I've been in the hospitality/restaurant business from the time I was a kid, whether knowingly or not! My parents had a newsletter called "La Belle France" which reviewed restaurants and hotels in France and we would travel to France for several weeks every summer. We would visit the very best restaurants and hotels in Paris and the countryside. We were constantly evaluating the service, food, ambiance, decor.... all of it. It was an education on the best of the best. As a child, I was looking at what was right, what was off, and what could have been
done better and why.
After graduating from SMU in Dallas, I moved back to Paris, where I had spent several semesters of undergraduate studies, to attend the famed Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School. I spent a year in their
"Grande Diplôme" program and loved every minute of it.
I was fixated on every aspect of food and hospitality.
I finished Cordon Bleu at the top of my class which earned me the opportunity to apprentice under Chef Roland Durand at the
3-Star Michelin Restaurant Le Prè Catelan in Paris's Bois de Boulogne. Working for 6 months in a restaurant of this caliber was an experience unlike anything else. Though I spent weeks on end deveining fois gras and picking tiny leaves off chervil stems, I also worked every station and was honored by Chef Durand when he asked me to plate President Mitterrand's entrée. He patiently stood over me, and watched my every move, but allowed me to plate the entire dish!
I went from there to Australia where I worked in Perth at Club Bayview, the top restaurant/nightclub in Western Australia. Fun though it was to wake up and surf every morning, I moved back to the U.S. where I managed "Lapis" on San Francisco's waterfront.
It was then on to New York, where I worked at Travel + Leisure,
and was a restaurant and hotel critic for
Manhattan Magazine, Golf Digest, Golf Travel, La Belle France,
and Men's Journal.
I came back home to Charlottesville to raise my two children, June & Wallace, and to introduce my love of food and wine to our community through
Tavern & Grocery.
Billy Koenig started his career as bartender in DuPont Circle at the restaurant The Front Page. He then moved to New York City in the early 90s to work at the famed Arizona 206, the southwestern style, New York Times 3 star restaurant headed by Chef David Walzog. After 4 years working for the Santo Family, he moved north to The Sign of the Dove, on 65th and Third Avenue. where legendary Chef Andy D'Mico sustained a New York Times 3 star rating for decades. After 2 years there, Billy moved on to the work for Drew Nieporent's organization, Myriad Restaurant Group, of Nobu and Tribecca Grille fame, and worked at the upper west side location, Reebok Grille, and then went on to head the bar at the Brant Point Grill at theWhite Elephant Hotel on Nantucket Island.
Experiencing a bit of wanderlust, Billy took off on a 2-month backpacking trip that took him throughout Europe where he enjoyed the experience of seeing first-hand European cuisine and winemaking.
After returning from Europe, he worked for a period at the premier seafood restaurant in NYC, Aquagrill in SOHO. Less than a year after joining Aquagill, he was presented with the opportunity to work down the street at the famed Balthazar Restaurant. Within 2 years at Balthazar, Billy was promoted to the Bar Manager and held this position for 5 years until he got married and moved to Charlottesville.
bio coming soon
bio coming soon