Keller to take Bouchon to Beverly Hills

BEVERLY HILLS Calif. Famed chef Thomas Keller plans to open an outpost of his Bouchon bistro concept in Beverly Hills, Calif.

The move will mark a return to Southern California for the Napa Valley-based restaurateur, who once served as executive chef at the Checkers Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Known for his restaurants The French Laundry and Ad Hoc in Yountville, Calif., and Per Se in New York, Keller also operates Bouchon restaurants in Yountville and Las Vegas, as well as a Bouchon bakery in New York.

The Thomas Keller Restaurant Group has signed a lease for a location in Beverly Hill’s “Golden Triangle” business section, near the luxury Montage Hotel currently under construction. Scheduled to open in 2009, the planned two-story Bouchon location will include the French bistro-style restaurant, as well as a separate bakery offering pastries and savory take-away items.

Rory Herrmann, who most recently headed the private dining kitchen at Per Se, in New York, will serve as chef de cuisine at the new Bouchon.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group also will manage operations at a new restaurant planned by former French Laundry front-of-the-house manager Laura Cunningham. Scheduled to open next year, Cunningham plans to open Vita, which will feature Sicilian and Southern Italian fare.