James Beard Award-winning chef R.J. Cooper has been tapped to spearhead the new restaurant concept at the Marriott City Center in uptown Charlotte.
The 19-story hotel at 100 W. Trade St. is in the midst of a major renovation that includes upgrades to the 30 year-old hotel’s 438 guest rooms.
Cooper is the “accomplished but controversial chef” behind Washington, D.C., restaurants Rogue 24 and the late Gypsy Soul, the Washington Post reported this week. Cooper, 47, was chef at Vidalia in Washington when he won the James Beard Award in 2007 in the Best Chef Mid-Atlantic category.
Marriott spokeswoman Nina Herrera-Davila says Cooper will be coming up with everything at the hotel’s restaurant, from the menu options down to the decor.
Cooper – who describes his style as “modernist, classic, progressive and innovative” – has talked a lot about Southern hospitality, though not much else is known yet about his new restaurant concept, Herrera-Davila says.
Cooper will move to Charlotte in January, and the restaurant will open in the fall, she adds.
“He’ll bring such a great vibe and great innovation to the hotel,” Herrera-Davila says. “It’s an exciting next chapter for the renovation.”
The hotel’s renovation is unaffiliated with the project at 101 Independence Center, which includes updates to and expansion of the tower’s lobby, as well as new retail tenants like a large, upscale restaurant on the ground level.
Still, a new restaurant next door with a nationally renowned chef could be good for business at the Trade and Tryon office tower, says Mike Lucier, vice president of retail services at CBRE, who is spearheading retail development of the lobby project.
“I bet it continues to draw attention to our building, which is a good thing,” Lucier says.