Restaurant Development & Design

FALL 2014

restaurant development + design is a user-driven resource for restaurant professionals charged with building new locations and remodeling existing units.

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6 • R E S T A U R A N T D E V E L O P M E N T + D E S I G N • F A L L 2 0 1 4 Editor's Letter I'll Just Eat at the Hotel N ot too long ago, eating at a hotel restaurant while traveling was more a matter of convenience or fat-out fatigue than one of pref- erence, much less eager anticipation. Sure, there were always exceptions, particularly in the upscale segment: Lunch at the Four Seasons or dinner at the Ritz could be special occasions for hotel guests and locals alike. But most hotels didn't connect the dots from great lodging to exciting foodservice. They left the latter to the local restau- rants that foodies and executives would clamor for while in town. And develop- ing restaurants that would actually draw in non-hotel guests typically wasn't even in the picture. My, how things have changed. Somewhere along the line, hotel opera- tors woke up and smelled the coffee. Great, buzzworthy restaurants — in many cases conceived and operated by big-name chefs and their partners from those same local restaurants — sud- denly seem to be the "it" hotel amenity. This issue of rd+d underscores, albeit unintentionally, how some hotel operators are creating destination prop- erties with destination dining. In some cases they're fying solo, but more often than not they're bringing in established culinary brands to develop and operate concepts as distinctive as any in town. In the process, they're replacing the tired notion of "hotel restaurant" with the distinctly different notion of restau- rants that happen to be in hotels. On page 50, we profle One Off Hospitality Group's Nico Osteria, the Italian seafood restaurant opened recently in the renovated Thompson Chicago hotel by chef Paul Kahan and his team. The group operates some of the city's hottest restaurants, and this is its frst in a hotel. It quickly became a major draw for Thompson guests as well as locals. America Eats Tavern, opened this summer at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Tysons Corner, Va., is profled on page 44. It's a new concept from Think- FoodGroup (TFG), which is helmed by star chef José Andrés. TFG operates high-profle restaurants in the D.C. area and around the country, many of which are in hotels. ESquared Hospitality, whose BLT Steak appears in our Buzz section for its new Tokyo location, grew from a single unit in 2004 to more than 22 around the world in part by partner- ing with hotels. Multiconcept operator David Burke Group's new David Burke fabrick at the Archer Hotel New York appears in our cover story on ceiling design, and our feature on private dining room design includes Restaurant R'evolution, cre- ated and operated by renowned chefs John Folse and Rick Tramonto at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in New Orleans. Each of these operators would tell you that, while developing units in hotels has its own unique set of challenges, the growth opportunities and marketing syner- gies can be great. With hotel foodservice forecasted to continue to outperform most other segments, according to Technomic, Inc., more of these win-win partnerships are likely to emerge. That's good news for guests, too, who — instead of always having to head for the cab line in search of a great meal — can simply head to the elevator. DANA TANYERI, Editor-in-Chief

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