We chose the name "Château 13" for many reasons...
Château is a French word that literally means "castle." But when we were thinking of the various châteaux throughout Western Europe (also called "castellos" in Italy or "castillos" in Spain), two words came to our minds - "home" and "wine." We couldn't imagine two better or more applicable words for the name of our restaurant and wine bar.
Taking inspiration from the legendary and welcoming culinary hospitality found throughout France, Italy, Spain and Belgium, we wanted a name that let our guests know we are different...from everyone else, from everything else.
We wanted a name that invites you to try something with worldly flair. Something that will take your palate deliciously beyond the norm...somewhere with European style and nuances but also somewhere where you feel a true sense of hospitality. Even if you've never heard of the dish before or aren't sure how to pronounce one of the ingredients, try it. We promise you'll love the experience.
Not only because we're on 13th Street West in Downtown Bradenton, but also because - for our founding team - 13 has always been a lucky number.
The Lippens Family
Wim, Mieke and their two daughters moved here from Belgium in 2009. It was a dream of Wim's to live in Manatee County ever since he was an exchange student at Southeast High School in the early 90's. The Lippens family purchased what is now the Palmetto Riverside Bed & Breakfast, a historic 1913 Sears & Robuck home on the Manatee River. Making its debut as a bed & breakfast in 2010, Wim and Mieke expanded the historic home to host weddings and events and then, in winter 2017, began Dining at Palmetto Riverside - a European style multi-course dining experience showcasing flavors and styles of their home, Belgium, and surrounding France, Italy and Spain. That's when Jenn Sayko and Chef Steve Cottet became part of the B&B family team. The community's enthusiastically wonderful response to the Dining project sparked something in Wim, Mieke and Jenn. While toasting with a bottle of Champagne one evening after dinner service at the B&B, the idea for Château 13 was born.
Wim and Mieke's standards for perfection paired with true warmth of spirit and renowned work ethic not only inspire their team, but are felt by all who visit the B&B. Now they are honored and excited to bring the flavors of Europe to Downtown Bradenton.
Jenn Sayko - General Manager and "The Wine Girl"
"I fell in love with all things French at the age of five. My desire to visit France strengthened exponentially when I began my restaurant career at the age of 13. I finally went to France at the age of 19 and didn't just fall in love with France all over again, but my eyes (and heart) were opened to the amazing world of wine, especially the people, the history and the earth behind and in every wine. I saw in person the personification of my favorite Mark Twain quote - 'Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.' After spending much time in Napa soon after, just being a francophile wasn't enough, so my passion abandoned geographical borders and followed the cultural passion of wine. Equally as incredible were my experiences in Italy. Go there once and you'll completely understand. The magic and prestige of Bordeaux and Champagne are only matched by the passion and hospitality of Piedmont and Tuscany. That was it, I knew that this love would only ever grow stronger and that my future and the art of wine (and food, because you can't have one without the other) were forever interwoven. Now, here I am, literally living my dream and being able to share my love of food and wine with the world in the place I'm happy to call home.
In all of my travels and all of the education, though, here is the best advice I was ever given and words to live by: 'The best wine education is a row of empty bottles.'
Greg Harrison - Executive Chef
We pursued Greg seven months before opening. There was just something about him that said he was the guy for Château...
Born and raised near Boston, Massachusetts, naturally Greg is a huge fan of the Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots. With that being said, his culinary inspiration could not have been more southern. Greg's father's family is from Rayne and Baton Rouge, Louisiana and passion for good food comes from his soul. Greg has always been inspired by his family traditions and loves practicing Creole cuisine, especially with family and friends at home.
Greg went to Johnson & Wales University receiving his Associates Culinary Degree in 2007. He then worked at a few well-known restaurants in Providence, Rhode Island while spending his summers working for local, family-owned restaurants in Newport, Rhode Island. Greg lived in Rhode Island for four years, working his way through various restaurants, all the while soaking up everything he could - from the cooking methods to the nuances of unlimited local seafood and cuisines of New England.
Greg met Nicole, who is now his wife, the first day at Johnson & Wales University. After spending their time together throughout college, in 2009 Greg and Nicole decided to move to Charleston, South Carolina. This decision could not have been more perfect to nurture Greg's culinary passion and expand the breadth of his knowledge. He worked for Kiawah Island Golf Resort for three years and became very familiar with the genuine, never-ending hospitality and low country culture.
The Massachusetts native then decided to move to Myakka City, Florida in 2012 with his soon-to-be fiancé where he became Chef de Cuisine at The Concession Golf Club. Greg worked at The Concession for six years creating specials, serving the elite golf community, and taking his resumé of culinary experiences to the next level. Since getting married at Mixon's Fruit Farm in 2014, Greg and Nicole have welcomed their daughter, Kaia (4), and son, Xander (3).
While at The Concession, Greg met Jenn working special events. "Whether it was a 10 course wine dinner for 20 or a wedding for 250, Greg always stood out to me as a leader who was kind, professional and passionate about his food...not to mention the incredible flavors and presentations of his dishes," Jenn recalls. Once given the task of finding an Executive Chef, Jenn knew right away exactly who would be the perfect fit for the Chateau 13 family. The timing, education and experiences leading up to Greg's Executive Chef role could not have been more perfect.
Kathryn Findley - Assistant General Manager and Spain Aficionado
Kathryn was born and raised in Bradenton and grew up working in the restaurant business. It wasn't until she went backpacking through Europe and ended up living in Barcelona for five years that she realized the difference between service and hospitality. Not in the way you are served, but the attitude and appreciation that prevails. It's not just going out to eat, it's how you spend your evening...how you spend your time...and who you spend it with. The food and wine just make it even better. That is what makes her the perfect fit for Château 13 and that's why she's our AGM. Heartfelt hospitality exudes from her...just ask her about living in Spain and you'll see.