A deal is in the works for Anoosh Shariat to buy Henry’s Place (4864 Brownsboro Road), the upscale casual restaurant owned and operated by Pat McGinnis.
Shariat, the longtime Louisville restaurateur turned peripatetic consultant chef, said that if the deal closes as expected, he will take over the business Tuesday, Aug. 12, and continue operating it as Henry’s for at least a couple of months.
“After that, we plan on making changes to the menu and the name,” said Shariat, who’s spent the last three years on the road consulting with restaurant companies in Charlotte, N.C., and Indianapolis. Four years ago, Shariat and partner Paula Barmore sold Browning’s Restaurant & Brewery to current owners of Against the Grain. “We’re talking to everybody, and they think I should put my own brand on there.”
McGinnis opened the restaurant nearly two years ago as an investor, backing his brother-in-law, Charles Reed, as executive chef and partner. Reed left the business several months later, leaving McGinnis to keep it going. By all accounts, the restaurant is running well.
McGinnis declined to comment on the sale until all matters are official, saying only that he’s pleased the process has begun.
Shariat chose not to disclose the cost of the deal, saying “many details, like the value of the inventory,” still have to be worked out.
He said he’s grateful for the help of multiple partners who are sharing the investment in the business.
“We have a lot of silent partners and family members; they all stepped up to the plate to help,” he said. “People on three continents came together to get me in business back in Louisville!”
Most recently, Shariat worked for Cunningham Restaurant Group, an Indy-based multi-concept restaurant company currently building a restaurant to be named Mesh on the old Bauer’s Tavern site on Brownsboro Road. He left CRG after deciding it was time to come home to Louisville, but told owner Mike Cunningham he would like to work for him if he had not found another opportunity upon Mesh’s planned late-fall opening.
“My intention was to work in Louisville for them, but it’s taking them longer than expected to develop the site,” said Shariat, alluding to the construction of the all-new, modern facility. When the Henry’s opportunity arose, he said it felt right and ran forward with it. “Paula was the force behind me to say this is good for you, so let’s do it.”
Shariat said the chance to buy Henry’s arose less than one month ago. When he began discussions with McGinnis, he said he immediately liked McGinnis and his desire to keep the current staff employed by not shutting down the restaurant.
“I didn’t want anyone to get laid off either, and they’ve done a really good job running the place,” said Shariat, who applied for a liquor license on Aug. 1. “But this whole thing happened really quick. When I showed it to my family, it snowballed and the deal went into place. Now I’m trying to run around, finish the details and get vendors in place.”
Though he declined to give specifics about his vision for the restaurant, he did say he wants it to be more casual.
“I want to make it a comfortable place where people could come two or three times a week for lunch,” he said. A weekend brunch will soon follow, he added.
So is it safe to expect some signature Anoosh Shariat dishes on the new menu, items reminiscent of those he served more than a decade ago at his eponymous restaurant in Crescent Hill?
“Obviously, for dinner, that will be expected, but I really want to keep presentations simple and the emphasis on local and regional foods,” he said. A longtime vegetarian, Shariat said he’ll address the needs of a growing number of customers eager for meatless options. “I feel like there’s a group of people who are telling me they’re trying to eat vegan or vegetarian. So I want to create some good options for that.”