NASHVILLE–The Hermitage Hotel, Nashville’s premier luxury hotel, today announced the opening of Drusie & Darr by Jean-Georges, a new restaurant and bar by internationally celebrated chef and restaurateur Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Drusie & Darr marks Jean-Georges’ first restaurant in the South and comes on the cusp of a property-wide revitalization after The Hermitage Hotel opened its doors nearly 112 years ago.
Many times throughout its history, The Hermitage Hotel has set the tone for dining in Nashville. Drusie & Darr now brings a fresh, modern dining destination to the city and a rejuvenated space from award-winning interior designer Thomas Juul-Hansen.
“It’s an honor to be a part of the growth of Nashville’s prominent food scene,” said Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. “With Drusie & Darr, I wanted to bring a taste of Jean-Georges to Nashville with influences from the community, city, and history of The Hermitage Hotel to offer something fresh and exciting.”
Admired for his acumen as a Michelin-starred chef, tastemaker and businessman operating 40 acclaimed restaurants around the globe, Jean-Georges has envisioned a convivial, contemporary restaurant and bar with Drusie & Darr that showcase the abundance of Tennessee’s regional produce, some of which is sourced from The Hermitage Hotel’s Garden at The Land Trust for Tennessee’s Glen Leven Farm. Working alongside Jean-Georges once again is Executive Chef Kelsi Armijo, who has helmed the kitchens of prestigious establishments throughout the United States including the opening of Jean-Georges Steakhouse at ARIA in Las Vegas.
Drusie & Darr’s modern American menu, inspired by the seasons with Asian influences, focuses on artisanal and sustainable produce at its peak. Offering elevated, yet approachable cuisine, Drusie & Darr will welcome hotel guests and neighbors alike for any occasion – from cocktails and a sophisticated evening out, to a glass of wine and pizza from the wood-fired oven, or a relaxed family dinner. The menu features a combination of Jean-Georges’ signature dishes such as his famed Tuna Tartare and new dishes inspired by the locale like the Fried Organic Chicken with Habanero Hot Sauce. The common thread is a kick of spice and acidity, inspired by both Jean-Georges’ signature cooking style and the flavor preferences of Nashville. Additional stand-out items include the Crispy Sushi, Celeriac Katsu, Black Truffle Pizza and Roasted Black Sea Bass with Poppyseed Buttermilk Sauce.
Drusie & Darr’s wine list offers 90 selections, spanning every corner of the wine growing world including Burgundy, Bordeaux and California. Drusie & Darr’s wine list has a focus on the classics with newer discoveries placed throughout – from the haut couture wines of Ghislaine Barthod in Chambolle-Musigny to the new wave bottlings of Maitre de Chai in California. Innovative cocktails and craft beers from Nashville round out the beverage menu and can be enjoyed at the sensually lit, atmospheric bar and lounge. The bar has been preserved and extended, complementing the dining room and enhancing the energy of both spaces. The bar features a restored, coffered ceiling, dark grey marble bar, light pink and steal blue seating, and original stain glass. A gilded partition separates the dining area from the bar, making the bar at Drusie & Darr a destination unto itself with access to the restaurant’s full menu.
The restaurant is named after brother and sister Drusie and Darr Hall, who lived at The Hermitage Hotel with their father Dick Hall, the hotel’s former General Manager. From the name of the restaurant to the interior design, Jean-Georges and The Hermitage Hotel team felt passionately about preserving the history and legacy of the hotel.
Drusie & Darr’s warm and welcoming interiors feature restored 1902 Beaux-Arts details, such as vaulted ceilings and original oak walls, complemented by a state-of-the-art open kitchen with a larger square footage than before, glamorous modern décor from Thomas Juul-Hansen, and dramatic lighting from world-renowned L’Observatoire International. All furnishings, from the mother-of-pearl pendant lamps to the seating, tables and curved, banquettes in blue velvet, are entirely custom to Drusie & Darr. Also new: a stunning pink-marble ladies’ room, the 21st century answer to The Hermitage Hotel’s famous 1930s-era Art Deco men’s room. Taking its cue from the men’s room’s horizontal tilework in stripes of lime green and black, the new ladies’ room is lavishly decorated with striped walls of variegated pink marble, pink sinks and toilets, inlaid marble flooring, arched doorways, rose gold-framed mirrors and glamorous lighting throughout.
The Hermitage Hotel’s partnership with Jean-Georges derived from hotel owners Molly and Robert Hardie following the opening of Marigold restaurant at the hotel’s sister property, Keswick Hall, in Charlottesville, VA. Jean-Georges worked closely with Molly and Robert Hardie and Thomas Juul-Hansen, the mastermind behind the interiors of many Jean-Georges’ restaurants, to give the space a modern update while honoring the room’s iconic architectural details.
“As stewards of The Hermitage Hotel, we are pleased to help usher in a new era for this Nashville treasure,” said owners Robert and Molly Hardie. “It has been a pleasure to work hand in hand with Jean-Georges on the opening of Drusie & Darr and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the outcome.”
Drusie & Darr is located in the heart of downtown Nashville, steps away from the State Capitol, Tennessee Performing Arts Center, Ryman Auditorium, Nashville Arena and historic 2nd Avenue. The new dining destination is the latest development of The Hermitage Hotel’s top-to-bottom design refresh seamlessly blending the past with the present. With the revitalization of its guest rooms, lobby and common spaces, the hotel is meticulously preserving its cherished architecture while introducing a fresh, new color palette, updated furnishings and more. Slated to open in January 2022 is The Pink Hermit, a chic café conceived by Jean-Georges and The Hermitage Hotel team and designed by Juul-Hansen. Clad in pale pink and gray marble, the intimate space will evolve throughout the day serving as a coffee bar with delectable pastries in the morning, a casual take-away for lunch, and a wine bar, complete with small bites, Champagne and craft cocktails, in the evening.
“As Nashville’s social epicenter for over a century, The Hermitage Hotel is excited to introduce a new gathering place in step with the times and where everyone feels welcome,” said Dee Patel, Managing Director, The Hermitage Hotel. “Our wish is for guests and neighbors alike to return for years to come.”