NEW ORLEANS - Restaurant R'evolution, the highly anticipated first joint restaurant from award-winning chefs John Folse and Rick Tramonto, is pleased to announce Wine and Spirits Director Molly Wismeier, who has worked at a roster of Chicago's most acclaimed dining establishments including Charlie Trotter's, Ambria, Epic and Cru Café.
Restaurant R'evolution, which will offer modern, imaginative reinterpretations of classic Cajun and Creole cuisine, is set to open at the storied Royal Sonesta Hotel New Orleans in fall 2011.
"I'm so excited to be a part of this new venture in New Orleans," said Wismeier. "The city is an epicenter for food, wine, art and so much more. It's especially exciting for me to design a beverage program in a city that truly embraces the experience of imbibing."
An Exceptional Wine Program
As Wine and Spirits Director of Restaurant R'evolution, Wismeier will maintain a world-class selection of wines and spirits from around the world, with an emphasis on the seven nations that originally settled Louisiana and make up the backbone of Creole cuisine. She is tasked with curating the custom-built 10,000-bottle wine cellar, which surrounds the restaurant's private wine room, with an inventory of sought-after vintages from around the world. She looks forward to offering cellar tours to wine-loving guests to showcase Restaurant R'evolution's unique selections.
"This wine program is about creating singular experiences for the guest," said Wismeier. "I plan to place special emphasis on wines that pair especially well with the assertive flavors of Cajun and Creole cuisines, and the wines that patrons in New Orleans love to drink."
Restaurant R'evolution's comprehensive wine-by-the-glass program will not only highlight white and red Burgundy, Bordeaux whites and California reds, but also the resulting finds from Wismeier's enthusiastic explorations of the diverse wine regions of Slovenia and Portugal. As France, Germany, Italy and Spain are the foundations of Creole cuisine, the list will focus heavily on these regions, including classics such as Burgundy and Rhone varietals. An exciting showcase of vintage wines, such as 1865 Madeira and 1982 Bordeaux, lends extra prestige to the wine program.
In addition, an impressive selection of options representative of emerging wine-producing regions such as Lebanon, Germany, Slovenia, Greece and South Africa will be featured. The program also will maintain a selection of half bottles and large-format bottles. The by-the-glass program will feature a rotating glass pour from magnum bottles - another exciting experience for wine-lovers - as well as exclusive wines from Patz & Hall in California, and Tony Soter winery in Willamette Valley, Ore.
The menu will list the wines from lightest to fullest in body, with a foreword that explains the restaurant's vision and focus. Wismeier will be assisted on the restaurant floor at all times by a second sommelier, who will help guide guests to their ideal imbibing experience.
Contemporary Twists to Vintage Cocktails
Thanks to Antoine Peychaud, New Orleans has of the strongest influences on the history of cocktails of any city in the country. Although Peychaud originally used his family bitters recipe for medicinal purposes, he secured a place in cocktail history for mixing the tonic with brandy and serving the spiced coquetiers on Royal Street.
The non-French speaking population pronounced the word "cock-tay" which led to imbibers slurring the word into "cocktail," as it is known today. Driven by the city's sophistication during a time that shaped the cocktail culture in the United States, Restaurant R'evolution plans to maintain and advance New Orleans' cocktail legacy.
Restaurant R'evolution will feature chef-driven seasonal cocktails inspired by Pre-Prohibition-era libations. The bar and cocktail program will focus on classic, "gilded age" cocktails, reimagined through a modern lens and emphasizing fresh ingredients. The seasonally changing drinks will complement the restaurant's menu. Offerings will range from riffs on old-fashioned mixtures such as the Sazerac and classic aperitifs, to cocktails made with small-batch spirits and hand-crafted ingredients such as Creole bitters, Cherry Bounce, absinthe and chef-crafted ratafias infused with flavors from camelia, persimmon and blancs. A large portion of the fresh produce and herbs used at Bar R'evolution will be grown at Chef John Folse's White Oak Plantation in Baton Rouge, La.
Life on Tap
The Restaurant R'evolution beverage program also will feature an array of seasonally rotating bottled beers from local craft breweries including Abita, Heiner Brau and NOLA Brewery, as well as a range of craft beers on draft that will change periodically.
Wismeier and the Bar R'evolution team are working with a local brewery to develop a special custom draft for Restaurant R'evolution, as well.
About the Director of Wine & Spirits, Molly Wismeier
Although she came to the world of wine and spirits via an unlikely path - an undergraduate degree in Russian from the University of Iowa - Wismeier nevertheless finds a strong connection between these two life experiences. Her post-college work as a translator prepared her to act as a translator for diners, helping them understand wine lists and guiding them to their perfect pairings.
While working as a translator in Denver, and to ensure a steadier income, she also worked part time at restaurants, accepting her first sommelier position in 1999 at Enoteca Wine Bar. Wismeier quickly realized that she enjoyed working with wine, and the job opened her up to new career possibilities.
Relocating to Chicago in 2002, Wismeier continued to learn on the job, working as a sommelier at Cru Café for three years before moving to Ambria, where she maintained a 1,000-bottle wine list that emphasized Burgundy, Bordeaux and Spanish wines.
In 2005, she became sommelier at the venerable Charlie Trotter's, where she managed the restaurant's world-renowned wine program and was responsible for educating staff about wine and service.
In 2007, Wismeier became director of wine and spirits for Cenitare Restaurants, in Buffalo Grove, Ill. In this capacity, she oversaw training of staff, including sommeliers, for three restaurants.
In 2009, Wismeier joined Epic restaurant in Chicago as wine director and was helping to propel the award-winning restaurant to local and national acclaim when chefs John Folse and Rick Tramonto approached her with an opportunity to work with them on Restaurant R'evolution. She relocated to New Orleans in late 2010 and has since immersed herself in New Orleans' hospitality-driven culture as she engineers Restaurant R'evolution's comprehensive and wide-ranging wine program.
"This program is going to be very focused on the New Orleans culture and its spirit of imbibing and enjoying life," says Wismeier. "I'm honored to be involved with the restaurant and my hope is that guests come in to partake in a cocktail, sip the history, savor the moment and indulge in conversation."
Outside of the dining room, Wismeier is a notable presence at a number of wine and food events around the world. She appeared at the 2010 Pebble Beach Food and Wine festival as one of 25 top sommeliers from around the country.
About Restaurant R'evolution
Restaurant R'evolution is the first joint venture of award-winning chefs John Folse and Rick Tramonto, offering modern, imaginative reinterpretations of classic Cajun and Creole cuisine. Slated to open in fall 2011, the 200-seat restaurant will be located at the Royal Sonesta Hotel New Orleans, in the heart of the city's legendary French Quarter overlooking charming Bienville Street. Just as chefs Folse and Tramonto intend to "R'evolutionize" Cajun and Creole cuisine, the design of Restaurant R'evolution, by the Johnson Studio in Atlanta, will fuse the historic references to create a setting reflective of the architectural details and warm, comfortable décor typical of many of the grand homes and properties in the celebrated French Quarter. The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner daily, as well as Sunday brunch. For more information about Restaurant R'evolution, please visit www.revolutionnola.com.