Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Aqua takeover of Fifth Floor approaches

At a cocktail reception last night for the Grand Cafe's new executive cheif, Mauro Pando, I asked everyone I encountered about the situation at another Kimpton hotel restaurant, Fifth Floor, which has been in management contract talks with Laurent Manrique's Aqua Development Corp.

It sounds like that deal is about to happen.

Here's what someone from the Fifth Floor told me: "it's not going to be a big surprise" when the restaurant announces its new executive chef, likely later this week. This was after I asked about Laurent and Aqua.

When Mauro told a couple of us that he lives up in Carneros, I asked if Laurent didn't live up that way as well and whether he'd be overseeing Grand Cafe. His only reply was a chuckle.

We'll see. The possibility of Laurent working at Aqua was first reported in the Chronicle's Inside Scoop.

Another salient detail is that the Fifth Floor and its hotel, the Palomar, have been up for sale for some time. I first reported this back in December.

At Grand Cafe, Pando is returning the restaurants to its traditional French roots, but also taking prices down a notch. He is presenting more casual, brasserie fare, "a very country approach" with rural dishes like cassoulet.

He is also renovating the "petit cafe" and bar, including adding a zinc bar and bringing in more light.

(For the record, I did not partake in the free dinner following the reception.)

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home