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Tyler Florence, GSP negotiating sit-down restaurant

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Friday, April 15, 2016

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Tyler Florence of Greenville is considering putting a sit-down restaurant at Greenville-Spartanburg International Aiirport. The photo with Valerie Bertinilli shows the co-hosts of

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Tyler Florence of Greenville is considering putting a sit-down restaurant at Greenville-Spartanburg International Aiirport. The photo with Valerie Bertinilli shows the co-hosts of "Comeback Kitchen" premiering May 9.

 

Wolfgang Puck putting signature "The Kitchen" restaurant at GSP

Wolfgang Puck is bringing his signature restaurant, The Kitchen, to the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport as part of the $125 million terminal improvement project, airport officials announced Thursday, April 28.

The restaurant is the piece de pièce de résistance of the Grand Hall that will house commissioned artworks of the historic upstate, other restaurants and amenities that will brand GSP as one of the most contemporary airports of its kind.

Updated since April 15

The sit-down restaurant gem of Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport’s $125 million terminal improvement project (Wingspan) appears to have snagged a popular national Food Network chef that began his culinary career in the Upstate.

Tyler Florence, a native of Greenville, is in final negotiations with GSP officials, to become the benchmark brand of the airport’s Grand Hall for passengers.

It is not Florence’s first foray into an airport restaurant. The Tyler Florence Rotisserie is part of Napa Farms Market at San Francisco International Airport.

GSP staff have enthusiastically described, in a series of speaking engagements and tours, of the final work being done at the airport. Specifically, the sit-down restaurant is the centerpiece emphasized surrounding other food and beverage vendors.

All talking points were designed to indirectly describe Florence and his Tyler Florence Group without outright identifying him.

Speaking at the Greer Chamber of Commerce’s First Friday luncheon in March, Rosylin Weston, GSP spokeswoman, described elements of the Grand Hall with its airside garden, eclectic commissioned art, variety of vendors and amenities.

When describing the unnamed restaurant, Weston noted the owner’s roots to Greenville, where his parents still live, being an author, educated in state with a culinary degree, and a personality on the food network – all of Florence's qualities.

Dave Edwards, President and CEO of the GSP Airport District, confirmed to GreerToday.com Florence is a top choice. “We hope that will be the case with some of the concession stuff we will be rolling out, especially in our sitdown restaurant,” Edwards said.

Edwards tossed a caveat. “We can’t unveil it yet. “That’s one, but it may not be it,” Edwards said. “So be careful, because that may be something that may not actually happen. We have another one out there as well, which would be very interesting and the only one of its kind in the Upstate.”

Donna Perrault, a spokesperson for the Tyler Florence Group, told GreerToday.com she could not confirm or deny the report.

“When I first heard about it my gut feeling was why? I would think it could be a risk for Tyler, but I also would think (GSP) would support him and pay for the restaurant’s existence,” said an upstate restaurateur familiar with Florence but not privileged to discuss the conversations. “It makes sense that he would not take a loss.”

Florence, graduate of College of Culinary Arts at the Charleston campus of Johnson and Wales University, has become an entrepreneur with his Tyler Florence Group.

Florence will co-host “Comeback Kitchen” with Valerie Bertinelli when it premier on May 8 at 8 p.m.

As executive chef of Cibo and operator of Cafeteria in Manhattan’s trendy Chelsea neighborhood, it got him recognized for guest appearances on the Food Network. That led to hosting “Food 911” on the cable network and hosting other Foot Network specials.

Florence, 45, has teamed up with ENZO Olive Oil in Madera to create an award-winning olive oil. That followed a gold medal won in March by the Tyler Florence Test Kitchen Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a California competition. Williams Sonoma stores offer the 16.9 fluid ounce bottle, with the blend certified organic, kosher and non-GMO.

And in April, Florence, culinary director at Bitty Foods, made Chiridos Cricket Flour Snack Chips a finalist of “Best New Snack or Convenience Food”.

Florence reportedly earned $3 million over three years for television commercials promoting featured menu items at Applebee’s restaurants. That allowed Florence to open his first signature restaurant, Wayfare Tavern, in San Francisco’s Financial District.

Florence lives in Mill Valley, Calif., with his wife, Tolan Clark, and three children.

 

 

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