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NAO at the CIA to Have Soft Opening May 23

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Robert Fleming is opening a second Magnolia Pancake Haus this week.

NAO, the Latin restaurant at the Culinary Institute of America, will have its soft opening on May 23. It will be in the Pearl Brewery, 200 E. Grayson St., and will feature dishes from throughout South America, Latin America and the islands. NAO will be student-staffed and the menu will feature traditional dishes creatively reinterpreted for San Antonio diners.

Jesse Perez

In other Pearl Brewery news, chef Jesse Perez is opening his contemporary American restaurant, Arcade, this fall. It will be in the lab building near the stables on the property. The streamlined industrial look of the space will be playful, Perez says. We're hoping the food will be as good as what we sampled from Perez during this year's Culinaria. In other restaurant news, Robert Fleming will be opening his second Magnolia Pancake Haus on Friday at 10333 Huebner Road. Old favorites, such as the Apfelpfannekuchen and the pancakes as well as the house-made sausage and eggs to order, will be available. Call (210) 561-6117. Robbie Nowlin, who left Jason Dady's the Lodge Restaurant of Castle Hills, to work at the prestigious French Laundry in Yountville, Calif., has returned to town. He will be working for Dady again, this time at Bin 555.

The Esquire Tavern

The Esquire Tavern, 155 E. Commerce St., has been named one of the top bars in America by Men's Fitness magazine. The listing says that "Luckily despite its tourist-y location, this is a casual local favorite that just happens to boast the longest wooden bar in Texas. At 79 feet it’s the perfect spot to throw back a few Lone Stars (the "National Beer of Texas”), and hang with the locals. As for cocktails they’re fittingly big and boozy." The Grand Hyatt, 600 E. Market St., has a new executive chef. Lawrence Eells grew up moving around the world. As a young boy in a military family, he spent the majority of his childhood in places such as Okinawa, the Philippines, Shanghai, Hawaii, Albuquerque, San Diego, Minneapolis and Dallas.
After paying his way through college by working in the food industry, Eells took a job as chef de cuisine at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis in 1982. Since then, he has held a 30-year culinary career with Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, working nearly every position in the kitchen at nine properties across the United States, opening four hotels and forging incredible, long-lasting relationships along the way. Most recently, Eells was the executive chef at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa in Hawaii, a position he held for the past six years.“I bring excitement and innovation with strong roots,” he said. “I hope to continue to use my background and experience to make myself valuable to Hyatt for years to come.”
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