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VOL. 128 | NO. 228 | Thursday, November 21, 2013

River Inn Reopens Terrace With Full Year as Goal

By Andy Meek

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The River Inn, the boutique hotel on Mud Island that opened in 2007, has reopened its upper-level terrace after making some changes designed to add even more comforts for the hotel’s guests.

The Terrace at River Inn, at 50 Harbor Town Square, is now a restaurant that’s open year-round, offering river views and new cuisine in a setting no longer limited by the weather or the time of year.

The River Inn, the boutique hotel that opened in 2007 on Mud Island, has added a rooftop restaurant.

(Courtesy of Terrace at the River Inn)

The reopened section of the hotel is on the top floor of the River Inn and includes new design touches courtesy of architect Berry Jones of S. Berry Jones Architects and designer Greg Baudoin of Ray & Baudoin Interior Design.

Folding windows are among the new touches. River Inn general manager Karl Friedrich said the windows now help control temperature throughout the year and can be used to let the river breeze in if needed or to keep the area dry if a storm passes through.

“In the spring and fall when the weather is really nice, you just fold them open,” he said. “You’re 12 feet high in this open area, looking over the Mississippi River and at the Memphis bridge. And when the weather is bad, when it rains or when it’s too cold or too hot, you can close the windows and enjoy the air conditioning or heating up there.”

The terrace adds a new special touch to a hotel already inspired by the chateaus of Europe and the boutiques of New Orleans.

Most of the River Inn’s rooms have views of the Mississippi, and each floor includes a small nook area with stocked bookshelves and coffee carafes, among other amenities.

The new terrace restaurant seats 60 and includes groups of sofas and high and low tables. It’s open seven days a week starting at 5 p.m. From Sunday through Thursday, the area closes at 10 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday the terrace closes at 11 p.m.

During the day, it’s available for catered private functions and other special events.

“Basically, when the hotel was built, we had a rooftop terrace that was open where we had some furniture and umbrellas up there that was mainly available to our patrons staying at the hotel or coming up for a drink in the afternoon,” Friedrich said. “We also had a bar set up and served appetizers up there. However, because it was open, we only had usage for about two-and-a-half to three months out of the year. If it was too cold, for example, we couldn’t use it. So we made a change and decided to remodel the terrace into a place that can be used year-round with a roof on it.

“We completely redecorated the terrace with a very hip kind of design, done by a local interior decorator, so it’s a completely new bar with chairs, tables and new surroundings. The menu itself has been designed to be a small plate menu, and it features everything from scallops to beef tenderloin crostini.”

The menu, executed by restaurant chef Jesse Belew, is centered around sharable plates with items like house-made French fries and pan-seared sea scallops with hoecakes and lamb sliders with mint-yogurt sauce. Belew trained under Kjeld Petersen at the Inn at Hunt-Phelan and also has worked at Erling Jensen and Interim, among other places.

The restaurant’s manager is Marcell Jones, a popular longtime bartender at Paulette’s, and he also created a custom cocktail menu for the restaurant.

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