Casey Thompson, the Dallas-bred former chef of Shinsei, is best known for her appearance on season 3 of Top Chef, where she was one of the two runners-up and earned the "Fan Favorite" prize. Though she moved from Texas to the Bay Area a few years back, Thompson, who trained under Dean Fearing, has kept herself out of a restaurant kitchen—until now. As Inside Scoop reports, Thompson will be taking over the ground floor of the Warwick Hotel in Union Square to open Aveline, a modern California restaurant, and an adjacent bar, The European.
60-seat Aveline will take the place of current occupant La Scene, which is scheduled to close next Sunday, November 17. The name comes from Thompson's grandmothers, one of whom is named Hazel and the other of whom is French; "aveline" is French for "hazel." The plan is to offer "refined casual fare" in the Aveline space, and cocktails from Beretta vet Adam Wilson in the European bar. Union Square hotel restaurants are increasingly drawing local chef-entrepreneurs: Anna Weinberg and Jennifer Puccio's The Cavalier has been a success in the Hotel Zetta, and Pim Techamuanvivit's Kin Khao is on its way to the Parc 55. Aveline and the European are targeting a spring opening.