Ben Arnold is a busy guy.
The owner of Corporate Caterers, who set up shop in the former Olive Tree banquet hall last spring, now is planning to open a lunch and breakfast spot in the adjoined former Chelsea’s space, which until recently was occupied by the Karma wellness studio.
By mid-July, he plans to start serving upscale daily lunches and weekend breakfast. He’ll also reopen Chelsea’s famous patio, which he plans to have covered.
In the evenings, he’ll use the space for private events that aren’t quite big enough to use the cavernous banquet spaces next door. He’s still working on a name for the new place.
In the meantime, Arnold is waiting for construction to start on A.V.I., the restaurant he and Jeremy Wade have planned for the new Drury Plaza Broadview Hotel.
Initially, he’d hoped it would open this month, but construction is behind, and crews won’t even start working on the restaurant for a couple of weeks.
Arnold says his expectations for A.V.I. have been scaled back a bit, mainly because he was not able to get the exterior entrance he was planning on. And hotel restaurants that don’t have exterior entrances famously get lost. He will, however, have plentiful exterior signage for the restaurant, which will take up north end of the hotel facing Waco.
One point of contention Arnold did win: Initially, the hotel wanted to require restaurant patrons pay for parking, but Arnold managed to work out a deal for his customers to get free garage parking along with hotel and banquet guests.
The restaurant will be gorgeous, though, Arnold said, with a horseshoe bar that overlooks the dining room from upstairs. The kitchen, he noted, will be located directly below the swimming pool.
A.V.I. should open in late August or early September. He’s planning the opening to coincide with the hotel’s grand opening, which should happen 60 to 90 days after the hotel reopens. That tentative date is July 20.