By Sarah Dill Reily
Gov. Phil Bryant admitted he doesn’t make it to many restaurant announcements to sample gumbo. “This one is very special,” he said.
One day earlier the governor was photographed cutting the ribbon on the NASA SpaceX testing partnership in Hancock County. This day, Bryant welcomed iconic chefs John Folse and Rick Tramonto’s Seafood R’evolution with the gusto he afforded the auto industry. “We are going to put people to work in this state,” said Bryant, announcing the 150 jobs the venture is slated to bring.
Bryant also touted the boost to the state’s culinary image the two celebrity chefs, both with award-winning restaurants, television series and best-selling cookbooks, would bring the state.
“It’s a real vote of confidence for Mississippi’s culinary culture,” said John T. Edge, the director of the Southern Foodways Alliance at the University of Mississippi. “What is significant about the restaurant is that Folse and Tramonto are not of Mississippi and yet pay homage to Mississippi thru it’s food culture.”
The 10,000-square-foot Seafood R’evolution with seating for 317 is set to open in September at Ridgeland’s Renaissance at Colony Park.
Louisiana’s culinary ambassador to the world, Chef Folse, was doing a pretty good job lifting up Mississippi as he introduced himself and the second act of their restaurant Seafood R’evolution with partner, Chicago’s Chef Tramonto.
Their restaurant development company, Home on the Range’s first endeavor, Restaurant R’evolution, opened in the New Orleans Royal Sonesta Hotel in 2012 and instantly won culinary acclaim.
Folse with his downhome “Cajun by the grace of God” drawl connected the dots on how their team arrived in Ridgeland. The Chef reminisced with excitement on his childhood vacations to Biloxi’s once flourishing Broadwater Beach Resort, flying over the state’s catfish ponds as Delta Pride’s executive chef; he talked of the relationships of supplying food to the Casino Magic Biloxi as well as being one of the founders of the Southern Foodways Alliance at the University of Mississippi in Oxford and his PBS television series partnership with Viking Range for more than 20 years. It was clear Mississippi had left Folse good memories and good luck in the growth of the chef’s career.
Chef Folse pronounced Mississippi as the “new culinary epicenter of the South.”
Folse said his and Tramonto’s new restaurant location visible from Interstate 55 was not chosen lightly. The chef duo spent time dining over fish at Chrechale’s Restaurant and mentioned longtime restaurants like Mayflower of Jackson, Doe’s Eat Place of Greenville and City Grocery of Oxford as paving the way for new food revolution in the region.
“We won’t disappoint you. The food will be great,” said Tramonto.
He has a passion for mentoring young chefs and plans to give back to their new Mississippi community.
If Folse can do for the culinary reputation of Mississippi what he did for the catfish industry and Delta Pride in the early 1980s, everyone had better hold on. He brought Mississippi catfish to Moscow and in the process, “Catfish brought down the iron curtain,” joked Folse. “I can proudly say it’s great to come home to Mississippi.”
Lead architect Bill Johnson of the The Johnson Studio in Atlanta said Seafood R’evolution will be a “Feast for the eyes as well as the palate.” Johnson has a longtime relationship with the chefs, designing their first restaurant of Chicago and R’evolution of New Orleans. For the Ridgeland location, Johnson has designed two main dining rooms inspired by “great Gulf resorts of the past”, a raw bar, three private rooms, outdoor patio dining and Bar R’evolution.
FACTS AND FIGURES
» Executive Chefs: John Folse and Rick Tramonto
» Address: 1000 Highland Colony Parkway, # 9017 Ridgeland, MS 39157
» Restaurant Phone: 601-853-FISH or 601-853-3474
» Pre-Opening Phone: 225-644-6000
» Website: www.seafoodrevolution.com
» Facebook: facebook.com/seafoodrevolution
» Twitter Handle: @SeafoodRevJxn
» InstaGram: seafoodrevolution
Hours of Operation:
» Dinner: 5:30 – 10:00 p.m.
» Sunday: Jazz Brunch 10:30 am. – 2 p.m.
Dinner 5:00 – 10:00 p.m.
» Bar R’evolution: Monday – Wednesday: Open at 5 p.m.
Thursday – Sunday: Open at 11 a.m.
» Cuisine: Chefs John Folse and Rick Tramonto will innovatively combine Folse’s classic Southern approach to seafood with Tramonto’s contemporary new-world style. While paying homage to Mississippi’s heritage, Seafood R’evolution will celebrate a cultural fusion of the foods and flavors that have shaped the culinary landscape of the Gulf Coast over generations.