I ran into Pontes today at The Turnip Truck in the Gulch, where she was lunching with Brett Allen, a longtime Nashville restaurateur and wine director, and Alex Wendkos, a Burger Up veteran.
Turns out they're both going to be working with Pontes at Josephine. Wendkos, a dynamic young woman whom Pontes says has worked at Burger Up since its first day of operation, will be a manager when Josephine opens.
Allen, who spent 13 years at the pioneering Wild Boar restaurant and most recently worked as director of operations at 360 Bistro, will serve as general manager at Josephine at its launch. But within a few months he will transition to the general manager slot at Prima, another new restaurant, this one set for the ground floor of Terrazzo in the Gulch.
Both Josephine and Prima are projects of Community Hospitality LLC, a restaurant holding company for Pontes and her business partner Jim Lewis, a health care consulting executive. (As Bites reported in May, Prima's chef is Sal Avila, who's worked at City House, 360 Bistro and his own Jay Jay's Good Food Truck.)
We don't know that much specific about Prima's cuisine. Steaks have been mentioned. The original announcement in May said Prima will have a "modern fine-dining menu" ... with "a variety of international flavors" and an "advanced wine program." At that time Avila said the cuisine will be "farmer-defined," with an emphasis on fresh local vegetables.
Today Pontes mentioned the interior buildout, which is being designed by architect Nick Dryden, who also created Burger Up and Josephine. Pontes says the team is aiming to design "the sexiest restaurant in the United States."
Prima is still not expected to open before late spring or the middle of 2014. But Josephine is getting close. Pontes says chef Andy Little has been busy with preparations, and training of employees is underway.
The plan is to have friends and family private dining events Nov. 21-23, with Josephine officially opening its doors for dinner at 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24.
It will serve dinner starting at 5 p.m. Nov. 25-27. The restaurant will be closed Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, reopening for dinner at 5 p.m. Nov. 29.
I'll have more details on the hours once Josephine opens, but it looks like the restaurant will serve brunch at 11 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, and be closed on Tuesdays.
Josephine's address is 2316 12th Ave. S. in the 12 South Flats mixed-use building next to Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams; watch the Facebook page for updates.