A long-awaited French restaurant planned for a prime space in uptown Charlotte has a very sexy name attached: Alain Ducasse, the dean of French chefs.
Ducasse is one of the most revered figures in French cuisine, known for daring restaurants around the world, including the revamped Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower in Paris and Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester in London, which holds the highest Michelin rating, three stars.
Elior, the global food service company that moved its North American headquarters to the building at 300 S. Tryon St. last year, has long been expected to announce a new restaurant. (It opened Parliament Coffee in the building last winter.) Elior has now confirmed that construction has begun on the project, an upscale French brasserie expected to open this summer.
While Ducasse himself will not be involved in the Charlotte project, his restaurant consulting group will be — and that carries an undeniable cachet, signaling the high style expected for the Elior project.
The restaurant's management also solves another persistent rumor in the Charlotte restaurant world: claims that Stephen Starr, the powerful restaurateur in Philadelphia and New York, is coming to Charlotte. Starr himself assured The Observer last fall that he has no plans to open here. But Elior North America is the parent company of STARR Catering Group, which will operate the restaurant. STARR Catering was founded by Starr, who sold it to Charlotte-based TrustHouse several years ago. STARR Catering was later bought by Elior.
On the Ducasse connection, Elior gave this statement to The Observer on Tuesday: "Elior is enlisting the expertise and resources of Ducasse Consulting, part of parent company Ducasse Paris founded by the renowned French chef Alain Ducasse, in the creation of the restaurant. Ducasse Consulting has worked with Elior and Starr to design the restaurant floorplan, menu design and overall look and feel. More details will be released as construction progresses.”