Today, on Tuesday, January 17th, renowned restaurateur Giorgios Bakatsias is opening Giorgios Hospitality Group’s fourteenth restaurant with Chef Brian Jenzer and partner Laszlo Lukasi – the duo who also leads Rosewater Kitchen at Bar located nearby in North Hills. Las Ramblas is named for the famed “Las Ramblas” boulevard in Barcelona, Spain where the restaurants, cafes and markets contribute to Europe’s most vibrant and delicious tapas destination. Diners will discover small format Spanish influenced dishes ideal for sharing, complemented by Spanish wines, Sherry’s, Sherry cocktails, and craft beers. Look for Jenzer’s modern updates to traditional Spanish tapas – including Pan Con Tomate, Patatas Bravas, Croquettes, Boquerones, Tuna Tartare and Spanish octopus. Specialty dishes include Jenzer’s Suckling Pig with mojo verde, Fideo with shrimp, saffron and fresnos, and of course, shaved Iberico ham. And diners will not want to miss Pastry Chef Ashton Stephen’s Basque style cheesecake and warm Churros with chocolate and cinnamon sugar.
Las Ramblas features seating for 90 in the bustling bar, festive dining room with hearth oven, and 30 outdoors on the patio. In signature Bakatsias style, the theatrical setting offers a variety of seating areas, views of the chefs at the hearth oven, colorful murals depicting Spanish La Ferias dancers, and a Toro Bravo, or Spanish bull, over the bar. Las Ramblas (formerly Piola) is located at 141 Park at North Hills. www.lasramblasraleigh.com; @LasRamblasRaleigh
“Brian’s creativity has always impressed our guests at Rosewater and now we’re honored to have him sharing his passion for Spanish food, and inspiration from his recent trip to Barcelona, through this fantastic tapas menu at Las Ramblas,” explained Bakatsias, who is known for promoting chefs within the GHG restaurant group. “Brian’s talent and style are varied thanks to his outstanding experiences cooking around the world – from California and New York City to Singapore and North Carolina,” said Bakatsias. “We’re excited to expand our work with such a dedicated chef – especially one who knows our loyal guests in North Hills so well,” explained Laszlo Lukacsi, partner with Bakatsias in Rosewater Kitchen & Bar and Las Ramblas in Raleigh, as well as Farm Table Kitchen & Bar and Gatehouse Tavern in Wake Forest.
Brian Jenzer – who will be Executive Chef of Rosewater Kitchen & Bar and Las Ramblas says, “I’m thankful for this incredible opportunity for me as a chef and partner in Las Ramblas – to share the modern tapas style dishes I fell in love with in Barcelona. Giorgios brings the inspiration, and empowers us to bring our own talent and passion to the table.”
Jenzer, who graduated the Culinary Institute of America in 2007 and hails from Huntington Beach, California, has first-hand experience in kitchens across the globe. He first became enamored with cooking on his uncle’s farm in Colombia, where he learned the art of butchering and roasting his first pig. Among his most notable chef experiences, Jenzer learned about food integrity and hospitality from world renowned Chef David Chang while working at the groundbreaking Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York City. He broadened his knowledge of ingredients and cuisine styles while working for globally acclaimed Chef Akmal Anuar at Iggy’s in Singapore – one of the “World’s 50 Best Restaurants.” Jenzer’s career also boasts stints at Quality Italian in New York City and Social Costa Mesa in California, before landing in Raleigh as Executive Chef of Trophy Tap & Table. After two years as Executive Chef, GHG tapped Jenzer for the opening team of Rosewater, and in March 2020 promoted him to Executive Chef of their popular garden restaurant in North Hills, and now as Chef/Partner of Las Ramblas.
Partner Laszlo Lukacsi, a mastermind behind the Giorgios Hospitality Group operations for the past 20 years, manages and oversees the company’s existing and prospective business concept development/operations and acts as financial advisor. Lukacsi’s integrity and savvy business acumen have contributed to GHG’s consistent growth and success. At 22 years old, with a degree in Business Administration and Political Sciences, Lukacsi immigrated to America from Hungary on his own, the first of his family’s generation to relocate. He quickly emersed himself in American culture by bartending and managing restaurants for GHG, while gaining a keen understanding of the hospitality world. Laszlo Lukacsi is co-owner/ partner for several of GHG’s properties – Farm Table (Wake Forest), Gatehouse Tavern (Wake Forest), Rosewater Kitchen & Bar (Raleigh), and the forthcoming Las Ramblas (Raleigh).
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