Alon Shaya is opening a new, upscale restaurant in New Orleans' Four Seasons hotel
The Four Seasons hotel now taking shape in the World Trade Center is transforming one of the most recognizable buildings on the New Orleans skyline. When it opens next year, it will have a new restaurant from a chef New Orleans already knows well.
Alon Shaya, chef of the Uptown restaurant Saba, and his wife and business partner Emily Shaya are developing the new restaurant, now slated to open in early 2021.
It will be an upscale, modern New Orleans restaurant, Alon Shaya said. Although its name has yet to be announced, the chef said the vision behind it is clear.
“This will be my expression of what I love about Louisiana cuisine, my love letter to it in a way,” he said. “I feel like I’ve been studying and writing the opening menu for this restaurant for the last 18 years of living here.”
The hotel, officially the Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences New Orleans, will mark a new chapter for the landmark World Trade Center building at the foot of Canal Street. Long in disrepair, the property’s redevelopment as a luxury hotel and condominium project has been touted as a boon for reviving this part of downtown and the riverfront.
While hotels and restaurants alike are mired in hard times as the pandemic continues, Shaya said he was looking hopefully toward the future with this new project.
“By next year, when people begin traveling again, I see so many coming to visit here again and making up for lost time,” he said.
The Shayas have partnered with the Four Seasons through their company Pomegranate Hospitality, which runs their local modern Israeli restaurant Saba as well as another in Denver called Safta.
Pomegranate Hospitality will handle food and beverage across the Four Seasons’ lobby, with a bar in addition to the restaurant.
The restaurant will be on the hotel’s ground level adjoining the lobby. Shaya said it will showcase a diversity of classic and more contemporary influences running through Louisiana cuisine, with elements ranging from Cajun to Vietnamese.
“It will be a grand dining experience,” Shaya said. “Part of what I love so much about my experiences here have been eating at restaurants like Commander’s Palace, Galatoire’s, Brennan’s, Brigtsen’s, K-Paul’s, Emeril’s. All those helped shape my view of what grand dining can be. I love the allure of it, the history of it. I’m excited to be part of something like that.”
Born in Israel and raised in Philadelphia, Shaya came to New Orleans in 2003. He made his name working with chef John Besh as chef at Domenica, which won a James Beard award, and then at Shaya, the modern Israeli restaurant that also won a James Beard award (the chef is no longer affiliated with the restaurant that bears his name after a split with his former partners in 2017).
Today, Shaya said he’s excited to be part of the Four Seasons project for the revitalization potential it holds for the riverfront and for the chance to do business with the Four Seasons organization.
”They have a team-first approach, very thoughtful and organized on how they built their culture and that’s aligned with what Emily and I have worked hard to develop for Pomegranate Hospitality,” he said.
When it opens next year, the Four Seasons will have 341 rooms and 92 private residences. It will have several other restaurant and bar concepts, including a poolside venue, though details about those amenities have not yet been announced.