Last fall, John Besh announced that he would revive the classic Caribbean Room restaurant, the Bayou Bar and the Silver Whistle Cafe at the Pontchartrain Hotel in New Orleans. His group will also create a rooftop bar at the historic hotel currently undergoing a major renovation.
Opening two restaurants and two bars sounded like an ambitious undertaking, even for a company like the Besh Restaurant Group. It turns out that we literally didn't know the half of it.
On Monday, the Besh Restaurant Group announced that it formed a new division, One House Hospitality. It will manage the Pontchartrain's food and beverage. The division will also create three outlets at the new Thompson Nashville hotel in Nashville.
In Nashville, Besh's One House Hospitality will operate a seafood restaurant, called The Marsh House; a coffeeshop, Killebrew Coffee; and a rooftop bar.
"I love eating in Nashville," said Emery Whalen, One House Hospitality's CEO and a partner in the new division, "but I find there aren't as many seafood options in the market. We always try to bring something to the table."
A chef has yet to be chosen for The Marsh House.
"We really want to be developing restaurants that are tailored to the hotel and the region," Whalen said. "For us, it's so that we can sustain the level of excellence at the Besh Restaurant Group and also extend it across the country."
The outlets at the Thompson Nashville are scheduled to open in the fall of 2016. The restaurants and bars at the Pontchartrain Hotel will open this summer.
Whalen was previously the chief operating officer for the Besh Restaurant Group. Brian Landry will also be a partner in One House Hospitality and its chef, overseeing the hiring of culinary staff for the hotels. Landry will also continue in his current role as the executive chef of the restaurant Borgne.
Besh and Octavio Mantilla are the other partners in One House Hospitality.
The Thompson Nashville, in that city's The Gulch neighborhood, is being developed by Chicago's AJ Capital Partners, which is also involved in the Pontchartrain Hotel, New Orleans' The Berger Company and Nashville's MarketStreet Enterprises. New Orleans-based ERG Enterprises, which locally has been involved in the Windsor Court Hotel, the Orpheum Theater and the Pythian Building, is also an investor in the Nashville project. The hotel will be operated by Commune Hotels and Resorts.
At the moment, One House Hospitality has no immediate plans for other projects.
"We want to make really sure that we execute the Pontchartrain and Nashville first," Whalen said. "We have a lot to live up to at the Pontchartrain. There is so much nostalgia and emotion attached to it."