Monday, March 5, 2012

Restaurant R’evolution: A Look Inside

While spring is certainly in the air, it’s not the weather that has me excited as we turn the corner into March here in New Orleans. Instead, my excitement surrounds all of the progress we’re making at Restaurant R’evolution. As I’ve mentioned before, a construction project of this size – the full gutting and renovation of the Royal Sonesta Hotel’s former Bienville banquet space – is no small task. But, we’re making steady headway and are eagerly looking forward to the completion of our soon-to-be open Restaurant R’evolution here in the heart of the French Quarter. Over the past few months, I’ve taken some “behind the scenes” photos, to give you a sneak peek at what you can expect when our doors officially open this coming May.

Me with Viking Commercial Sales Manager, Bill Dolan
In the back-of-house, it’s all about equipment. Thanks to the wonderful folks at Viking, we’ve fully installed our comprehensive Viking kitchen suite. The stainless steel is sleek, shiny and we’re ready to get down and dirty cooking in this high-tech, fully-loaded kitchen. Of course, the project wouldn’t be complete without our signature “R’evolution red” color palette. Check out our custom grills.

48” Viking Grill in “R’evolution Red”

For those of you who might not be quite as giddy about ovens, ranges, broilers, and induction units as I am, let me tell you about our dining spaces. Thanks to the magnificent vision of The Johnson Studio in Atlanta, led by Bill Johnson, the space – a reflection of architectural details and comfortable d├ęcor of the French Quarter’s grand historic mansions – is beginning to come alive as well.

Here, the addition of cypress ceiling beams adds an authentic Louisiana touch to one of Restaurant R’evolution’s seven distinct dining spaces, each of which borrows the elements of a different room in a traditional Creole mansion. 

Ceiling beams are up!

In keeping with the tradition and inspiration drawn from New Orleans’ history, we’re also installing intricately detailed crown molding in our Storyville Parlor.

Ceiling molding “before.” Stay tuned for “after”
While guests feast on seafood gumbo and turtle soup, snapper Napoleon, or pecan-smoked pork shank, we want to engage with them, allowing them to feel the energy and action of the kitchen. For this reason, we’re constructing an expansive open, exposition-style kitchen within our Market Room. We look forward to creating a kitchen-theatre type ambiance in this area of the R’evolution space. In the below image, tile work is nearly complete.

The open expo kitchen gets tiled

In addition to our cuisine, we are very proud to introduce an international wine and spirits program, headed by Molly Wismeier, with an emphasis on the seven nations that originally settled in Louisiana and make up the backbone of Creole cuisine. Thankfully for Molly, the wines that she has been expertly selecting throughout our development process will soon find their permanent home within the 10,000-bottle wine cellar. Guests will have the option to dine in the Wine Cellar, a glass-enclosed, private space surrounded by the comprehensive portfolio of wines available for their choosing. 

Wine cellar additions

Cypress wood flooring

In addition to outstanding wine vintages, we’re keen on paying homage to traditional and historic architectural techniques in our Wine Cellar. The beautiful cypress wood flooring we’ve installed recaptures the colonial and Creole Louisiana traditions of utilizing this swamp wood in construction.

It’s been a long road, to be sure, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and we can’t wait to welcome you to Restaurant R’evolution in May. Stay tuned to our blog, Twitter, and Facebook for more updates as we head down the home stretch.
-          John