It’s a match made in culinary heaven: One of North Texas’ most exciting and innovative restaurants is now home to one of Fort Worth’s most well-known and respected chefs.
American Revelry, a Burleson-based restaurant that specializes in chef-driven American food served with five-star flair, is now home to Denise Shavandy, who made a name for herself as a chef to be reckoned with during a five-year stint as executive chef at Café Modern, the popular lunch and brunch spot tucked into the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.
Shavandy begins her new role as the restaurant’s executive chef on July 1.
Shavandy gained national attention last year when she went knife-to-knife against other chefs on the Food Network’s popular television show, “Chopped.” On the episode, titled “Smokin’ Skills,” Shavandy emerged victorious, beating a trio of competing chefs. Shavandy is also a two-time competitor in Fort Worth Magazine’s Top Chef contest.
Built from the ground up by local developer Timothy Windmiller and his business partner, Les Vernon, American Revelry offers chef-inspired, thoughtfully sourced takes on American classics — a style of food that perfectly fits into Shavandy’s culinary wheelhouse.
“It’s a terrific fit,” she says. “Everything American Revelry is about, I’m about, from using locally sourced ingredients to having seasonal menus. They’ve given me a great foundation to work with. I’m looking forward to putting my own spin on it and making it my own.”
Recently relaunched as the pandemic has started to subside, a separate rotating menu spotlights a particular regional fare — be it California cuisine or New York or any and everywhere in between. “I not only want to feature a particular cuisine from that region, but I want to pay homage to the people who developed those cuisines,” Shavandy says. “The immigrants who came to our country, who developed a lot of the foods that we now know and love — I want to spotlight their cultural influence on this big melting pot we call American food.”
For American Revelry owners Windmiller and Vernon, the dining room is just as important as the kitchen. That’s where general manager Christian Tahahn comes in. His background in fine dining — he’s worked at such restaurants as Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, Lonesome Dove, and Reata — is the driving force behind American Revelry’s white glove service, in which attentive servers astutely roam the dining room, brushing away crumbs, filling wine glasses, and waxing poetic about the restaurant’s superb beet-infused deviled eggs and expertly cooked ribeye.
“What I want to do is offer a level of service that will have people coming back over and over,” he says. “You’re guaranteed to have a good meal, but we want the experience to go beyond the food. We want you to feel like you’re a part of the family here.”
Tahahn has spent nearly his entire life in the restaurant business, working his way up from washing dishes and busing tables to managing, serving, or working in the wine department in some of the city’s top restaurants, including Del Frisco’s and HG Sply Co.
An American Revelry staffer since day one, Tahahn says he’s more than thrilled to welcome aboard Shavandy. Her forward-thinking cooking, he says, is just what the restaurant needs to take it to the next level.
“Having her come aboard feels like a huge, huge leap forward for us,” he says. “She’s one of the most talented chefs I’ve ever met. With her food and our stellar front-of-house team, we’re definitely soaring to new heights.”
279 W Hidden Creek Pkwy, Suite 1101
Burleson, Texas 76028