Chris Coleman, the executive chef at The Asbury at the Dunhill Hotel in uptown Charlotte, will become the chef of a new restaurant at the Marriott City Center later this fall, according to an announcement expected later today.
The Marriott, at Trade and Tryon streets, has stayed open through extensive renovations that include updated guest rooms and fitness center. Changes also will include a new restaurant concept.
The restaurant will be part of a reworked lobby that is supposed to make the restaurant more accessible. While the restaurant doesn’t yet have a name, Coleman, 32, will have the title of culinary director.
His connection to locally raised food, which has played a big role at The Asbury, is expected to continue at the new Marriott restaurant. A source at the hotel says the plan is to keep a local focus with an upscale feel.
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“Everything we’re doing is going to be scratch, made-in-house food. We want to treat it like a restaurant, not a hotel restaurant,” says Coleman. In addition to looking at things like garden space, similar to what’s being done at the Ritz Carlton, he expects to continue working with local farms on a larger scale.
Meanwhile, at The Asbury, Matthew Krenz will step up to replace Coleman. Krenz has been chef de cuisine at The Asbury since 2014 and was involved in developing the menu with Coleman. While several of Coleman’s classic items, including the biscuits, will remain on the menu, Krenz will be in charge of the new summer lineup.
“He’s been one of the driving forces at The Asbury,” says Coleman. “I’m excited to see the direction he’ll take it.”
Krenz has an extensive history at restaurants around the Carolinas, including working with Shane Ingram at Four Square in Durham and as executive sous chef at Passion8’s original location in Fort Mill, S.C. His family also is in ranching and provides some of the beef used at The Asbury.
R.J. Cooper of Washington, who won a James Beard Award in 2007 at Vidalia, came to Charlotte briefly late last winter to work with the Marriott City Center during the renovations, but had left by March. No details were provided and a Marriott spokesperson would only say that it didn’t work out.
The Washington Post has described Cooper, who ran two popular D.C. restaurants, Rogue 24 and Gypsy Soul, as “accomplished but controversial.” Cooper is now working with 5Church Group in Charleston and is expected to move to 5Church in Atlanta.
Coleman started at the McNinch House in Fourth Ward, climbing from kitchen assistant to become executive chef in 2005. He moved to the Dunhill in 2013.