Here’s one of the toughest parts of a journalist’s job: Knowing information that sources won’t confirm or deny, and rolling the dice on whether to publish that info anyway or wait.
I waited just shy of two weeks to report that Allan Rosenberg had left Citizen 7, where he was a consulting chef, to become culinary director at Anoosh Bistro. Both moves followed his June departure from Fontleroy’s, where he was partner and executive chef since last September.
Neither Rosenberg nor Shariat responded to requests for interviews, so I held tight.
And lost the scoop. Business First jumped before I did, convincing Rosenberg to chat and getting a brief interview for the publication’s online edition.
Win some, lose some. Sometimes patience is rewarded, other times not. Though technically not a dollar short, I’m clearly a day late on reporting Rosenberg’s move to rejoin Shariat, the affable and popular chef who mentored Rosenberg at Park Place restaurant. That spot, if you recall, was located on Main Street in the space now used as warehousing for barrel-aged beers at Against the Grain Brewery & Smokehouse. That was an early step in what’s become a lengthy odyssey of Rosenberg starts and brief stays at multiple restaurant companies in Louisville.
Following Rosenberg’s time at Park Place, he opened and closed Danielle’s, a solo venture in Clifton, and Papalino’s, a two-unit pizzeria company he started in the Highlands on Baxter Ave. Rosenberg’s partners in Papalino’s opened a second unit in Springhurst. Rosenberg closed the first pizzeria two years ago and sold his interest in the company to his partners, who operated the Springhurst pizzeria until closing it just weeks ago.
In 2014, at about the same time he was leaving Papalino’s, Rosenberg became chef de cuisine at The Place Downstairs, the subterranean and short-lived upscale concept operated in the basement of the J-Town Mussel & Burger Bar. A few months later he helped change the concept to Cena, a modestly upscale Italian concept that never caught on and closed 13 months later.
In the wake of that setback, Rosenberg set about creating Fontleroy’s, a modern-Southern casual restaurant in the Highlands that he and chain restaurateur Scott Dennison opened last fall. Yet as of this June, Rosenberg left Fontleroy’s after 10 months to work as a consulting chef at Citizen 7, a Latin-inspired taqueria and tequila bar opened in Norton Commons early this year. Since Citizen 7’s multiple partners prefer to stay off the record when talking to reporters, the connection to that concept and Fontleroy’s is a tad murky, but it’s arguably correct to call Rosenberg’s reassignment an intra-company move.
I talked to him about the change back in July, and discussed further work that he’d do as a consulting chef for Parlour, a pizzeria to be opened late this fall by roughly the same group behind Citizen 7. (It will be located near the Jeffersonville end of the Big Four footbridge.) A self-proclaimed “big fan of pizza”—a large slice is tattooed on Rosenberg’s left arm—he told me he was excited about a return to that crusty, saucy niche.
What he knew at that time that I didn’t was that his return to pizza would happen at Noosh Nosh, not at Parlour.
I found out a couple of months later via a tip from a source who said Rosenberg was on the move again, this time to Shariat’s operations. I requested interviews with both men to confirm or deny the rumor, but got no response. That was unusual for both, since each has shared off-the-record information with me before and, on some occasions, asked that I wait until a proper time to break the news.
Believing it’s best to have a relationship with a source than ruin it in a rush to publish first, I don’t recall a time when I’ve declined that request. So despite hearing nothing but crickets, I kept still while double checking the rumor with other sources, who confirmed Rosenberg’s transition.
So yesterday I saw Business First report the story, and in it Rosenberg confirmed he’d returned to Shariat’s fold, where he’ll be culinary director for the company. I can’t say I was happy, but I can’t say I was terribly mad, either. I stuck to my principles about how I handle confidential information, though it cost me a scoop. (Yeah, we journalists are competitive that way. Petty as it may seem to outsiders, it’s one way we rank our wins.)
I can’t imagine his partner at Fontleroy’s and his contract bosses at Citizen 7 were happy either, though I know they got the news many days before.
I shared my disappointment in a text to Rosenberg and Shariat, and Rosenberg responded with a call. A little late, I told him, but to his defense, he said he was protecting his own interests by keeping quiet overall. I told him I understood that, but I said he should have at least acknowledged I knew the story and asked me to wait. But that’s the risk in my business; his risks are different in his. We agreed professionally that our separate needs simply didn’t align, and we politely maneuvered the discussion toward details of his new post.
Rosenberg said his immediate focus is Anoosh Bistro, an impressive restaurant that I’d call Shariat’s best upscale effort ever in Louisville (much as I loved his namesake restaurant operated long ago in Crescent Hill). Rosenberg said Shariat wants him to review the menu, see what staples need to remain, what dishes can be modernized and what dishes can be replaced in a seasonal rotation. According to some of Rosenberg’s chef peers, refining, perfecting and creating dishes are skills he has in spades.
Rosenberg said to expect more wine- and cocktail-paired menus and the possibility of a nightly prix fixe offering. The return of Kyle Higgins as Bistro’s bartender, will help create these new pairings.
Rosenberg also said he’ll eventually move his focus to Noosh Nosh, which is located conveniently across the Brownsboro Center parking lot from Anoosh Bistro. The move will mark Rosenberg’s return to his beloved pizza, for at the heart of Noosh Nosh throbs an Italian, gas-fired pizza oven cloaked in ruby red tiles. The flaming beast produces some of the city’s best pies, hot breakfast items and caramelized hunks of juicy proteins in its searing-hot bowels. Few kitchen toys excite chefs like one of these.
Rosenberg’s peripatetic record posits the question of how long he’ll stay at Shariat’s side. By his own admission, he’s cursed with an extreme culinary curiosity, one that sends him plunging into the piles of cookbooks stacked at home. It also seems to lead him from restaurant to restaurant in search of fresh stimuli.
Perhaps the return to Team Shariat and giving in once again to the pull of pizza will keep him working in Indian Hills for a good while. Saying that such is my hope is the easy part of my job.