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Monday, September 22, 2014

Jeff "Beachbum" Berry announces staff for tiki bar Latitude 29

Posted By on Mon, Sep 22, 2014 at 1:41 PM

Jeff "Beachbum" Berry will open Latitude 29 in October. - OLIVIER KONIG
  • Jeff "Beachbum" Berry will open Latitude 29 in October.

Tiki drinks expert Jeff "Beachbum" Berry expects to open his tiki bar Latitude 29 in October in the Bienville House Hotel. Berry and wife Annene Kaye, who will be the general manager, announced several notable staff additions today.

Steve Yamada is already signed on to run the bar. Joining him are Hadi Ktiri and Brad Smith. Ktiri will be familiar to fans of French 75 at Arnaud's. Ktiri became the beverage supervisor at The Roosevelt Hotel in spring of this year. Smith moves to Latitude 29 from Maurepas Foods. It's a return to tiki for Smith, who formerly worked at Psycho Suzi's Motor Lounge in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Berry says.

"Our bar team is exciting," Berry says. "Some real world-class people."

Chris Shortall will run the kitchen. He's a veteran of Restaurant August and Coquette and is known for serving barbecue at Twelve Mile Limit. Latitude 29 is a full-service restaurant offering what it is calling PolynAsian food, a mix of Cantonese- and Polynesian-inspired dishes.

"Chris is digging deep into Asian flavors," Berry says. "He's modernizing it and tiki-fying it."

Shortall is joined by sous chef James Rivard, who worked for him at Shortall's BBQ.

Construction continues at Latitude 29, which is taking over the space formerly occupied by Iris. Renowned designer Bosko Hrnjak is creating tiki pieces, including six- and eight-foot-tall carved totems that will stand at the restaurant's private dining huts. The restaurant also has 40 chairs acquired from the Florida Polynesian institution, Mai Kai.

"Bosko is the guy who revitalized tiki carving in the ’90s," Berry says.

Berry also has a team working with reclaimed wood from a 19th-century mansion.

"The wood beams are 100 years old," he says. "It's got this aged wood, nautical vibe. It's some really creative stuff."

Berry previously announced that Rhiannon Enlil (Cure, The Erin Rose) will serve as events coordinator.

Latitude 29 will open from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

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