Ristorante del Lago
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Deep Dish: July/August 2014

Kelley Sparwasser - July/August 2014

NEW YORK CITY
Manhattan is abuzz with the announcement of venerable Charles Masson Jr.’s return to the restaurant scene. He has been named manager of the French restaurant that will anchor the new Baccarat Hotel, which is slated to open in December. Shea Gallante, formerly of Cru and Ciano, will be the exec chef. Masson Jr., 59, previously managed La Grenouille, which was founded by his parents, Charles Masson Sr. and Gisele Masson in 1962, from the young age of 19. He departed La Grenouille in late March after his brother, Philippe Masson, returned from France to run the restaurant. (Philippe had also managed La Grenouille between 1993 and 2000 when a similar family rift drove Charles Masson, Jr. to depart.) • In May, Ivan Orkin opened the long-awaited Lower East Side outpost of Ivan Ramen, the popular Tokyo-based noodle shop he opened in 2007. • Russ & Daughters, the beloved 100 year old institution, has expanded its operations to include Russ & Daughters Cafe. Fourth-generation family member Niki Russ Federman, along with her cousin Joshua Russ Tupper, oversee the restaurant. Diners can nosh on the pickled herring and caviar that retail customers have lined up for over the past century. • Stephen Starr, owner of more than 20 STARR Restaurants up and down the East Coast, has brought his Philadelphia-based El Vez to Battery Park City with David LaForce as exec chef. The restaurant features a menu of regional Mexican fare from LaForce, STARR Restaurants culinary director James Tracey, and chef Dionicio Jimenez, along with consulting chef Nacxi Gaxiola. More among the STARRs, Justin Smillie, who decamped from his exec chef position at Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria, will pursue a new endeavor with Starr. The new spot, housed in the former Manzanilla space, will feature Mediterranean fare. • The much-anticipated casual pasta restaurant Bar Primi, the latest project by Andrew Carmellini, Josh Pickard, and Luke Ostrom, opened with Sal Lamboglia as chef/partner. • Wylie Dufresne will shutter his 11 year old wd~50 on November 30. The word on the street is that he’s working on plans to relocate. Stay tuned. • Following the success of the first Nutella Bar in Chicago, Eataly owners Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich have replaced Eataly Vino, their wine store temporarily closed by the New York State Liquor Authority, with a second Nutella Bar. • Warwick New York Hotel appointed Paul Joseph as top toque. Joseph left FireBird Russian Restaurant to oversee the hotel’s restaurants, Randolph’s and Murals on 54, along with its catering and events operations. • In May, co-exec chefs Tara Norvell and Yuji Haraguchi unveiled Okonomi, a 10 seater freestanding restaurant. Haraguchi’s first endeavor, Yuji Ramen, began as a pop-up and is now a permanent fixture at two Whole Foods locations. • Chef/owner Patti Jackson opened her first restaurant, Delaware and Hudson, serving Mid-Atlantic cuisine in the Williamsburg space that once housed the popular brunch spot Egg, which relocated to the now-shuttered Parish Hall. • Teen toque Flynn McGarry took his L.A.–based monthly supper club, Eureka, on the road in May. The 15 year old chef serves his multicourse tasting menu with wine pairings selected by sommelier Max Coane to 100 diners over two nights at the Creative Edge Parties NYC space. • The Park Hyatt New York is slated to open as the brand’s new flagship property in mid-August. Sam Hazen, Solange Johnson, and Scott Cioe have been hired to be the leadership team for The Back Room at One 57 as exec chef, chef de cuisine, and exec pastry chef, respectively. • The Brooklyn hospitality community rallied around couples left in a lurch when their wedding venue, the popular reBar restaurant and event space, was suddenly shuttered by the Jason Stevens, citing bankruptcy. Shortly after, Stevens was charged with grand larceny and criminal tax fraud, both in the second degree, in a Brooklyn court. Many area restaurants, including Bacchus Bistro and No. 7, offered displaced couples specials and discounts for rebooking; Park Slope stationery store Lion in the Sun offered 20 percent off of all reprinting services; and former reBar DJ Ben Carlin of Beyonder Events continues to work at greatly reduced rates with nearly all of the couples who had been booked. • Peter Poulakakos and Dave Oz recently opened the wine-centric Baccanal, with exec chef Scott Bryan, formerly of Apiary and Veritas. Mixology whiz Naren Young is in charge of the cocktails. Poulakakos is known for The Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog.

ATLANTA
Marc Forgione and LDV Hospitality have announced plans to expand American Cut steakhouse to Buckhead. The restaurant will open in the same luxury retail development as Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack. • Gerry Klaskala, co-owner of Canoe and Aria, has been named the consulting chef/restaurateur for the upcoming Atlas restaurant, which replaces Paces 88 in the swank St. Regis hotel. Atlanta-based The Johnson Studio is designing the $5 million interior. • Cheesemonger Tim Gaddis departed Star Provisions to work at Many Fold Farm in Palmetto, GA, as manager of its cheese house. Carolyn Bender, from Alon’s Bakery & Market, is taking over for Gaddis. • Woodfire Grill has seen recent changes to both its front- and back-of-the-house leadership. Sous chef Matt Weinstein is now exec chef, replacing Tyler Williams, who departed in May after just over a year behind the stove. Around the same time, Melissa Davis took over as bar manager. • Bar Amalfi is the latest addition to Giovanni Di Palma’s empire of beloved Italian eateries, which include Antico Pizza Napoletana and Gio’s Chicken Amalfitano. • Robert Lupo, the former exec sous chef at Leon’s Full Service in nearby Decatur, will head the kitchen as exec chef of the upcoming Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall, owned by Michael Lennox.

