Owners Sherif Salem & Cherie Nearman have a long history working in the restaurant industry, both beginning their journeys while still in their teens. The two met and became great friends while working together at Smith & Wollensky Steak House in 2005. Little did they know at the time what their future together would entail. The two began dating a few years later and were married in 2015. When a great opportunity presented itself, the two decided it was time to open their own restaurant. Coming from years of working in the fine dining sector, both knew they wanted a place featuring a casual atmosphere -- an everyday kind of place. They spent what should have been their honeymoon renovating the former Canal Bar & Grill, transforming it into a modern, sophisticated upbeat bistro. After long days and months of hard work from the entire family -- Hootch & Banter came to life. They consider this a family owned and operated business, with Sherif's mother Nahed Salem, Sherif's brother Mohamed Salem and Chere's sister Julie Paredes,
all working at the restaurant since opening.