Chef Mark Holley’s name is above the door, but guests at this new seafood restaurant and oyster bar will soon realize it is not named after him. It is named for family.
The Lancelot Bar is a tip of the hat to his Kentucky-born grandfather, Lancelot Holley. The main dining room is Vivian’s Dining Room, in honor of his mother. The semi-private dining room called Lawrence is named for his father. Mary’s Wine Cellar is a tribute to his stepmother.
And while few don’t know of Chef Holley’s endless creativity and imagination in the kitchen, he is quick to credit the presentations that come to each table as a reflection of his family history, passed down through the generations like old stories and heirlooms. The menu itself finds traces of family heritage where they lived and cooked from the Midwest to the Atlantic coast to the Lowcountry and Deep South.
That heritage gave root to Chef Holley’s grassroots style and pursuit of local flair. It is responsible for the Pan-American and Pan-Asian influences. It has him buying from local farmers and fishermen as much as possible, while still seeking out seafood and other regional ingredients from all coasts – an opportunity to bring to his dining room the myriad of flavors, ingredients and regional specialties that played a part in his formative years as a chef.
The name on the door is just the beginning.