The resort is in the midst of a restaurant makeover. KSL Partners, the group that purchased the inn about a year ago, is updating the atmosphere at Horizon's, Sunset Terrace, and Blue Ridge Dining room, adding a new bar/restaurant and providing more opportunities to sip cocktails outdoors.
In March, the inn hired a new executive chef, Todd Sicolo, who has a long history of working at resorts and country clubs around the nation, including the Bellagio Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Sicolo will replace chef Denny Trantham, who left the inn last fall.
Duane Fernandes, chef de cuisine at Horizon’s, departed the restaurant in March to become the chef at the forthcoming Isa’s Bistro downtown (where Restaurant Solace used to be in the Haywood Park Hotel). The inn hasn’t hired his replacement yet.
Tracey Johnston-Crum, the inn’s director of marketing and communications, says the changes are intended to make the restaurants more accessible for both locals and tourists. At Horizon’s, for example, a new bar area allows for casual, small-plate dining, no coat and tie required. “Under the direction of our food and beverage director, David Edwards, and our new executive chef, Todd Sicolo, the culinary level of what is being presented at Grove Park is rising to a new level to properly reflect a true Asheville dining experience,” she says.
Accordingly, the inn will embrace the craft beer scene. Later this year, Highland Brewing will release a beer to commemorate its centennial.