Chef Peter Sclafani has purchased a 50% stake in the three Portobello’s Grill locations and P-Beau’s in Denham Springs.
Sclafani and his wife Michelle bought into the businesses and are co-owners with Kiva Guidroz and his wife Candice. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“I felt that Kiva, his goals, and his values presented a great opportunity for me to expand my restaurant portfolio,” said Sclafani, who is executive chef and co-owner of Phil’s Oyster Bar. Before joining Phil's, he was the longtime owner and executive chef of Ruffino's Italian Restaurant.
Guidroz approached Sclafani about taking Portobello's "to the next level".
“Everybody knows Portobello’s,” Sclafani said. But he said it had become one of those places where once it came up, the next thing people said was “I haven’t been there in a long time.” “It needs an update and a breath of fresh air,” he said.
Plans are to “re-envision” the Bocage, George O’Neal and Plaquemine locations of Portobello’s. The Bocage restaurant will reopen Monday, initially for dinner and Sunday brunch. Lunch and private dining will come later. The O'Neal and Plaquemine locations will get a similar remodel, once the kinks are worked out of the Bocage restaurant.
The original plans were to remodel the Bocage restaurant over the summer, but the coronavirus pandemic pushed up the timetable. After all, it made sense to make intensive interior renovations while the business was closed. Going in while the business was closed allowed Sclafani to overhaul things like the plumbing and electrical systems, because all the remodeling Portobello's did during the past 23 years was while the property was still in business.
The restaurant now has a “modern neighborhood steakhouse” feel, Sclafani said. A new menu, which is made up of old favorites along with Louisiana-inspired cuisine, such as savory crawfish cheesecake, heirloom tomato salad, butter steak with wild mushroom bread pudding, roasted duck and crab ravioli, will be introduced.
“We want this to be a neighborhood steakhouse, a neighborhood restaurant where you can come to on a Tuesday, bring the family and have a great steak and a great bottle of wine,” he said.