By Kathy Hanrahan
Raleigh, N.C. — Chef Suny Gerhart sits at the bar going over the menu at his upcoming restaurantSt. Roch Fine Oysters and Bar.
“We are embracing the attitude of New Orleans,” Gerhart said of the new oyster bar. Expect a laid back atmosphere and great food, but not a “New Orleans bar and restaurant.” St. Roch will have its own style.
St. Roch (pronounced like Rock) is named after the New Orleans neighborhood that Gerhart’s family grew up in. While he still has family in Louisiana, Gerhart has called Raleigh home for 10 years. He was the first person famed chef Ashley Christenen hired when she was starting the award-winning Poole’s Diner in downtown Raleigh. So Gerhart’s roots and connections in the city are strong.
Gerhart is very familiar with St. Roch’s location, 223 S. Wilmington St., as he used to work there when it was Joule, another one of Christensen’s ventures in the city.
Gerhart had been looking for months to find the right place for St. Roch. He and Christensen talked and realized that Joule was the perfect home for the oyster bar.
After three years in business, Joule closed its doors on Dec. 31.