The Food Biz: A family affair in Germantown

Rolf and Daughters opens in Werthan Lofts

One of this year’s highly anticipated restaurants serving creative, chef-driven cuisine opened last week. Rolf and Daughters, the project of chef and owner Philip Krajeck, launched Wednesday in a unique space in the Werthan Lofts development in Germantown.

The Werthan Lofts are in the reinvented Werthan factory building, and the restaurant was hewn from the factory’s old boiler building.

It took a lot of hard work to turn an abandoned industrial plant into a chic, high-energy dining room, but Krajeck & Co. have done it.

“This is the best possible second life for this building,” Krajeck told me back in August. The sleek yet rustic tables and chairs are handcrafted by Matt Alexander of Holler Design, and the ceiling is acoustically buffered with reclaimed wood scraps from the company’s artisan sawmill in Lascassas, Tenn.

Krajeck has a solid resume that includes a few years at Fish Out of Water, the restaurant at the posh WaterColor Inn in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., where he landed on the list of James Beard Foundation nominees for Best Chef in the South,

He has a unique background — he was an American kid who grew up in Brussels, Belgium, where his dad worked. His education included traditional French-style culinary training at hotelier school in Switzerland (where he was impressed by “really pristine classic Italian dishes” some of his cohorts created for the staff meal), but he also studied at the University of Alabama-Huntsville. Later he did educational stints at places like Blue Hill Stone Barns and Gramercy Tavern in New York.

A recent menu included garganelli (a rustic tube-shaped pasta tinted green with fresh parsley) topped with a ragout of tomato and local heritage pork; and a roasted chicken plated with a light savory sauce flavored with garlic confit and a bright dash of preserved lemon.

Rolf and Daughters has a compact but interesting list of wines, mostly European, and some high-gravity beers, plus a slate of pretty novel cocktails.

And if you’re wondering about the name: Rolf is the chef’s middle name, and he has two school-age daughters.

Rolf and Daughters is located at 700 Taylor St., serving dinner nightly. The phone number is 866-9897.

 

• Another new restaurant being built in a high-profile location — this time in East Nashville — is moving closer to completion. Restaurateur Manny Hatz has released new details about Feast, the neighborhood bistro that will open in the ground floor of the Fifth & Main condominium.

One important update is the target day for opening, which is Dec. 3, just two weeks from now and a date that would give neighbors and other curious folks a chance to gather there for drinks and dinner (and to check out the new joint) over the holidays.

Hatz has also named his restaurant team: Mike Harris is the operating partner, and Frank Courreges will run the kitchen as executive chef. Harris is a 30-year veteran in the business, with experience at the Loveless Cafe, Sam’s Sports Grill, Logan’s Roadhouse and Christie Cookies.

Courreges trained as an apprentice chef in Europe and attended the Culinary Institute of America and Johnson & Wales University. He has worked in hotels and restaurants in Charleston, West Palm Beach, Fla., and Nashville.

Both Harris and Courreges describe their culinary approach as delivering classic dishes with a twist. Harris promises house-ground burgers, unique salads, hand-cut steaks and fresh vegetables, along with  a few surprises.

The restaurant space, as you may remember, was originally the location of Germantown East, which closed permanently after the death of chef and co-owner Jay Luther in a freak accident in the produce cooler. The original Germantown Cafe remains
a vital fixture in Germantown under co-founder Chris Lowry.

Hatz has pledged to honor the original owners by contributing to the Jay Luther Memorial Scholarship Fund for aspiring culinary professionals.