Celebrity chefs plan new Mexican restaurant for CBD _lowres

Photo by Roberto Ferdman -- Celebrity chefs John Besh, left, and Aarón Sánchez, shown here at the James Beard Foundation Awards in New York. They developed the Johnny Sánchez restaurants together. 

A restaurant founded by John Besh and celebrity chef Aarón Sánchez in Baltimore closed in September, ahead of this week’s allegations of sexual harassment in Besh’s New Orleans restaurant company.

Johnny Sánchez Baltimore was part of Horseshoe Casino Baltimore. In a statement, the Baltimore casino confirmed it did not renew the restaurant’s contract and noted that it did not believe any of the allegations about Besh's company concerned their property. The Baltimore Sun first reported the news.

A spokesperson for the Besh Restaurant Group said no changes are planned for the Johnny Sanchez restaurant on Poydras Street in New Orleans.

“Horseshoe Casino Baltimore’s licensing agreement to operate Johnny Sánchez expired in early September, before these allegations came to light,” the statement said. “The casino opted not to renew the contract in order to pursue a new and exciting concept that will be announced in the very near future. To the best of our knowledge, none of the harassment allegations involve the Horseshoe-managed Johnny Sánchez restaurant.”

+1 
sanchezbaltimore.jpg

Contributed photo from Horsehoe Casino - Johnny Sanchez Baltimore opened in 2014 as part of the Horseshoe Casino Baltimore. 

The allegations were documented in a story published over the weekend by NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune. In the story, writer Brett Anderson reported on allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment from the top down at the Besh Restaurant Group.

Horseshoe Casino Baltimore is part of Caesars Entertainment, the same parent company for Harrah’s New Orleans Casino, which cut ties with Besh this week. Harrah’s had been home to Besh Steak, which operated under a licensing agreement with the Besh Restaurant Group.

The restaurants at both casinos remain open but will be revamped and rebranded.

Johnny Sánchez Baltimore opened in 2014 as the first partnership between the celebrity chefs, who became friends while competing on cable food network programs and taking part in culinary events around the country. A second edition opened in New Orleans later that year.

Following the revelations in the NOLA.com article, Besh’s company announced Monday that John Besh had stepped down “from all aspects of operations and to provide his full focus on his family.”

Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter, @IanMcNultyNOLA.