Hotels plan updated, new food-and-beverage offerings

Megan Lanasa, a food-truck operator who won a Marriott-sponsored entrepreneurial contest called Canvas, will open a restaurant at the Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards tomorrow.

After winning a contest from Marriott International, the 29-year-old pizza maker is set to formally open BricknFire Pizza Company’s first, and only, brick-and-mortar location at the Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards on Saturday.

The 850-square-foot restaurant with seating for 20 is in a space accessible from the hotel's driveway outside and lobby inside.

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Lanasa's proposal for the casual eatery was among nearly 100 considered in a Marriott-sponsored entrepreneurial contest called Canvas. Judges included Shimunek, Marriott designers and representatives from the chain's food and beverage team.

Shimunek told The Baltimore Sun that a pizza shop was a natural fit. She believes it will bring in foot traffic to the hotel and complement the hotel's other restaurant, The Yard, which doesn't serve pizza.

In winning the Canvas contest, Lanasa received $75,000 from Marriott to help create her restaurant, and she put in about $75,000. The first six months of rent are free.

The hotel menu includes popular offerings from her food truck, including the $12 soppressata pie — an Italian cured meat similar to but spicier than pepperoni — as well as salads and sandwiches. She uses Sparks Glencoe-based Chesapeake Farm to Table and trips to local farmers markets to get fresh and local ingredients, she said.

She describes the pizza style as an Italian-inspired neapolitan, which is typically made with tomatoes and mozzarella. Pies are prepared-to-order and cooked in the shop's brick oven — which heats to 800 degrees — for about 90 seconds.

In addition to the funding and access to space, Lanasa recieved mentoring from Marriott in building her restaurant, from the permitting process to marketing. It has been about a year since when she found out she won the contest to its opening day.

Several other hotels have recently opened new or renovated restaurant spaces, while others have announced openings that will take place soon. Here is a round of up of some of them.

1. Hotel Covington

Hotel Covington in Covington, Ky., announced that Coppin’s Restaurant & Bar, led by executive chef Brendan Haren, will open in August. The restaurant reflects the “North meets South” cuisine of it’s geographic location.

Haren, previously of Orchid’s at Cincinnati’s Netherland Plaza Hotel, will deliver a menu driven by hyper-local sourcing and collaborative partnerships throughout the surrounding region.

Haren’s seasonally driven menu complements a distinctive beverage program highlighting local craft beers, cider, and spirits, as well as wine and cocktails on draft. This dedication to sourcing of meat, fish, and game, is reflected in Haren’s culling the best the area has to offer from both regional and local farmers and artisans from Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana. Key menu items showcasing his interpretation of classic American fare accented by his fine-dining background include the Pimento Cheese Jar with lavosh and Pork Rillette with pork crackling salad and rustic bread, with main dishes highlighting artfully crafted rustic fare like the custom, house-blended Coppin’s Burger topped with Boone Creek Cheddar and bacon marmalade and the Bobwhite Quail with corn pudding, sorghum, and cracked pepper.

2. The Vincent

The Vincent hotel in Southport, England, will open a brand new restaurant this September at the hotel.

Vincent Pacific will offer diners an affordable menu filled with the spices and flavours of Asia. Customers can look forward to dishes such as Chicken and Pork Dim Sum, Miso Black Cod and Seared Wagyu Beef.

Owner Paul Adams told the Southport Visitor: "I have a particular passion for Pacific Rim food and after many months of menu testing with our chefs I am excited that we have created a menu which we hope will be very well received by our diners.

3. Residence Inn Sacramento Downtown

A new cocktail venue will pop up at the Residence Inn Sacramento Downtown in the space formerly occupied by 3 Fires Lounge. The Hotel Bar will be decorated with a '50s, '60s and '70s vintage vibe, including oversized couches in vibrant colors, leather ottomans and rotary telephones. Two 13-foot projector screens on the walls will allow the bar to host monthly classic movie nights, during which themed menus will pair with the corresponding film.

Originally opened in 2008, 3 Fires, on the bottom floor of the Mariott's Residence Inn at Capitol Park at 15th and L streets, shuttered its doors July 1 in order to renovate and rebrand. In its place, The Hotel Bar will open mid-August, according to the Marriott's general manager, Shelly Moranville, who adds that the menu—led by food and beverage manager Will Comstock—will focus on small plates and "true bar food," like fried artichoke hearts, warm olive dishes and charcuterie plates. 

4. Ace Hotel New Orleans

The Ace Hotel New Orleans, which opened last March, will open Seaworty, an oyster bar in collaboration with the team behind Grand Banks in New York City.

Seaworthy will be in soft opening mode, serving a smaller menu and with limited hours, until its grand opening on Aug. 1.

The hotel also features a restaurant called Josephine Estelle, which is run by James Beard-nominated chefs Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman, and a Stumptown roasters café.

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