global influences here at Moderne Barn. Chef Ethan started cooking at the young age of 14. Growing up in Israel and traveling internationally helped him to broaden his appreciation for the diverse cuisines that form the menu daily.
Chef Ethan pulls inspiration from the world around him. His experiences at The Culinary Institute of America and the opportunities to work with some of the country’s most renowned chefs including Tom Colicchio at Gramercy Tavern and Executive Chef John Doherty at The Waldorf Astoria, along with yearly family trips to Martha’s Vineyard, and the yield of his backyard garden in Fairfield, CT, all influence his menu choices.
During his time away from the restaurant, Chef Ethan embraces a style of healthy living that “would make my 25-year-old-self punch me in the face. I’m a total gym rat and I make salad for dinner to the delight of my health-conscious wife, Jodi,” he says. “I’ve replaced late nights out with early morning gardening and homework with my kids, Dylan and Zoe, and my greatest joys besides my aforementioned children and wife are driving top-down in my Wrangler, romantic comedies, the band ‘Built to Spill’ and sweet carbolicious desserts.”
Wine Director Edgar Balagot enjoys sharing his knowledge of wine with guests, specifically noting the contrast between techniques used in modern winemaking versus those of the Old World. “The more I understand about the world of wine, the more I don’t know; there’s so much to be explored. Each wine has a story,” says Edgar of his love of vinology. It’s this story that he loves articulating to Moderne Barn’s guests, from the evolution of a specific varietal that helps to illuminate its unique history to specific details about a particular producer’s process.
Prior to being promoted to Wine Director, Edgar joined the restaurant in 2010 as a captain. Before coming to Moderne Barn, he worked at the iconic New York City restaurant The Sea Grill at Rockefeller Center, which gave him his first insight into the world of fine dining. He carried this focus to his experiences beyond the city during his tenure as General Manager at The Garrison in the Hudson Valley.
Having lived in every borough of New York City, Edgar ultimately put down roots in the Bronx where he seeks to enjoy all that New York state has to offer. Passionate about terroir-driven wines, it’s no wonder that he carries that same excitement into his extracurricular activities – planning annual snowboarding and camping trips that further his love of the land and fresh air.
The Livanos Family
The extraordinary legacy of the Livanos family began in 1957 when John Livanos immigrated to the United States from Greece and began his career as a dishwasher, working for his uncle in Manhattan. He purchased his first restaurant in 1960, and later opened the elegant Livanos Restaurant in White Plains, NY, in 1985.
Today, John and his children, Nick, Bill and Corina, own and manage the critically acclaimed Oceana, Molyvos, Ousia, and Oceana Poke in New York City, as well as Moderne Barn in Armonk, NY, and City Limits in White Plains, NY.
Nick, the eldest of the Livanos siblings, grew up working in the family’s restaurants during the school year and spending his summers in Greece. Coming from a family of talented cooks and a long line of commercial fishermen, it didn’t take long for him to fall in love with food; the concepts of freshness and quality were the foundation of his culinary expertise. Nick graduated from Adelphi University with a bachelor’s degree in management, but his life changed when, on a whim, he decided to visit the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, and later enrolled. Today, Nick oversees the business of all Livanos restaurants, sharing duties with Bill and Corina. He enjoys engaging with guests and swapping stories about food, family and life.
Like his older brother, Bill was inspired by their father’s passion and dedication to the family’s restaurants to pursue a career in hospitality. As a child, Bill remembers going to work with his father — first to a diner they owned in West Hempstead, NY, and then the Arch Diner in Brooklyn. Bill learned and worked every position in the Arch Diner and eventually followed in Nick’s footsteps and studied business at Adelphi University. Upon graduating, he worked for several national restaurant chains before returning to the family business to develop the wine program at Livanos Restaurant and eventually participating in the beverage programs for all of the family’s restaurants. Today, Bill manages the Livanos restaurants alongside Nick and Corina, with his main focus on the suburban concepts.
Corina, the youngest of the Livanos siblings, grew up with her father and brothers as her role models in the hospitality industry. After graduating with a degree in management from the University of Rhode Island, she worked her way through the family’s restaurants, eventually joining her brothers as a key member of the management team. One of the most notable moments of her career was opening Moderne Barn in the family’s hometown of Armonk, NY, in 2010, bringing a casual-yet-sophisticated concept to the neighborhood. Even though each Livanos restaurant has its own character, Corina hopes that every guest experiences a few simple things: delicious food with exceptional service in a comfortable, engaging environment.
In 2016, the third generation of restaurateurs, Nick’s eldest sons, Johnny and Enrico, joined the family business as managers at Ousia. Johnny, with his seasoned knowledge of Greek cuisine, wine, cocktails, and hospitality, leads the bar program at Ousia, while Enrico guides Ousia’s service operations to provide a dynamic and memorable dining atmosphere.