For much of the 20th century, the 1926 building that we now recognize as the Raphael Hotel was an apartment building called the Villa Serena, and the lower-level space was a beauty parlor. When the building was turned into a boutique hotel, the Raphael, in 1975, the former salon was turned into an intimate restaurant called, simply, the Raphael Restaurant.
That will change in 2009, when the old Raphael Restaurant (which will close to the public on December 14) is reopened, tentatively on Valentine's Day, with a new look, a new name -- Chaz on the Plaza -- and a new menu. The culinary vision will remain the same: Longtime Raphael Restaurant chef Peter Hahn will continue as executive chef, and the style, says hotel publicist Rick Hughey, will still be upscale and intimate.
So where does the name come from? Who is Chaz? It's not named after the hotel's owner, Charlie Walker of the Salina-based Lighthouse Properties. "He doesn't go by Chaz," Hughey says. "They looked at a lot of different names for the restaurant and liked the feel of Chaz on the Plaza. It doesn't tie the restaurant down to a particular cuisine."
Where will Raphael Hotel guests eat breakfast for the next two months? "Two suites have been set aside for serving a continental breakfast in the mornings," Hughey says. For any other meal, guests will have to walk across Brush Creek.
— Charles Ferruzza