How Chris Cosentino Crushes it with Hotel Restaurants
Acacia House | Las Alcobas
St. Helena, California
Opened May 2017
Jackrabbit | The Duniway Hotel
Opened March 2017
What was attractive about the idea of a hotel restaurant? In Portland, it was really about being a part of a beautiful hotel remodel. It allowed us to help create a beautiful restaurant in a space that is celebrating the amazing history of Portland, its craftsmanship, and artisanal foods.
Acacia House is about making sure that each dining experience is beyond expectations. Having to cook for in-room dining, breakfast, lunch, the all-day menu, the pool, and banquets invites us to constantly evolve and develop new ideas for hotel food.
How did these restaurants’ creations differ from your mainstay, Cockscomb, in San Francisco? In the hotel, we do banquets and breakfast, which is not done at Cockscomb, so it makes for different thought processes. We make the banquets feel like a restaurant and bring in new ideas making breakfast approachable and interesting.
How did you tailor Jackrabbit and Acacia House for hotel guests? At Jackrabbit, it is really about having a balance—making sure it is a representation of the vision and the food is exciting for the guest to gravitate toward. In Napa, it’s again about focusing on a balance and being there for the guest, catering to their needs, and at the same time giving them a memorable experience.
What do you most love about these restaurant concepts? I love Portland and its history. It is wonderful to be in a space that is so designed around the eclectic history and craftsmanship in which it came from. In Napa, at Acacia House, I love that we are able to celebrate the origins of wine grapes from each country and the food in such a beautifully historical environment.
What’s the biggest challenge running this restaurant inside a hotel? The need to have so many different menus running from different outlets in the hotel. But that’s what makes it exciting. Being able to give such a high quality of service and food in such a unique environment makes for the bigger challenges. We want the food in our banquet to look and feel like they are in the main dining room.
What was the biggest lesson you learned from opening two hotel restaurants? At both properties it is about pushing ourselves to continually grow and evolve to new levels.
What’s your advice to other restaurateurs considering a hotel location? Think about the guest first. Make it accessible for a variety of guests, remember it is all about them. Putting one’s ego aside makes for a better, clearer thought process for all.