Big changes in the hospitality world are afoot: Houston-based corporation Landry’s, Inc. has acquired the New York–based BR Guest Hospitality. The transaction is expected to close in a few weeks. BR Guest operates more than a dozen restaurants in Manhattan, including five Restaurant Award winners in the city: Blue Water Grill, Blue Fin, Atlantic Grill West, and Strip House on 12th Street and in Midtown. The purchase will see the BR Guest lineup join brands including Restaurant Award–winning chains Morton’s, the Steakhouse, Mastro’s Steakhouse and Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse, among others. Get the details [Trade members, sign up for the Shanken News Daily email newsletter for free access to all their website stories].—D.M.
From Nov. 27 through late December, Charlie Palmer’s Aureole Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino will temporarily close to update its dining concept. Though the specifics of the design changes have not yet been announced, Palmer has brought on a new executive chef, Johnny Church, to replace Arnaud Masset, and Timothy Staehling takes on the role of general manager from Arturo Delgadillo-Sanchez. There is no word yet on any changes to the wine program; the restaurant, known for its 42-foot glass-enclosed wine tower and "wine angels" who pluck your bottle from Lucite bins, has earned a Grand Award each year since 2000 for its 2,700-selection list, managed by wine director Harley Carbery. The cellar is rich in choices from Bordeaux, Burgundy, California, Austria, Germany and the Rhône.—S.H.
On Nov. 1, chefs Michael Mina and Ken Tominaga opened Japanese restaurant PABU on the second floor of downtown Boston’s Millennium Tower. Located just off the city’s iconic Boston Commons park, the izakaya and sushi bar offers a similar menu to the San Francisco PABU but highlights shellfish and seafood from New England, and includes plates such as Plymouth Rock oysters with grated daikon, Tokyo fried chicken karaage and miso black cod with sweet onion tofu from chef Ben Steigers, as well as a special tasting menu. The beverage program includes several offerings of Japanese whiskey, beer and sake, as well as a wine list of 75 selections spanning France, California, Australia, New Zealand and beyond. Mina’s restaurants have a long history of successful wine lists; currently, his group boasts 11 Restaurant Award winners, including Grand Award winner RN74 in San Francisco.—S.H.
In August, Australian wine director David Lawler left his position as beverage director of Neil Perry’s acclaimed Rockpool Group to open his own establishment with fellow sommelier Tim Sacklin, previously of Best of Award of Excellence winner Rosetta Ristorante. As of Nov. 7, Comptoir has opened its doors at 60 Stanley St. in the Melbourne suburb of Collingwood. The combination of a wine bar and bottle shop offers bites for grazing such as terrines, salumi, tinned fish and cheeses, as well as a selection of foods to take home, and also provides wine consulting services in the same space. Guests dining in can choose from a rotating number of wines by-the-glass, or opt for a bottle purchased in the shop for a corkage fee of $10.
San Diego wine education conference SommCon, taking place Nov. 16–19, 2016, has announced the winners of its Young Leaders Summit Scholarship. The 16 winners include five industry professionals at Restaurant Award–winners: Cara Pelletier of Award of Excellence winner Devon Seafood Grill + Steak in Hershey, Penn.; Benjamin Probe of Award of Excellence winner Ruth’s Chris Steak House in downtown San Diego; Domenica Richards of Award of Excellence winner Eddie V.’s Prime Seafood in San Diego; Samantha Stowell of Award of Excellence winner the Barrel Room in San Diego; and Erika Szot of Best of Award of Excellence winner Chez TJ in San Jose, Calif. All under the age of 30, the winners receive three days of free conference education at this year’s event, including tastings, panel discussions, keynote presentations and networking with acclaimed wine professionals.—S.H.
Texas-based chain Bob’s Steak and Chop House has opened a new location in Manhattan. Located at 21 E. 52 St. at the Omni Berkshire Place in Midtown, the restaurant is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. With eight Restaurant Award–winning locations in 2016, the chain is known for pairing its signature marbled prime steaks with a selection of wines from California and around the globe. The New York location’s list, curated by general manager Maurizio Chiovar and restaurant manager Enri Dalti, offers 175 bottles, with a focus on American reds, as well as a selection of local wines from New York state.—S.H.