How many restaurants?
Over the weekend, a few people asked me if I thought Jean-Robert de Cavel was going to start stretching himself too thin. They were talking about the news that he's going to open a cafe in Over-the-Rhine, near the new condominiums and other developments in the "Gateway Quarter" on Vine St.
It's something to think about: you don't want your best-known chef running around opening restaurants instead of paying attention to the quality of food at the ones he's got. But I don't think this particular enterprise is one that would stretch him too far. It's basically a coffee shop, they'll be selling the pastries that they already make at Greenup Cafe in Covington, will open for lunch if breakfast works, and open for dinner only if lunch works. It's not a new concept, there's not really a kitchen there.
De Cavel told me that "Greenup 2" is partly business, but that it's also "good will" too, and a desire to be part of a project that will help the city. It is a little risky, of course, but he opens restaurants that mean something to him. And in this climate, owning just a fine-dining restaurant is probably riskier. I'm glad he's willing to spread himself a little thin, and so far, I trust him to know when it's too much.