James Beard Award-winning and Michelin-starred Chef Tony Mantuano, along with leading wine and hospitality expert Cathy Mantuano, announce the joining of forces with The Pizzuti Companies to direct the food and beverage program at the esteemed company’s luxury hotel development, The Joseph, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Nashville (401 Korean Veterans Boulevard). The husband and wife duo – respected worldwide for their breadth of talent and knowledge in Italian gastronomy – have moved to Nashville from their longtime home of Chicago, officially stepping into their role as Food & Beverage Partners. The hotel opens August 2020.
Working hand in hand with The Pizzuti Companies, the Mantuanos contribute their culinary expertise to a vision long imagined by President Joel Pizzuti. Together, they are developing creative direction, menus, execution and the spirit of hospitality for three distinct dining outlets. They will also oversee in-room dining and private function offerings at the forthcoming property, which opens in Nashville’s SoBro neighborhood later this year. The restaurants include Yolan, where the Mantuanos showcase what they are best known for, luxury Italian dining; Denim, a stunning rooftop lounge with food inspired by Italy’s casual eateries; and Four Walls, an intimate cocktail bar sporting hand-crafted concoctions and light “cicchetti”, or snacks.
“We couldn’t be happier to call Nashville our new home,” says Chef Mantuano. “We’re thrilled to add our brand of Italian cuisine to the community. And working with Pizzuti is such a natural fit; we share the same vision for building a place that speaks to ‘la bella figura’, an expression commonly used to describe the beautiful way of life in Italy. We want to provide an experience that is genuine, refined, delicious, gracious and rich with culture.”
Midwest-born and raised, Tony and Cathy Mantuano first brought fine Italian cuisine to Chicago at the award-winning Spiaggia – one of the country’s most revered Italian restaurants. They have built a reputation of excellence for both themselves and the restaurants they have opened in the decades since. A decorated, world-renowned chef with a passion for fostering raw talent (including mentees like Chefs Missy Robbins, Sarah Grueneberg and Joe Flamm) and a celebrated wine and hospitality expert with an endless curiosity for her craft, the couple first trained in Italy in the early 80s, when it was rare for Americans to stage overseas. They have returned every year since, learning in various kitchens – from small family trattorie to three-star Michelin restaurants. Their visits never cease to inspire the trailblazing duo.
“Those early trips connected us to our own heritage and the foundations of Italian food and wine,” adds Cathy Mantuano. “We planted seeds that, with every visit, bloomed further into lifelong relationships with Italy’s finest beacons of hospitality. Until this day, those friendships are founded on a mutual love of giving, respect for the ingredients we serve and respect for those that have come before us.”
The summation of these experiences have brought the Mantuanos to this exciting new chapter in their careers. The celebrated couple will bring their award-winning background to Nashville beginning with Yolan, a, fine Italian dining experience.
Cibo e Bevande / Food and Wine
At Yolan, guests can expect a menu featuring Italian food whose reverence of ingredients speaks for itself. From modern cuisine to heirloom, family recipes, Yolan’s inventive dishes pay homage to every region in the boot prepared with the utmost attention to detail. Pasta made in-house daily, thoughtfully sourced products from local farmers and Chef Mantuano’s personal rolodex of Italian purveyors provides guests with dishes like Risotto with lobster and saffron; Pasta all’Amatriciana with guanciale and tomatoes; Roasted Whole Fish with herbs, citrus and extra virgin olive oil; and Veal Milanese with celery, Parmigiano Reggiano and organic greens. For those seeking an extra luxurious touch, guests can enjoy Caviar Service with burrata, potato pancakes and chives, or perhaps the Bistecca Tomahawk with baked potato and herbed whipped lardo. House-made dolci include Gelati Assortiti; Olive Oil Cake with mascarpone; and more. Chef Mantuano’s cuisine is sophisticatedly simple, allowing the purity of the ingredients to take center stage.
