The newest member of the Selland restaurant family is due for arrival. Gina Funk Nelson, who manages the Kitchen, is expecting to deliver a boy just about any time now. She's married to Josh Nelson, the stepson of restaurateur Randall Selland, who manages Ella Dining Room and Bar. That's the downtown restaurant named after Selland's granddaughter.
So with the Nelson's boy on the way, could this be the inspiration to launch a new restaurant?
"Randall says we have to pick a name that's a good restaurant name," says Gina.
Meanwhile, the Kitchen has a new manager with Nelson on maternity leave. She's been replaced by Jennifer Watson, a former server at Ella who went on to manage restaurants in New Mexico include a farm-to-table favorite called The Love Apple.
"We really liked her at Ella and she has the perfect touch and warmth for the Kitchen," says Gina. "We snatched her up because of her professionalism, and the passion for food, wine, and hospitality that we value at the Kitchen. The crew and the guests really like her."
Gina doesn't plan on returning to manage the Kitchen, but will instead focus on public relations and marketing for the Selland family of restaurants while raising her baby. Husband Josh plans to take two weeks off when the baby's born, and then it's back to Ella.
Over at L Wine Lounge and Urban Kitchen, chef Ame Harrington is back to cooking and creating menus following the birth of her daughter in June. On the day before giving birth to daughter Talulla, chef Ame had put in a hectic shift that included an offsite catering job and some work at the L. She left the restaurant around 10 p.m., and ended up delivering baby Tallula at home about three hours later. Producers of "Baby Story," are you listening?
Look for chef Ame's newest menu to reflect the fall harvest, with such items as bavette steak with heirloom squash and a pan seared pork chop with cranberry beans. We imagine Tallula won't be eating too much Gerber.