HotelChatter: How did this partnership come about and why did Renaissance pursue it?
Dan Vinh, VP of marketing for Renaissance Hotels: Many of us on the Renaissance team have real deep relationships with Blue Ribbon from our days steeped in the New York food scene. When we were brainstorming as a team about who we thought really embodied the Renaissance core values and philosophies, we all automatically sparked to Blue Ribbon – and sharing of fond memories experienced at the each of their restaurant.
So we reached out to the Bromberg brothers and our first meeting was at the Downing Street Wine bar where it was all about getting to know each other and getting comfortable with the folks behind our two brands. We didn’t really talk business so much as just connecting and seeing if there is an authentic relationship and a true partnership that can grow out of our shared passions and our love and protectiveness of our two brands. We got a tour of the bakery and heard from Bruce and Eric wonderful stories about how they found the oven in disrepair and nursed it back to the full glory that it is today.
And, coincidentally, the relationship between the brothers and Renaissance dates even further back to when the brothers’ dad would take them to Renaissance’s Stanford Court Hotel’s Fournou’s Ovens restaurant on visits to San Francisco. The brothers’ fascination with the world of cooking was inspired by these famous ovens (similar to the one they finally found at Blue Ribbon Bakery) and the California cuisine that emerged from them during these routine visits. And, Renaissance’s newest addition, St Croix Carambola hotel used to be the family’s vacation spot. So the partnership comes from real organic roots as well.
As Renaissance continues to expand our culinary program to meet our guests’ culinary passions, rather than go the traditional celebrity chef route, we felt our guests would appreciate having access to real in-the-know foodie brand like Blue Ribbon. Blue Ribbon has a loyal, almost cultish following, has a singular dedication to quality and is known for go-to signature dishes like their incredible fried chicken. And with our global footprint, Renaissance can help share this NY secret with our guests nationally, and hopefully globally.
HC: Blue Ribbon is well-known in NYC but what will it mean for the folks staying at Renaissance who've never heard of them or their food?
DV: This is actually one of main the reasons we decided to partner with Blue Ribbon as opposed to an existing national chain or celebrity chef. New Yorkers see Blue Ribbon restaurants as a culinary treat found only in New York City – the restaurants are hidden gems of this rich culinary city. To put it simply, the food is outstanding and speaks for itself.
The ambiance at each of their restaurant is comfortable enough for everyday dining yet special enough for celebrations. That’s the essence of Blue Ribbon. At Renaissance we pride ourselves in helping our customers discover these amazing, under-the-radar spots in the specific city they are staying in, whether that be the best coffee shop in a back street of San Francisco, a new art exhibit in Chicago, an authentic jazz club in New Orleans, or the best boutique shop in D.C.
Now we can bring this amazing New York “find” to our hotel guests and patrons across the country. It is also a great opportunity for those who are familiar with Blue Ribbon and love the cuisine to enjoy it even while they are traveling and on the road.
HC: Will the dishes be the same at each property or will you tailor the menu depending on the location?
DV: Each Renaissance property can choose up to 12 items to feature on their menu with a minimum of five items. That said, the original Renaissance menus will also be available, which differs from region to region depending on what that city is known for as well as what is in season.
HC: Can you "dish" on the next few properties that will feature Blue Ribbon delights?
DV: The next lucky cities to get a taste of our Blue Ribbon Classics menu will be San Francisco, Hollywood, Austin and D.C. Guests can visit www.renhotels.com for the latest information on the partnership and to stay up to date on news of the next city we’re hitting. We roll out in 2011 with the additional properties. As mentioned, the new R Lounge at the Renaissance New York Times Square Hotel is the first property to feature the Blue Ribbon menu.
Thanks Dan! We are looking forward to tasting some of these dishes on our next Renaissance hotel trip very soon! HotelChatter Mavens: Have you eaten Blue Ribbon at Renaissance? Tell us how it tasted! Details much appreciated!