A leading woman in hospitality, Cathy Mantuano brings unparalleled wine expertise to Yolan, creating a custom selection that pairs seamlessly with each menu item. More than 600 bottles will be visible from the restaurant’s airy dining room, including Italian labels such as Barolo and Barbaresco from Gaja and Vietti, Piemonte; Chianti Classico from Castello di Ama, Toscana; Champagne-method sparkling wines from Ferrari, Trentino and Ca` del Bosco, Franciacorta; and wines from American innovators such as California’s Iron Horse Vineyards, Field Recordings and Union Sacre as well as Oregon’s Swick. Expect to find a range of organic and biodynamic selections, as well as those made by prominent women winemakers from Italy and other parts of the world.
Whether paired by meal or by course – or even if guests are eager to experience something new – Cathy is passionate about sharing her knowledge and will lead the service team in indulging a spirit of curiosity. Additionally, Cathy will host a series of wine tastings, workshops and events to build a special community around wine in Nashville.
Spirits also play a significant role at Yolan. From hand crafted mixed drinks to extensive digestivi and amari selections housed on a custom-made cart and presented tableside, Italian cocktail culture will thrive.
Il Nome | Il Disegno /The Name I The Design
Every decision at The Joseph – named in honor of the Pizzuti patriarch, Joel’s grandfather – has been made with great intention to celebrate Nashville at its most refined. The experience at the 297-room luxury hotel will inspire the discerning traveler to fall more deeply in love with life through outstanding design, culture, art and – of course – cuisine. Yolan brings another figure from the Pizzuti family into focus – Yolanda Pizzuti, Joel’s grandmother. Yolan stands alone as a soulful beacon of family heritage, a heartbeat that feeds a hospitable, welcoming spirit.
Designed by Arquitectonica – highly regarded on the world architecture stage – guests will be embraced by warm energy and natural light drawn from the sweeping windows flanking the space’s soaring, 21-foot tall ceilings. Stepping into the restaurant from its 4th Avenue South entrance, one will be immediately drawn to the vibrant bar and lounge, ideal for socializing, or a pre- or post-dinner cocktail. The area seamlessly flows towards an espresso bar for quick orders of coffee, tea and fresh-from-the-oven baked goods. The space then extends to a 90-seat dining room that also includes an elegant private dining room for 14 and a special kitchen table for eight.
As with the Mantuano’s approach to their menu, the materials at Yolan have been sourced with tremendous care that contribute to a cosmopolitan experience. From a stunning copper bar top in the lounge and luxurious, black tufted leather banquettes and walnut tables with a mother of pearl inlet in the dining room – to a glass-ensconced, temperature-controlled wine wall holding 600+ bottles and rich touches of brass throughout the space – no detail has gone unconsidered. From the dining room, guests have a birds-eye view of a buzzing, jovial kitchen, home to a custom wood burning oven from Italy and whose entryway is framed by iconic Italian ingredients like wheels of imported Parmigiano Reggiano. Those seated at the kitchen table, just feet away from Chef Mantuano and his culinary team, will have the benefit of seeing the mastery of their craft come alive. This special table will also be utilized for one-of-a-kind tastings, dinners and more.
Compelling artwork will add to the sophistication of the dining room. The Pizzuti family – who has passionately built one of the largest, private contemporary art collections in the world – espouses “living with art”, enriching the guest experience by weaving it into every turn. Pieces from their own collection as well as specially commissioned works, including those from local artists to comprise The Tennessee Collection, will come alive throughout the hotel’s spaces.
All of these components add up to la bella figura – the Italian way of beautifully blending hospitality, art, design, food and culture into one’s everyday life. Pizzuti’s own heritage and love of Italian culture, not to mention a shared standard when it comes to quality espresso, make the alignment between him, Tony and Cathy that much more meaningful.
“Nashville is an incredibly storied place – it has layers of culture that we want to unearth and celebrate in the most thoughtful ways at The Joseph,” says Joel Pizzuti, himself an alum of Vanderbilt University. “It was important to partner with a culinary team who truly wanted to be as much a core part of the Nashville community as we do. When we met Tony and Cathy, it was clear that our love of Italy, our vision for dining today and our commitment to quality were in sync. Collectively, we want to introduce something that we think this city hasn’t yet seen and will love. We are grateful to have such talented partners and can’t wait to welcome both visitors and Nashvillians to the place we hope they will consider their second home.”