Besh Restaurant Group Adds Bakery-Inspired Café
New Orleans’ Besh Restaurant Group opened Willa Jean restaurant and bakery in August in The Paramount at South Market building. Helmed by two pastry chefs, the eatery serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu lists eggs and biscuits in the morning and snacks, tartines, sandwiches and larger plates for lunch and dinner. The venue offers upscale versions of Southern classics like pigs in a blanket with apricot mustard, fried chicken with jalapeño slaw on a Hawaiian roll, and a hanger steak topped with a fried egg (food ranges from $4 to $26). Willa Jean also has an inventive drinks program inspired by the Southern bakery theme. The restaurant serves several coffee- and tea-enhanced cocktails, such as The Roux, mixing Rougaroux Full Moon Dark rum, Great Raft Brewing’s Reasonably Corrupt schwarzbier, Intelligentsia coffee and cane syrup, and the Dirty Water, a blend of Bulleit Bourbon, green tea, simple syrup, lemon and mint (cocktails are $10 to $12). In addition, the venue features fruit-forward mixed drinks, as well as a handful of craft beers ($5 to $8 a bottle) and boutique wines by the glass ($8 to $15). Willa Jean is Besh Restaurant Group’s ninth eatery in New Orleans and its 12th overall.
Atlanta Chef Opens Family-Friendly Eatery
Chef Kevin Gillespie ventured outside his home base of Atlanta in July to debut Revival, a Southern-influenced family restaurant in Decatur, Georgia. The concept is inspired by Gillespie’s own family traditions and emphasizes farm-fresh fare, offering à la carte dishes and shared meals with a level of sophistication not traditionally found in rural Southern food. Entrées include fried chicken, bacon-wrapped meatloaf and spiced catfish in tomato gravy ($12 to $18), served with trimmings like creamed potatoes and green cabbage ($5 to $6). Revival’s beverage menu also takes a Southern slant with a variety of Juleps, punches and classic cocktails ($8 to $12), as well as beer and wine. Located in a restored historic home, Revival has a lush garden and patio. Gillespie plans to add an outdoor bar next year.
- Restaurateur Stephen Starr unveiled his fourth venue in South Florida in August with the opening of The Continental. A sister location to the eponymous restaurant in Philadelphia, the Miami unit features a globally inspired menu, as well as cocktails that highlight boutique spirits and fresh ingredients.
- Asian traditions and Macanese culture get the star treatment at Los Angeles’ new restaurant House of Macau. The eatery boasts two cocktail lounges, a raw bar and a large outdoor patio. The menu lists hot and cold small plates, dumplings, pot stickers and larger entrées, as well as Asian cocktails and sake, wine and beer.
- Chicago’s DineAmic Group added an edgier version of its popular Siena Tavern in July, debuting Bar Siena in the Windy City’s West Loop neighborhood. The two-story space offers pizza, pasta and myriad shareable plates, as well as specialty cocktails and a lengthy list of wine and beer.
- Chef Tory Miller unveiled the Spanish eatery Estrellón in Madison, Wisconsin, in August. The venue serves traditional fare, such as paella, tapas and pintxos, made with locally sourced meats, cheeses and produce. Estrellón emphasizes still and fortified wines from Spain, along with creative cocktails.