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Deep Dish: September

Valerie Gladstone - September 2013

NEW YORK CITY
BLT Fish (21 W. 17th St.) got a new exec chef in June, when Luke Venner joined the restaurant. He previously served as chef de cuisine and co-creator of Millwrights (Simsbury, CT). • The sous chefs at Gramercy Tavern (42 E. 20th St.) took over for pastry chef Nancy Olson when she left to return to North Dakota. No official replacement yet. • Owners Enrique Blaksley and Juan Fabbri opened Malbec Wine Bar and Restaurant (428 Lafayette St.), awarding Rodrigo Sieiro the toque. He previously served as exec chef at Nectarine in Buenos Aires. One wall is decorated with 18,000 corks. On the lower level Tango House, shows feature talent direct from Buenos Aires. • Ghaya Oliveira became exec pastry chef at Daniel (60 E. 65th St.) in July. She previously held the same post at Bar Boulud and Boulud Sud. Tyler Atwell, formerly at the Mandarin Oriental, replaced her. • The Sea Grill (19 W. 49th St.) appointed Yuhi Fujinaga exec chef in July. He recently held the position of chef de cuisine at Bar Basque. • Sébastien Chamaret replaced Romuald Jung as exec chef at Bagatelle NY (1 Little W. 12th St.) in July. He has worked at Daniel. No word on Jung’s whereabouts.

PHILADELPHIA
The recently renovated Rittenhouse Hotel (210 W. Rittenhouse Square) opened the newly built Library Bar in July, with food by exec chef Jon Cichon and drinks by mixologist Pablo Hurtado. Cichon was previously at the hotel’s Lacroix restaurant, and Hurtado arrived from Savona (Gulph Mills, PA).

VIRGINIA
Following the success of their America Eats Tavern that lasted from July 2011 to July 2012 in the Penn Quarter district of Washington, D.C., José Andrés and his ThinkFoodGroup are moving their historic and culinary destination to a permanent home, slated to open in November at The Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner in McLean.

SOUTH CAROLINA
Chef Ken Vedrinski established his second restaurant, Coda del Pesce (1130 Ocean Blvd., Isle of Palms), in June. He’ll continue to oversee his first, Trattoria Lucca, with his chef de cuisine, Nicky Francis.

ATLANTA
Legacy Restaurant Partners gave Christopher Blobaum the title of corporate exec chef in July. He oversees the kitchens of the company’s restaurants, which include Game-X, Olmsted, Article 14, STATS, Glenn’s Kitchen, Max’s Coal Oven Pizzeria, and Der Biergarten. He was previously corporate chef at The Liberty House Restaurant Corporation. • Chefs Jiyeon Lee and Cody Taylor of Heirloom Market BBq are opening Sobban (1788 Clairmont Rd.), a Korean-Southern diner. Sobban, which means “a small wooden table reserved for humble meals,” opened in August.

FLORIDA
Michael Boles and Niloy Thakkar of Haven Hospitality Concepts established Huahua’s Taqueria (1211 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach) in July. Todd Erickson, previously at Haven South Beach, is exec chef at both places. • Clay Miller has replaced Jeff McInnis at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar (1600 Lenox Ave., Miami). Miller previously held the post of exec chef at Wit & Wisdom at the Four Seasons Hotel in Baltimore. • Exec chef Michael Guerra leads the kitchen at Havana Beach Bar & Grill, the dining spot at the new Pearl hotel (63 Main St., Rosemary Beach). He previously served as exec banquet chef and restaurant chef at Montage Deer Valley (Park City, UT). Sara Reese is director of restaurants. She last worked as gm at Restaurant Paradis (also in Rosemary Beach). • Shuttered: Restaurateur Amir Ben-Zion and his partners’ three Miami restaurants, SouthStreet, Cooper Avenue, and Bond Street, closed in June.

