Jefferson City native Johnny Graham has officially moved home and has hit the ground running in his latest business endeavor.
Graham has purchased the downtown catering and events center, G2 Gallery, from TaneÃ¡ Graves and Kasey Green. The High Street business will stay in the old Lohman Opera House and will now be known as "Revel" catering and events. Graham is leasing the property from Missouri Construction Association.
"Life is a party," Graham said, noting that he's lucky his job is right in the thick of life's greatest moments.
The new name, Revel, means celebration, he said. An appropriate name for a business that plans to cater events, both large and small, from intimate dinner or cocktail parties, to weddings and grand celebrations.
"I'll certainly not limit my work to the downtown space by any means," Graham said. "I love doing big, grandiose celebrations and events in interesting or beautiful venues."
For 20 years, Graham has been in the food industry. He has worked in restaurants and catered many events. The Jefferson City High School graduate has an extensive resume, even catering for big names in Hollywood.
"Some of the Hollywood highlights were catering Stevie Nicks' Christmas dinners, working for Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, opening a restaurant for the band Aerosmith, outside of Boston, (working for) Bruce Willis for five years, and catering an after party for the opening night of one of Madonna's tours," Graham said. "I've been incredibly lucky and graced with an amazing number of experiences and opportunities because of my craft."
Although the new owner is accustomed to traveling across the country and even around the world for his work, he said he's been trying to come home for a while.
"My roots are right here in Jefferson City. I am thrilled to have moved home after so many years away."
The chef had intended to build a "fireside" restaurant off Lorenzo Green, as was previously reported in 2013. However, his interest changed and the historic downtown location became a better option. He still plans to use as much locally grown produce and products as possible, and will continue to use the mantra "globally influenced - locally sourced."
Graham has catered weddings from Caribbean beaches, to farms in New England, downtown New York City, and villas in Hollywood, Calif. He also spent a few years in the movie business, doing the catering for the second and third "Pirates of the Caribbean"movies, and working on a number of films while employed with Bruce Willis.
Graham has an extensive background in a variety of cuisines, and hopes to offer menu items unique to his business. He will slant toward a lean and organic menu, creating dishes that are different from the typical caterer, he said.
The new owner has a whole archive of fun events he's tossing around for the Capital City. He hopes to offer multi-course dinners paired with wine, an "amazing happy hour with vintage craft cocktails and small plates (tapas style) one night a week."
G2 Gallery owners TaneÃ¡ Graves and Kasey Green will not be involved with Revel. Revel will continue to employ those who worked for G2 Gallery.
"I'm excited to be taking the reins. They have made it easy to step into," Graham said.
Some events previously booked through G2 will be honored by Graham, and he hopes to keep customers of G2 coming back for more. Jumping right in, Graham already has 16 events scheduled for February.
He is excited to utilize the historic Lohman Opera House, saying there will only be a few minor changes to the space. G2 Gallery worked with the building owners to renovate the space seven years ago.
"It's a real hidden gem," the new owner said.
"I have made a life feeding people and am bringing it home to Jefferson City. ... Stay tuned!"
For those looking to get in contact with Revel, Graham said the website will be up and running soon. Until then, call 573-636-0023. The website will be reveljcmo.com upon completion.