John Tesar is a Jedi of Self-Promotion
Back in January, chef John Tesar announced he was kind of over the whole Commissary, One Arts Plaza thing. He was pulling out and shifting his focus to a new restaurant on Westchester Drive in Preston Center.
Allison V. Smith
Spoon was what Tesar called the space, and bloggers got to blogging, and stories peppered the internet for the rest of the day like the restaurant was a done deal.
Except it wasn't.
A subsequent post on Side Dish published an email from the landlords of the Preston Center space saying they had decided not to work with the new concept. While Tesar had a draft lease and was working with designers to plan out the space, the deal was never finalized.
The Morning News ran a blog post, too. It implied that the landlord had somehow wronged Tesar in its delivery of the news. "If they want to end this relationship by sending a press release to Nancy Nichols...." Tesar told the News.
Rosebriar Holdings CEO William Hanks says it's not the company's policy to notify perspective tenants via press release when they decide to yank a deal. They sent the email to D Magazine as a protective measure so the publication would stop running stories stating their property would feature a restaurant by Tesar.
"We informed his brokers earlier this week," Hanks says. Hanks says he talked to Tesar's investor, too.
None of this is particularly newsworthy. Restaurant concepts, partnerships and leases fall through all the time, and the stories never get picked up by the media. But the ubiquitous coverage demonstrates a chef who's become a Jedi of self-promotion. Since a celebrated but tumultuous tenure at the Mansion, his biggest accomplishment was to open up and abandon a burger joint that made D Magazine's best new restaurants list -- despite the restaurant's widely held reputation for terrible service.
Cool, I guess, but in his time at the Commissary, he's managed a D Magazine cover story and regular coverage in nearly every media outlet in the DFW area. He even made the cover of the Observer's front page in our recent "Chefs Mouth Off" feature. (Editor's note: Yeah, that was dumb. The photo was just so pretty.)
Is this coverage deserved? Who knows. But it's pretty amazing that Tesar's emails and announcements and dialogues with media have spurred scores of blog posts about a restaurant that doesn't even exist yet.