MISSISSIPPI
John Folse and Rick Tramonto have announced plans to open Seafood R’evolution, spotlighting gulf seafood, in Renaissance at Colony Park in Ridgeland this fall. Their first joint effort, Restaurant R’evolution, opened in 2012 in New Orleans. • Chef/owner Jesse Houston plans to open the 100 seat Saltine with his wife, Rachel Horn Houston, this fall in Jackson. The new oyster bar will be located in a former school and feature Southern fare along with 30 taps of craft beer. Houston previously worked under James Beard award winner John Currence at City Grocery in Oxford. Rachel will manage the front of the house.

CHICAGO
Miami-based Norman Van Aken has entered into a hospitality business partnership with Chicago-based restaurateurs Randy Zweiban and Steve Rennau from SRZ Consulting. Operating under the name VRZ Hospitality Group, the three principals are in negotiations to create new concepts as well as consult on existing ones in a number of venues across the country and abroad. One of the central themes of the VRZ Hospitality Group is an embrace of the historical roots of each locale while also taking guests on a “delicious journey” that celebrates places around the globe that Van Aken, Zweiban, and Rennau know, revel in, and wish to share—think of places like Key West, the American South, Argentina, and more. • Owner Homaro Cantu shuttered iNG in May. Cantu, who is also owner of the Michelin-starred Moto, plans to open Berrista Coffee in the fall with chef/partner Jeffrey Mauro. Cantu, a Charlie Trotter alumnus, also serves as chairman of the board of The Trotter Project, a nonprofit housed in the former Trotter restaurant space that will launch a variety of events and educational programs. • Fans of revered gourmet hot dog spot Hot Doug’s let out a collective groan when owner Doug Sohn announced via the restaurant’s website that the last sausage will be served when he closes the doors for good on October 4. • Glenn Keefer closed his namesake restaurant at the end of May. David Flom and Matthew Moore, owners of Chicago Cut Steakhouse and The Local—Chicago, plan to open a seafood concept in the Keefer space. • Brian Beverly is in at The Drawing Room, replacing Tommy Sheean.

COLORADO
In mid-May, Ristorante del Lago opened in place of the former Charles Court at The Broadmoor resort in Colorado Springs. The five-star resort turned to Adam Tihany to design the new Italian restaurant’s interior, which is inspired by the classic villas of Italy’s Lake Como. Exec sous chef David Patterson and chef de cuisine Justin Miller are overseeing the menu. • Just shy of three years in business, Denver’s Le Grand Bistro & Oyster Bar has closed. Owner Robert Thompson is currently working on two new Denver spaces: Argyll Whisky Beer, with ambitions to stock the largest whiskey library in Colorado; and the Griffin, a German beer hall with Ryan Conklin curating the taps and chef John Broening at the stove. Thompson is also the visionary behind the growing Punch Bowl Social, with locations in Denver and Portland, OR, and Austin, TX, and Detroit in the works.

SAN FRANCISCO
Hubert Keller has closed his 28 year old Fleur de Lys. No word on plans for the space yet. • Traci Des Jardins opened The Commissary in the former military mess hall on the Main Post in May. Robbie Lewis is the culinary director, and the duo is turning out California cuisine peppered with Spanish influences. GM Malcolm Brownson developed the wine list. A mere three days after the opening, Des Jardins announced Arguello, a Mexican spot she’s also planning for the Officers’ Club. • Greg Kuzia-Carmel swapped coasts to lead the kitchen at the newly reopened Outerlands. Kuzia-Carmel’s résumé includes Thomas Keller’s Per Se and Michael White’s Altamarea Group. Pastry chef Brooke Mosley is heading the expanded bakery program. Brett Cooper departed Outerlands in March and is now keeping busy at Daniel Patterson’s new Japanese-inspired restaurant, Ume, in Oakland, which he opened in his former Plum space. The two worked together at Coi and plan to partner in a new venture in San Francisco. Cooper is also the consulting chef on Miriam Lipton’s new SF wine bar, Tender. Plum’s former chef, Kim Alter, has joined Charlie Parker in the kitchen at Haven until she and Patterson work out the details for yet another new restaurant under his umbrella. • Kevin Scott, formerly of Paragon, Bar Jules, and Hog Island Oyster Bar, took over as exec chef at The Scarlet Huntington hotel’s The Big 4 Restaurant when it reopened in May after closing for remodeling in January. Scott took the helm from Gloria Ciccarone-Nehls, who left in February. • Edward Higgins has departed Palo Alto’s Quattro to become chef de cuisine at Bix. He takes over for exec chef/partner Bruce Hill, who has shifted his focus to his latest project, Fog City. • Exec chef Gino Assaf is turning out Italian tapas at the newly opened Piattini. • Olivier Belliard has replaced Paul Piscopo as exec chef at The St. Regis San Francisco. Belliard has worked in hotels worldwide, including the Sheraton Pattaya Resort in Thailand, Le Méridien Dahab Spa Resort in Egypt, and most recently as exec chef of the St. Regis Mauritius Resort in Le Morne.

CORRECTION
Deep Dish, April 2014: Cabo Flats Cantina & Tequila Bar, which currently has two locations—Palm Beach Gardens and Delray Beach, both in Florida—are under the sole proprietorship of Steve Giordanella.