Newly Merged Hospitality Group Opens Mister Oso in Warehouse District

NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans restaurateur Billy Blatty has merged his local hospitality company with The Culinary Creative Group, based in Denver, and the result will be at least three new restaurant concepts for local diners.

The group’s first collab, Mister Oso, will open Sept. 26 at 601 Tchoupitoulas Street. Modeled after an existing pair of Michelin award-winning CCG restaurants of the same name in Denver, the spot will specialize in smoked meat tacos, ceviches and Latin American-inspired cocktails. The menu will have New Orleans nuances and include items sourced in Louisiana. The building will feature a patio space with retractable glass and colorful, Latin-themed tropical décor.

In the second quarter of 2024, CCG will open A5 Steakhouse in the Garage apartments and condo building at 840 Carondelet Street. Named for the highest grade of Wagyu beef, the restaurant will feature sides and sauces influenced by Asian cuisine along with a raw bar and other seafood options. A5 also is based on an existing CCG restaurant in Denver.

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A third concept from the group, Bohemia, is scheduled to open in the third quarter of 2024. This one’s all new and sounds like a lot of fun.

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Mister Oso menu offerings

Blatty and his partners plan to transform an empty lot at the corner of Freret and Upperline streets (next to Humble Bagel) into a “dining oasis” with multiple food trucks and outdoor seating. A revised plan passed muster with the the City Planning Commission and City Council, and Blatty said “we’re in the final stages of culinary concept development. Currently, we’re constructing kitchens while also finalizing contractor bids.”

The new partners also have plans to develop a rooftop bar and pool atop a Bywater hotel, but that won’t happen before 2025.

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All this entrepreneurial energy is no surprise considering Blatty has kept himself busy ever since he got his start in hospitality tending bar in the late 1990s while he was a student at Tulane. He took things to the next level in the early 2000s at Club Ampersand in the Central Business District. He was the original general manager and promoter and negotiated an equity stake in the business. Less than a year into his tenure, he assumed all of the venture’s debt and bought out the other partners.

After the Ampersand scene ran its course, Blatty has stayed busy launching other bars and restaurants, including Barcadia, Ohm Lounge, Nagomi and Belle’s Diner.

Sofia, which debuted in 2019 on the 500 block of Julia Street, was his first venture in collaboration with CCG. 

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Of Blatty’s original New Orleans restaurant and bar ventures, Sofia and Ohm Lounge are the two going concerns. Belle’s Diner closed during the pandemic. Nagomi is temporarily closed. And the space that housed Barcadia is about to be reborn as Mister Oso, where workers are putting finishing touches on an outdoor patio even as the restaurant prepares for its soft opening this week. Ohm is right next door.

Mutual Admiration

Blatty’s merger with CCG began after he dined at Bar Dough, an Italian restaurant owned by CCG in Denver. He was impressed with the concept and struck up a friendship — then a business relationship — with the restaurant group’s key players.

“Without my visit to Bar Dough during a snowstorm in Denver, Sofia would not be in existence,” he said. “Chef Blake Edmunds of Mister Oso came in to assist executive chef Talia Diele in Sofia’s launch. Subsequently, the brand has been driven by Talia in the back of house and Peter Gordon in the front.” 

Blatty said CCG’s consulting arm provided kitchen and menu development at Sofia’s inception. A5’s Max MacKissock rolled out the opening menu. Since the opening, Diele has “produced every menu rendition since and is the driver behind its continued culinary success.”  

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Fanciful cocktails will be on offer at Mister Oso in the Warehouse District

Now that he’s formally merging his business with CCG, he is bringing two successful Denver concepts — Mister Oso and A5 Steakhouse — to New Orleans 

“Mister Oso, Ohm Lounge and Sofia are the businesses that will roll up into the merger and officially become part of The Culinary Creative Group in addition to the up-and-coming Bohemia and the rooftop project,” said Blatty.

It’s worth noting that this merger is truly a merger, and not an acquisition by another name. No money changed hands. Instead, an accounting firm assigned valuations to each entity Blatty owns and controls. Those values were converted into pro-rata shares of the CCG C-Corp, which is the umbrella company of all of its brands.

To Blatty, the merger is appealing because of CCG’s creativity and brand portfolio that complements his New Orleans offerings. He also cites CCG Founder and CEO Juan Padro’s commitment to personnel and community enrichment. On top of that, he said, the CCG infrastructure is a major draw.

“CCG showcases a broad talent spectrum, from Michelin-recognized chefs to a promising bar program steered by Nicole Lebedevitch,” he said. “Their backend infrastructure, enriched by high-grade financial analytics and organizational resources, stands out. Partners like Katie O’Shea, a Harvard MLA mathematics graduate, contribute expertise poised to boost our growth.”

Blatty said CCG knows that New Orleans has a “unique rhythm” and that it’s important to have a local lead when entering this market. 

“With the combined strength of myself, Director of Operations Peter Gordon, and Talia Diele, we efficiently navigate the challenging local market,” he said. “Our expertise is pivotal for CCG’s successful operations in the Big Easy.”

The long-term vision for the newly merged company is to begin its expansion in New Orleans — and then to keep on going in pursuit of becoming a top-tier national hospitality brand. 

“On a regional scale, our strategy encompasses the development and management of concepts spanning from Texas to Florida’s Panhandle and extending to Nashville,” said Blatty. “Collectively, CCG aims to achieve a revenue milestone of over $120 million by mid-2026, and we’re committed to driving a significant portion of that growth.”

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