NEW ORLEANS — When the 238-Chamber Virgin Hotels New Orleans opens its doors in the bustling Warehouse District, local foodies will see a familiar face behind the hotel’s culinary operations. The lifestyle hotel brand by Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson has just announced that New Orleans’ Alex Harrell will serve as Executive Chef of Commons Club, the hotel’s flagship restaurant, bar and lounge set to debut late-summer 2021.
According to Virgin Hotels’ Vice President of Food & Beverage Owen Deignan, “Virgin Hotels New Orleans will celebrate the very best of what the city has to offer and of course, that includes amazing food. We are thrilled to have the incredibly talented Chef Harrell join our team and bring his creative and modernized approach, while remaining true to traditional Southern Cuisine.”
Since moving to New Orleans in 1998 to work under Chef Susan Spicer at Bayona, Harrell has been a mainstay on the Crescent City’s culinary landscape with stints at some of the city’s acclaimed restaurants including Ralphs on the Park, Table One and Sylvain, where he served as opening Chef. In 2015, the talented toque opened his first solo venture, Angeline, a French Quarter bistro known for its contemporary Southern cuisine and charming interiors. In 2018 Harrell accepted a position as Executive Chef to open Elysian Bar at the Peter & Paul Hotel in New Orleans’ Marigny neighborhood. Under his tutelage, the restaurant earned a “Best New Restaurant” nomination by the James Beard Foundation and was named a “Hot 10 New Restaurant in 2019” by Bon Appètit magazine.
Serving as the social epicenter of Virgin Hotels New Orleans, Commons Club will anchor the main entrance of the hotel and offer a modern social club experience for locals and visitors alike. Through neighborhood-centric influences, the restaurant, bar and lounge spaces work harmoniously to create an inviting vibe catering to a variety of moods. The menu, under Harrell’s direction, will showcase contemporary American cuisine with a Southern sensibility.
Virgin Hotels New Orleans is set to debut in late-summer 2021 at 550 Baronne St. in New Orleans, Louisiana, for more details visit commonsclub.com/new-orleans.