Thursday, May 30, 2013

Catbird Seat Chef Josh Habiger Gets Kicked Upstairs; Erik Anderson Stays in His Perch

Posted By on Thu, May 30, 2013 at 5:23 PM

Josh Habiger and Erik Andersoon
Remember Tuesday's news that Strategic Hospitality — which owns a variety of restaurant and bar concepts in Nashville, including the nationally lauded avant garde restaurant The Catbird Seat — is adding a new project called Pinewood Social in the Rolling Mill Hill development? Today we get another little update.

One of Catbird's duo of chefs, Josh Habiger, is not only creating the menu for Pinewood Social, he's leaving Catbird and getting bumped upstairs at the company. Here's today's announcement from Strategic Hospitality:

“It is with great enthusiasm that we announce that Chef Josh Habiger will be joining the Strategic Hospitality team in a new role as a guide for future projects, as well as opening his own restaurant with the company at a later time.

Because of Habiger’s new position, there will be a change in the future of The Catbird Seat. Habiger will begin his new role in July, and The Catbird Seat will continue to be led by Chef Erik Anderson.

We are excited to implement these new changes at The Catbird Seat and within Strategic Hospitality. We look forward to continuing to bring creative restaurant concepts to Nashville and appreciate the unwavering support the city has always provided to us.”

The Catbird Seat is an important restaurant player in Nashville, one of the biggest birdhouses on the It City's front porch, so I asked a company spokeswoman, Tara Tocco, about the status of Catbird in the future.

She said The Catbird Seat's concept will "function as it always has," but "Erik's going to lead the charge." Some stations in the little chef's bar kitchen will change, she said, and Erik will probably get some more staff help. Otherwise, it's business as usual.

In addition to prodigious chef skills, Habiger has always had an avid interest in the cocktail side. He helped launch Strategic Hospitality's neo-speakeasy Patterson House, as well as helping kick off Grant Achatz's cocktail palace in Chicago, The Aviary. So maybe it makes sense for him to work on the company's big picture.

Anderson, of course, is a really, really good chef; he's been up for a Beard award for his work in Minneapolis and has traveled widely, working in some of the world's top spots (including Alinea in Chicago and Noma in Denmark). So Catbird seems poised to stay in an enviable roost.

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