Louis Osteen to helm kitchen at Lake Rabun Hotel in Ga. 

Charleston's original chef lands on his feet

Legendary Chef Louis Osteen is not afraid of a challenge. Back in the '80s, he established Louis's Charleston Grill in the then-brand-new Omni Hotel and was credited with elevating Southern cuisine from downhome to upscale. He left the Grill to open Louis's on Meeting Street, and has since owned several variations of Louis's Restaurants in places like Pawley's and most recently, Las Vegas. In early 2008, we wrote a cover story about his ambitious venture in Las Vegas, which ultimately became a victim of bad timing. At the time, he told us about the developments and housing planned for the surrounding suburbs and how those residents would be his customers, but then that damn bubble burst.

Louis and his partner and wife Marlene were forced to abandon their visions of retirement on the Strip and come back home. After a brief hiatus, Louis has landed at the Lake Rabun Hotel in northeast Georgia, about two hours away from Atlanta in the mountains.

He told food writer John T. Edge that he sees it becoming a "redneck Inn at Little Washington."

Marlene says Louis will start work on June 12, offering a fine dining menu Thurs.-Sun. nights.

"Since the area is popular for weddings, Louis will also be busy with catering on and off property and will most likely add a Sunday lunch," she adds. "The details of the menu are not yet available as he is still refining them, but I promise you will be the first to get a copy. You can be assured that the dishes that Louis is known for are certain to be offered as well as recipes that include the ingredients and heritage of the locale."

Sounds like a good reason to start planning a romantic getaway to the Georgia mountains.

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