Merchants Hospitality, Inc. a premier owner, investor and developer of hotels, residential buildings, luxury real estate, and world class restaurants, announced the signing of John Villa as their newly appointed president of Philippe Brands, a celebrity hotspot for delivering haute Beijing style cuisine and luxurious dining in New York City. Villa comes to Philippe after 10 years at TAO, where he oversaw one of New York City’s highest grossing restaurants as senior executive and corporate chef.

“We are excited to have John Villa as part of our leadership team as he will bring his managerial talent and his culinary expertise to Philippe,” says Abraham Merchant, founder and CEO of Merchants Hospitality. “Villa’s work and success throughout the years at TAO Group, where he spearheaded the growth of TAO Restaurant and TAO Downtown and his extensive nightlife experience at Lavo, Bodega Negra and PHD Rooftop, will help elevate the Philippe brand into a global powerhouse.”

“I couldn’t be happier to join the Merchants Hospitality team, a firm that truly understands world class properties as well as the authenticity of Beijing cuisine,” Villa adds. “Guests not only come to Philippe for the food, but ultimately stay for the incredible vibe and experience.  The atmosphere of the restaurant will continue to buzz as we implement some cool new additions to our menu as well as within the restaurant.” 

Villa, an award-winning chef, has already introduced new trendy items such as the Tuna Tartare and the Baked Alaska with its fire presentation, which is already exploding all over social media. Villa will oversee the operations, strategic development and global roll out efforts under the Merchants Hospitality Group. Villa is working with Emmy Award winner, Regina Graves, who is one of the top movie set decorators who is adding bursts of the Philippe trademark red and contemporary touches to the already “in-vogue” look of the restaurant. Amanda Bourne, former Food Network personality, joined the Philippe team and will be the director of global events. Bourne’s extensive experience in international food and travel will assist in continuing to expand the Philippe brand worldwide.

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