June Rodil is leaving her position as vice president of operations for McGuire Moorman Hospitality (MMH) to become a partner at Houston-based group Goodnight Hospitality. During her nearly five years at MMH, Rodil directed the wine programs for numerous concepts across Austin, Texas, and Aspen, Colo., including Wine Spectator Restaurant Award winners Jeffrey's and June's All Day.
Starting April 1, she'll bring that expertise to Goodnight Hospitality, which owns a honky-tonk called Goodnight Charlie's and plans to add three concepts this year: retail shop Montrose Cheese and Wine, casual neighborhood eatery Rosie Cannonball, and fine-dining restaurant March. Rodil will work with partners Peter McCarthy, chef Felipe Riccio, and sommelier David Keck to steer the direction of the wine programs and the Goodnight Hospitality brand.
Rodil says "the process of letting go is very difficult," but she's confident in her replacement, Ryan Arnold. Arnold was formerly wine director for Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, which includes three Best of Award of Excellence–winning locations of Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab, and Best of Award of Excellence winner Booth One in Chicago.
"I'm really, really excited for all that he's going to bring to McGuire Moorman," Rodil told Wine Spectator. "He's extremely savvy, he's got a lot of [experience] in multiple outlets in multiple regions, he's definitely coming in with an open mind."
With Rodil remaining a partner in June's All Day, Arnold says he's looking forward to maintaining open communication with Rodil to keep her involved in her namesake restaurant.—J.H.
Ojai Valley Inn & Spa in Ojai, Calif., the resort that houses Best of Award of Excellence winner Olivella, is putting its new 30,000-square-foot event space, the Farmhouse, to good use with a months-long culinary series featuring chef dinners, cooking demonstrations and more beginning April 17. The team brought on celebrated chef and cookbook author Nancy Silverton, owner of Best of Award of Excellence winner Osteria Mozza, to be its culinary ambassador.
"We've always been big fans of Nancy Silverton, who is an architect of California cuisine," said Ojai Valley Inn vice president of marketing and sales Chris Kandziora. "We couldn't think of anyone more perfect to help us curate events for the Farmhouse at Ojai Valley Inn."
"Like an ambassador to the U.N., I'll be representing," said Silverton. "But, I'll also be a curator, bringing major food talent from around the world to show their skills off at the Farmhouse." There will be ongoing events throughout the year. Silverton is curating at least 7 of them, possibly more, including a dinner alongside renowned Italian butcher Dario Cecchini with wines from Chianti producer Fontodi, a grilled-cheese pop-up with Scribe winery, as well as a brunch with Krug Champagne that will conclude the series Dec. 8.
"Hopefully [the series is] a wonderful memory [attendees] will cherish and tell their friends and family about," said Silverton. "I'm pretty sure they'll bring some new skills and techniques to their own kitchens."—B.G.
On Feb. 25, chef Timothy Hollingsworth debuted his takeover of the Hudson in West Hollywood, Calif. A local mainstay for almost a decade, the restaurant closed in November for renovations and now sports a new food menu and beverage program.
Hollingsworth, who also owns Best of Award of Excellence winner Otium in Los Angeles, honors some of the original restaurant's beloved items with his own updated versions, like a mac and cheese with cheddar Mornay. Other dishes on the seasonal menu include lamb ribs with wildflower honey and coriander yogurt, and crispy cauliflower with tarragon-lemon mayonnaise.
"The Hudson has been an amazing institution in Los Angeles," Hollingsworth said. "We're very excited to go in and be able to offer a little bit of a revamp."
The team is selling through the Hudson's current inventory before launching their own wine program in the coming weeks. Hollingsworth is working with partner Ricky McIntosh to create a list of 15 accessibly priced selections, all offered by the bottle or by the glass. They will range from a Henry Marionnet Gamay to Château du Cèdre in Cahors. The team is also reviving the Hudson's Wine Wednesday special of half-priced bottles.—J.H.
Brian McClure is the new beverage director for Nemacolin Woodlands Resort & Spa in Farmington, Pa., home to Best of Award of Excellence winner Lautrec. McClure previously helmed the wine program at the Greenbrier's Best of Award of Excellence–winning Main Dining Room in White Sulfur Springs, W.Va., before joining Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment as corporate beverage director in June 2018. There, he oversaw the programs for Restaurant Award winners Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse, Jeff Ruby's Carlo & Johnny and the Precinct.
Leaving Jeff Ruby's was a tough decision for McClure, who described the move as "totally serendipitous." He says he was drawn to Nemacolin Woodlands for its supportive family leadership and numerous first-rate dining concepts, including Lautrec, which features a 1,350-selection wine list.
"As a beverage professional, we're talking about the opportunity to come here and really practice my profession, my passion, at the highest level in the industry," McClure said. He plans to improve the program further, and get creative with it, including working on the by-the-glass offerings.—J.H.
The Award of Excellence–winning Beverly Hills, Calif., location of Wolfgang's Steakhouse by Wolfgang Zwiener closed March 10 after more than a decade of service. The restaurant offered a California-focused wine list of 265 selections to complement the classic steak-house menu. The brand still includes 12 Restaurant Award–winning outposts around the world.—J.H.
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