The James Beard award winning chef and owner of Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails, Janos Wilder, is cooking up something a little different for his newest venture. Rather than opening another restaurant space, Wilder is focusing his efforts on a multi-purpose event space that will host everything from Sunday dim sum brunches to wedding parties to concerts to cooking classes and more.
The Carriage House, located at 146 E. Broadway Blvd. just east of his Downtown restaurant, is a 4,000-square-foot space—1,000 square-feet of which are kitchen space—offering a 150-to-200-person capacity event space, depending on if the event is fully seated. Although private events, such as weddings, corporate parties and fundraisers, are certainly part of Wilder's vision for The Carriage House, it's only a fraction of the concept's intended purpose.
"It has a lot of different pieces," Wilder says. "It was too fun not to do. We've been looking for almost five years to do it."
Special "community building" events, including a Day of the Dead dinner, concerts featuring local and international talent, a New Year's Eve dinner and Sunday dim sum brunches, are planned for the space as well, though Wilder says a start date for the brunches is still to be announced. The catering kitchen will be run by executive chef Devon Sanner, who has worked with Janos for the last decade.
The "full-on commissary kitchen" will also offer cooking classes with a "roster of 12 or so restaurant chefs teaching." Although Wilder says the classes, which have a capacity for 70 demo or 20 hands-on students, are mostly "consumer focused" with a series of classes "centered around home cooking," he expects there to be some trade or professional-level classes in butchery or bartending from local masters of the craft. Classes focused on public health in conjunction with TMC are also in the works.
Currently scheduled classes include chef Wilder on Saturday, Feb. 27 (11 a.m.), chef Jerry Alday on Tuesday, Mar. 1 (6 p.m.) and executive chef Devon Sanner on Saturday, Mar. 5 (11 a.m.). Future chef instructors include Jonathan Landeen of Jonathan’s Cork, Maria Mazon of Boca Tacos y Tequila, Ken Harvey of Loews Ventana Canyon and Jim Murphy of Kingfisher. The space will also be outfitted with video equipment to film the classes with recordings available for purchase for attendees.
The fee per person, per class is $60, which includes the cooking demonstration, featured recipes and dish sampling. Reservations for the first series of cooking classes can be made via The Carriage House website
beginning Saturday, Jan. 2.