Two former contestants on the “Hell’s Kitchen” cooking show helmed by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay have accepted offers to run things at Butcher’s Cellar, an upscale restaurant to open soon in The Outlook near Highway 84 and Ritchie Road.
“Alejandro Najar, hailing from Ohio and a finalist on Season 21 of Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen, has been named our executive chef,” according to a press release. “He has sharpened his skills crisscrossing the nation traveling as a celebrity chef for much of the last year, but he is no newcomer by any means. Alejandro has been working in the industry since he was 14 years old and as a chef for the past 10 years. His self-described style is New American with Middle Eastern and Mediterranean undertones.”
Butcher’s Cellar is the brainchild of Waco businessman Matt Fatheree, who continues finish-out work at The Outlook at Bosque Ridge office and retail development. The steakhouse will cover 5,600 square feet, “with decor sourced from around the world,” spokesperson Sky Densman said.
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Densman said Fatheree’s spouse, Tiffany, became a fan of Najar’s work on cooking shows. The Fatherees shared their plans with him, invited him to Texas for a tour, and offered him a position, which he accepted. Joining him on the journey is Alyssa Osinga, also a Season 21 contestant on Hell’s Kitchen, who has been named chef de cuisine at Butcher’s Cellar.
“She has worked in kitchens from New York to Chicago and has traveled abroad honing her skills,” the press release says. “Her most recent experience is working as an Executive Sous Chef in a vegan restaurant, but she doesn’t want Texans to worry! She loves meat!”
Densman said Najar, from Ohio, and Osinga, from Florida, “have really just uprooted themselves and moved across the country.” Growing up in a small town in Ohio, Najar does not simply want to run a restaurant, he wants to become part of the Greater Waco community, Densman said.
The press release says the Fatherees envision Butcher’s Cellar as “a unique and upscale restaurant serving chophouse steaks and fresh seafood with a first-class wine list. Situated on an urban bluff, the sunsets viewable from our main dining and patio are a true work of art, but peculiar pieces have been sourced from around the world to heighten the experience of dining with us.”
An opening date around mid-January appears likely, Densman said.
Travel over the Thanksgiving holiday looks like a mixed bag, according to AAA Texas, which predicts 4 million Texans will travel away from home between Nov. 22 and Nov. 26. That is a 2% increase from last year but a 4% drop from 2019, the last Thanksgiving before the pandemic.
AAA Texas expects 3.7 million Texans to travel by auto, 244,000 by plane, and 84,000 by other means.
“Texans who drive to their holiday destinations will be getting some relief at the pump compared to last year when filling up for their getaways,” according to a AAA Texas press release. “Gas prices are averaging about 30 cents a gallon less than this time last year and have been continuously dropping since October, with most local metro areas averaging less than $3.00 a gallon.”
Low prices around Waco on Monday included $2.52 per gallon for regular unleaded at the Valero-Circle K at 335 West State Highway 6; $2.57 at Sam’s Club on East Waco Drive; and $2.62 at Pilot Flying J and Raceway.
Here’s betting someone in the inspection services department at Waco City Hall developed a serious writer’s cramp on Nov. 7.
IMS Construction that day secured 31 permits to build apartment buildings at 1210 N. Old Robinson Road, a product of Wayfare Development Group. Each building will hold either four or six one-story apartments with garages, each four-apartment building permitted with an estimate of $341,300, each six-apartment version estimated at $511,950, according to information provided by the local Associated General Contractors of America office.
On Nov. 3, IMS also secured a $400,000 permit for a clubhouse.
Athena Leadership Award
Congratulations to Waco Police Chief Sheryl Victorian, who last week received the 2023 Athena Leadership Award presented by the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce as part of the Leading Waco Women Summit Series.
Victorian in March 2021 was sworn in as Waco’s first female police chief and Waco’s first Black police chief. She had worked in the Houston Police Department 28 years prior to becoming Waco’s police chief.
Felecia Mulkey, head acrobatics and tumbling coach at Baylor University, was featured speaker at the gathering Friday.
My wife and I occasionally talk about busy stores and restaurants and whose revenue stream for a week, day or hour we would most like to access. Examples include Walmart on Black Friday; George’s before or after a Baylor University sporting event; Chick-fil-A almost anytime; Cupp’s Drive Inn between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.; Rosa’s Cafe on Taco Tuesday.
Yours truly would like to add another name and time to the list: the 7-Eleven store at 701 S. University Parks Drive around noontime. Construction workers invade the place, hungry and thirsty from work nearby on Baylor University’s new basketball arena and other ongoing projects.