EXCLUSIVE: Taylor Kearney, Nick & Sam’s veteran, will be new chef of Front Room Tavern at Hotel Lumen

Taylor Kearney will take over as top chef at Front Room Tavern in the Hotel Lumen on July 21, EscapeHatch has learned. Kearney’s arrival will follow the departure of Michael Ehlert, who led the kitchen since last fall.

Like Ehlert, Kearney is one talented dude. A stalwart at Nick & Sam’s Steakhouse, Kearney cooked off-menu specials and prepared Sunday Suppers that were among the best meals in the city.

“I love Samir (Dhurandhar) and the Nick & Sam’s family. They’ve been great to me, and Samir taught me so much. He’ll always be a mentor to me,” Kearney told me.

“I worked with Tim Headington (the owner of the Hotel Lumen) when I was a Charlie Palmer (at the Joule Hotel, also owned by Headington) and I like him a lot.

“I don’t want to leave (Nick & Sam’s), but I had a great offer and I’m ready to branch out on my own to cook my own style of food,” Kearney told me.

Kearney says several of his former Charlie Palmer staff will join him at the Front Room Tavern, where Kearney plans to overhaul the entire menu.