JW Marriott Austin announced today the names and concepts behind the hotel's three restaurants: Osteria Pronto, Corner, and Burger Bar. New culinary team members and the food and beverage director were also announced.
Executive Chef Juan Martinez was appointed in July 2014 and will oversee culinary operations for the three restaurants as well as banquets and events.
Osteria Pronto is a full-service regional Italian restaurant. Using a thoughtful approach to cooking from scratch and a sincere commitment to fresh, local ingredients, Osteria Pronto's menu is designed to offer a twist on classic Italian dishes with simple, distinctive flavors.
General manager Kris Johnson and Executive Chef Gilberto Ramirez will lead the culinary team at Osteria Pronto.
Johnson brings more than a decade of restaurant experience to the hotel having held a number of managerial positions at popular restaurants in Dallas including Sullivan's Steakhouse, Cool River Cafe, and Bob's Steak & Chop House. Before joining the JW Marriott Austin team, Johnson served as the general manager at Bob's Steak & Chop House in Austin.
Chef Ramirez's passion for cooking began at the age of 13 while working in his family's restaurant and helping his father raise goats, chickens, and pigs on their family farm.
In 2005, he earned his culinary arts degree from the Orlando Culinary Academy and began his career at the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes Resort restaurant, Citron. Chef Ramirez excelled at the resort and became the chef de cuisine for world-renowned Chef Melissa Kelly at the famed Primo restaurant located inside the resort.
"We are excited and proud to have such a talented and experienced team in place," says Scott Blalock, general manager of the JW Marriott Austin. "We are thrilled to have the opportunity to provide the best culinary experience possible for our hotel guests as well as the local community."
Corner is a lively restaurant that will serve Texas-inspired cuisine using fresh, local ingredients and will highlight crafted tequila cocktails. The menu will have a selection of grilled meat and fish, and variety of local craft beers on tap, as well as several Texas wines and spirits.
Executive Chef Jennifer Etzkin will lead the culinary operations at Corner, and Brian Jaymont will serve as the general manager.
Jaymont brings more than 15 years of restaurant experience to the Corner team. He previously worked at the Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel where he held the position of director of restaurants. In this role, Jaymont oversaw the hotel's all-day dining restaurant, in-room dining, Bar Novo, and Illy Cafe.
Chef Etzkin brings a variety of experiences to her role as the executive chef at Corner. She graduated with honors from The Institute of Culinary Education of New York City and has worked at renowned restaurants including Eleven Madison Park and Atlantic Grill, both located in New York City. She joins the JW Marriott Austin from her recent role as director of culinary training for the Hillstone Restaurant Group.
Johann Runarsson will be joining the JW Marriot Austin team as the new director of food and beverage for the hotel. Runarsson is a native of Iceland and earned a degree in hotel management and food and beverage operations from Cesar Ritz Colleges in Switzerland and a degree in hotel and restaurant administration from Washington State University.
After completing his education, Runarsson moved to the Boston area and served as the banquet manager for hotels including the Hyatt Regency in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the Westin Copley Place Boston Hotel. Prior to joining the JW Marriott Austin, Runarsson was the director of food and beverage at the Park Hyatt Resort in Beaver Creek, Colorado.
The third restaurant at the JW Marriott Austin, Burger Bar on Congress, has a walk-up food truck-style window on Congress Avenue. Burger Bar will serve burgers, hand-cut fries, and shakes at lunchtime and the early evening.
Set to open on Friday, Feb. 13, 2015, the 34-story JW Marriott Austin will not only be the largest hotel in Austin, but also the largest JW Marriott in North America and the second-largest JW Marriott in the world. More than 512,000 room nights have already been contracted, with the first groups arriving the day the hotel opens.