After months of renovations, the revived Pontchartrain Hotel officially opens its doors June 17.
Following a series of soft-opening dinners last week, a communications team for the project announced Tuesday that the Garden District hotel would open at the end of this week.
Chicago-based real estate company AJ Capital Partners and John Besh’s Our House Hospitality - the Besh Group food and beverage management team - are behind the project, which was first announced late last year.
[jump] Established in 1927, the hotel attracted icons including Rita Hayworth, Frank Sinatra, Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams, and presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. Following Hurricane Katrina, the property became a luxury apartment building with extended-stay rooms, but it shifted back to a hotel in 2013.
The Besh Group is running all food and beverage amenities at the hotel, which includes the Caribbean Room, the Bayou Bar, the Silver Whistle Cafe and the rooftop lounge, Hot Tin, which features panoramic views of downtown New Orleans and the Mississippi River.
"I am really passionate about this project," Besh said in a prepared statement. "As a steward of New Orleans, I felt called upon to be a part of the resurrection of The Pontchartrain. I want to honor these traditions of the past that gave us so much and that are worth preserving for the next generation. By bringing these iconic restaurants back, it doesn’t mean we are recreating the past - it is all about making the past relevant for the future.”
Chef Chris Lusk, formerly of Restaurant R’evolution, is overseeing the menus throughout the property, including room service. For the historic Caribbean Room, he says he plans on evoking nostalgia: Guests can expect a refined, white tablecloth experience with revamped versions of some of the storied restaurant’s signature dishes including shrimp Saki, Filet de Boef and Mile High Pie. New menu items include a pepper-roasted rack of lamb served fava beans and curried carrots and Wagyu beef and beet tartare with puffed beef tendon and preserved orange.
At the more casual tavern-style Bayou Bar (which reportedly was a hangout for Sinatra and Capote) guests can expect a more laid-back affair. There’s an extensive whiskey and beer list and a streamlined bar menu of snacks and small plates, including the 1&1 Burger, which features bone marrow, hickory sauce and Benton’s bacon.
At the hotel’s breakfast and lunch spot, The Silver Whistle Café, Willa Jean chefs Kelly Fields and Lisa White are overseeing the menu at the grab-and-go cafe, which will feature the hotel’s iconic blueberry muffins, coffee and several breakfast dishes including a breakfast po-boy filled with scrambled eggs, andouille sausage, white cheddar and Sriracha hollandaise, and pecan waffles with bourbon cane syrup and smoked butter.
Upstairs at the rooftop bar and lounge Hot Tin, a menu of light snacks and shared plates include a chips and burrata with black truffle and shrimp banh mi sliders with pickled peppers and Sriracha aioli. There will also be an extensive cocktail and champagne list. The real draw? A 270-degree view of the Mississippi River and downtown New Orleans.
For more information and for hours of operation, visit the hotel's website here.