CHICAGO
Dimitri Fayard won the job of pastry chef at the The Peninsula Hotel Chicago (108 E. Superior St.), taking on responsibility for The Lobby, Shanghai Terrace, Pierrot Gourmet, and room service, partnering with Lee Wolen, the head chef for savories. Wolen was previously sous chef at Eleven Madison Park in NYC. In the past, Fayard co-founded Vanille Pâtisserie and was opening pastry chef at the Sofitel Water Tower. • With its new renovations, David Burke’s Primehouse at The James Hotel Chicago (55 E. Ontario St.) expanded the Primehouse Bar and added the private Burke’s Dining Room. The Primehouse Bar exec chef Rick Gresh created the menu for the revitalized bar. Burke opened Burke’s Bacon Bar, also in The James Hotel Chicago, in July, offering a variety of bacon-centric sandwiches. • Restaurateur Tommy Wang named his new dining spot MAK Restaurant (1924 W. Division St.), using the initials for Modern Asian Kitchen. A family affair, his father Eugene Wang, heads the kitchen. His father and mother once owned Tien Tsin. • Joaquin Soler and his partner Dan Scesnewicz transformed Soler’s Brown Bag Lunch Truck into a brick-and-mortar called Smalls (4009 N. Albany Ave.), offering smoked meats, biscuit sandwiches, and buttermilk-brined fried chicken. • Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises launched its new dining spot, Restaurant Beatrix (519 N. Clark St.), in the Aloft Chicago City Center. Three veteran Lettuce Entertain You chefs team up in the kitchen, John Chiakulas, Susan Weaver, and Rita Dever. • The Fifty/50 Restaurant Group opened The Berkshire Room (15 E. Ohio St.), a cocktail lounge inside the ACME hotel, run by cocktail master Benjamin Schiller. Both he and exec chef Chris Curren continue to oversee the bar and kitchen at recent newcomer, Homestead, another Fifty/50 Restaurant Group spot. • George Vega helms the kitchen at owners Simo Ely Yacobi and wife Rashida Kechab’s new Chez Simo (1968 W. Lawrence Ave.). He previously worked at Pete Miller’s Seafood & Prime Steak. • Restaurateur/chef Tony Hu opened Lao 18 (18 W. Hubbard St.). • Chef/owner Stephanie Izard expanded on her diner, Little Goat (820 W. Randolph St.) with Little Goat Bread in the Chicago French Market (131 N. Clinton St.), offering artisan breads, soups, and sandwiches. At Little Goat, she opened the rooftop for extra seating. • The Gallery Bar (738 N. Clark St.) is not only a restaurant but also an art gallery, bar, and dance spot. Chef Patrick Glatz provides the food. He was previously at Childers Eatery. • Chef Brandon Wolff creates the menu at newcomer Tre Soldi (212 E. Ohio St.). He previously worked at Osteria Via Stato. • III Forks Prime Steakhouse (180 N. Field Blvd.) appointed William Caruso exec chef. He served as chef and partner at Easy Tiger Bake Shop & Beer Garden in Austin, TX. • Chef Matt Eversman and partners Jon McDaniel and Sean Currie launched OON Restaurant (802 W. Randolph St.). • In July, DMK opened County Barbecue (1352 W. Taylor St.). • Owner Craig Bernstein established Doc B’s Fresh Kitchen (100 E. Walton St.), specializing in the Slagel Family Farm New York strip steak in August.

COLORADO
Elway’s restaurant, named for John Elway, the Broncos exec VP of football operations and Hall of Fame QB, arrived at Denver International Airport in June. It’s the fourth in the collection. Elway’s chef and culinary director, Tyler Wiard, created the menu, and Humberto Marquina, who was previously at the Cherry Creek Elway’s, now runs the kitchen. Another Elway’s veteran, Steve Kingsbury, from the Vail outpost, serves as gm. • Sage Restaurant Group awarded Jeff Bolton the toque at Kachina Southwestern Grill (10600 Westminster Blvd., Westminster) in June. He had been overseeing Kachina Southwestern Grill and SRG’s Second Home Kitchen + Bar. • David Viviano became exec chef at The St. Regis Aspen Resort (315 E. Dean St.) in July, taking charge of all of the resort’s f&b operations, including new Italian restaurant Trecento Quindici Decano as well as banquet, catering, and in-room dining. He had been at The Westin Phoenix Downtown in Arizona.

LAS VEGAS
Award-winning chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author Rick Moonen opened Rx Boiler Room, inside The Shoppes at Mandalay Place. The venue features a steampunk-inspired restaurant and lounge, with decor reminiscent of industrialism during the 19th century Victorian era, that serves up redefined comfort food classics (think chicken potpie nuggets and inside-out French onion grilled cheese).

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
CJ Jacobson heads the kitchen at Girasol Restaurant (11334 Moorpark St., Studio City), which opened in July. A past Top Chef, he has worked at The Yard in Santa Monica. 7 Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, who bought the island of Lanai in Hawaii last year, launched Nikita (22716 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu) in July, naming it after his girlfriend, Nikita Kahn. He lives nearby and has been buying property adjacent to his for a while. He brought in Massimiliano Blasone as chef and Karl Kessab as gm. Both had been working at Apsleys restaurant at the Lanesborough hotel in London. Greg Seider, who founded The Summit Bar and Prima, both in NYC, is mixologist.

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
Nick’s Cove Restaurant, Oyster Bar and Cottages (23240 Highway One, Marshall) started offering fresh produce at its newly verdant garden, dubbed Frog Creek Farms, in May, a decision made by Ross Barlow, Nick’s Cove’s master gardener and organic farmer, and gm Dena Grunt. 7 Chef/owner Donato Scotti and wine director Eric Lecours established Desco (499 Ninth St., Oakland) in August. Scotti also owns Donato Enoteca in Redwood City. Lecours was also wine director there.