Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Ritz-Carlton Launches "The Ritz-Carlton Bar Experience"; Latest High End Restaurant To Pay More Attention To Its Bar/Lounge

Not your grandmother's Ritz-Carlton

Joining the likes of Lacroix, Barclay Prime, Table 31, Le bec Fin and Morimoto, The Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia is the latest high-end shop to offer something new in its bar and/or lounge.

However, this actually comes down from the corporate parent: The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company has introduced a new nationwide initiative aimed at freshening up its food and drink menus at all of their hotel bars and lounges, to attract a younger, less rigid crowd.

From Hotel Chatter:
McNeill told us that the new Bar Experience is part of a long-term, large-scale food and beverage initiative across the chain that's meant to reinvigorate and reposition the brand, eliminating the "illusion of rigidity" the chain may have given off in the past, "creating a nice environment where you feel comfortable" in the bars and lounges.

With the change in the economy, McNeill felt the change in social behavior — people were going out in groups, looking to unwind after work — warranted a little bit of an adjustment to keep up with the times. These days, people most certainly aren't looking for anything stuffy.

He says, "when you're at a bar, the one thing you dont want to do is drink without eating — and we wanted to provide the kind of products in our bar that allow for social gathering." The food on the new menu is light fare and it's all about share-able plates; you know, so the first person who gets to the bar can kinda feel comfy ordering for everyone.

Oh, and in terms of price points: McNeill says, "Ritz wanted to break away from the image of everything being so expensive" — they're really trying to draw people away from the idea that the place is stuffy, and the prices on the new bar menus reflect that.
That sentiment sounds familiar.

Meanwhile, select menu items include: brie and parsley risotto balls with fresh tomato sauce; smoked salmon and arugula egg rolls; chilly water lobster flat bread and crispy calamari in remoulade sauce; bistro-style herbed Yukon fries; Jamaican Jerk marinated pork spring rolls with roasted tomato Habanero sauce.

Note: these items aren't necessary on the 10 Arts lounge menu — each hotel has a selection of the 30 new menu items.

As for drinks:
"Customers will always order a classic martini and this will certainly remain a signature drink on our cocktail menus, but our updated offerings include Chipotle Mango Margarita, and Blackberry Caipiroschka. Guest tastes are changing and our patrons often prefer premium vodkas combined with innovative herbal ingredients and fresh juices.

Between the new bar snacks, edible cocktails, and re-invented classic cocktails, we think The Ritz-Carlton Bar Experience will appeal to many new customers," said Bart Buiring, corporate vice president, food and beverage.
Say what you will about the whole fancy-restaurants-trying-to-be-cool thing. For our part, we are unapologetically grateful for this whole recessionary-bar-focus trend.

For. Reals.

Ritz-Carlton's Corporate Chef Discusses Their New 'Bar Experience' [ Hotel Chater ]
All Ritz-Carlton Hotels in the United States Launch The Ritz-Carlton Bar Experience [ Ritz-Carlton ]
New Bar Food: The Ritz-Carlton [ We Love DC ]
Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia [ Official Site]
10 Arts by Eric Ripert [ Official Site ]

Recessionary Dining: High-end Restaurants Adding And Emphasizing Bars/Lounges To Help Their Bottom Line


Anonymous said...

Great new concept recently went to the restaurant and saw their clever new menu, I wonder who is the design team behind these graphic and promotionals ?

Anonymous said...

I went to the launch party and heard that the design was done by Tasty Concepts in Georgetown