IMH Financial purchased MacArthur Place Hotel and Spa, including its restaurant Saddles, from owner Suzanne Brangham in October of last year, with the goal of creating a “5-star resort.”
To reach the new luxe resort goal, the new owners have hired Food Network personality Geoffrey Zakarian to help redesign MacArthur Place, a plan that includes closing Saddles and building a new restaurant elsewhere on the property.
Zakarian, always well dressed and wearing his white hair in a mini Mohawk, stars on “Chopped,” “Iron Chef” and daytime series, “The Kitchen.” Zakarian began his restaurant career as pastry chef and rose to chef de cuisine at New York’s famed Le Cirque, then worked in Paris, Lyon, Alsace, and the Dorchester in London. He took his first job as an executive chef at the Royalton Hotel, which led to his crossover career in restaurant and hotel design.
He opened his first restaurant, Town, in 2001 which, along with his subsequent restaurants, earned three stars from the New York Times and occasional Michelin stars. His National restaurant in New York’s Benjamin Hotel hatched more Nationals, as well as his Tudor House gastro-café in Florida’s South Beach. Donald Trump sued both Zakarian and renowned restaurateur José Andrés when they withdrew their restaurants from Trump’s Washington, D.C. hotel plans because of his remarks about immigrants.
MacArthur Place renovations will include a Mediterranean restaurant called “Layla,” apparently named for Leilani Burris, great granddaughter of property founder David Burris, according to the San Francisco Business Times. Layla will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, and include a “bar at MacArthur with a lounge vibe” with an all-day menu, and “Porch,” a coffee bar and marketplace with coffee and pastries, local honey and ice cream.
Rubén Cambero is MacArthur Place’s new general manager. His hotel management career began at his family’s Hotel El Peregrino in Spain, and at the right hand of his mother, a Michelin star chef.
Estimates put the project at $20 million, for which emails went out locally requesting investments of $25,000 with a letter from CEO Lawrence Bain anticipating a lucrative sale of the property “within the next five years.”