Recently the owners of Mamnoon hinted at some new projects on the horizon. Now they've got a surprising addition in the front of house. Will Moseley, the restaurant's manager, sent word today that Jason Stratton will come on board at Mamnoon on Monday. But not as a chef; Stratton will be the GM, overseeing the going on in both kitchen and dining room.
You might recall Stratton made a somewhat abrupt departure from Spinasse, Artusi, and Vespolina in February, then headed to Spain for a bit. Now he's back in town and prepared to be the face of hospitality and consistency for Capitol Hill's utterly lovely Middle Eastern restaurant, our restaurant of the year when it opened in 2013. While it's somewhat unexpected that Stratton, an oft James Beard-nominated chef, would take a job that doesn't involve cooking, he's always been very comfortable with the hospitality side of his job. And the man's wardrobe is definitely up to the task.
In his email, Moseley says the Mamnoon team has been fans of Stratton's for some time, and his arrival helps owners Racha and Wassef Haroun focus on the other projects they have coming down the pike. The Harouns recently promoted chef Garrett Melkonian to a new "creative culinary development" role, with his former exec sous chef Jimi Treen poised to take over the kitchen.
UPDATE: Stratton says his role isn't directly culinary, but could very well include some culinary overtones. Especially as he updates Mamnoon's lunch program, works with existing staff, and generally keeps an eye on the restaurant's role within one of the city's most competitive dining districts.
More on Stratton's new role as I have it.