Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It's Been a Long Time Coming

Demolition and progress
After signing our contract to conceptualize, design and build Restaurant R’evolution at The Royal Sonesta Hotel in New Orleans, Rick and I felt confident that we would be firing up the ranges and wowing guests at Bienville and Bourbon streets by January 2011. Well, as with most, if not all, construction projects, delays are inevitable.  Add to the mix that we’re tearing down and building up in the historic French Quarter and you begin to get a glimmer of life these past months.  I’m sure Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon could not have been more difficult.
Exposed brick work over doors

For all of you who have been involved in construction projects, whether building a home, expanding a business or revamping a summer getaway, you know the challenges and delays in the world of construction.  It’s easy to analyze the process after the fact, but not as easy while going through the experience.  From owners and designers to purveyors and marketing specialists, there are a lot of moving parts and different entities who ultimately bring the project to fruition.  Yes, construction is no “I Dream of Jeannie” moment where fingers are snapped and all is completed within seconds in perfect fashion, smiles radiating from every face.  But, all’s well that end’s well and we are moving forward and with great exuberance as R’evolution rises from the slab. 

7 months 'til delivery

Now, we’re entering the exciting phase of construction.  The equipment we’ve talked about for months, the rooms we’ve envisioned in our minds and seen as renderings on large-sheets of paper; everything is now tangible and touchable.  We’re still in our first trimester, but we’re only 7 months from delivery.  The new opening date is hovering around March 1, 2012.  This is just after Mardi Gras and about 8 weeks before Jazz Fest, a great time to be in NOLA.  But, don’t mark your calendars yet! The date could be sooner, but we can say with confidence that it certainly won’t be later.
One of the highlights of working on a project like Restaurant R’evolution is the architect and designer.  Bill Johnson, of The Johnson Studio in Atlanta, has designed more than 500 of the best known restaurants in the business, both nationally and internationally. It’s amazing to see just how passionate he is about his work when he walks into the space.  Our contractors and builders have taken his incredible design and are working diligently to breathe life into the concept.
Understanding the vision!
The entire Sonesta organization, from the Sonnabend family in Boston to Royal Sonesta Hotel President Al Groos in New Orleans and his team, could not be more supportive, and like us, are eager for the opening night!  Our growing restaurant team is just as excited to fire up the stoves, set the tables, decant the wine and open the doors to welcome guests.  

Under way!

Rick pulls up a seat in Bar R'evolution

So, stay tuned! And visit the blog often, because from now until opening night, R’evolution will come to life before your eyes.

- John