Venus Spirits Cocktails & Kitchen Welcomes Local Chef


 | January 7, 2020

SANTA CRUZ, California, January 6, 2020 – Venus Spirits is thrilled to announce the new management team for Venus Spirits Cocktails & Kitchen. Chef John-Paul Lechtenberg better known as “Chef JP” has officially signed on as executive chef, and was most recently the executive chef at Hollins House. Catreina McGovert will take on the role of managing front of the house operations. Chef JP is currently working on refining the menu and final kitchen details for the new restaurant and cocktail bar, which are part of a larger expansion of Venus Spirits. 

The new space will include a new tasting room, distillery and headquarters and is located just around the corner from the current location. “I’m very excited about the team that we have surrounded ourselves with. This brings us several steps closer to realizing our vision for the new space” says Founder and Distiller Sean Venus. The menu, as Sean and JP describe as seasonal Americana, will include small plates and shareable entrees that are inspired by Venus’ spirits and distilling process.

John-Paul Lechtenberg started his cooking career at a young age on the central coast in Santa Cruz County. The rich agriculture of the area led him to seek out a career in the area’s professional kitchens. While at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, Chef JP worked in multiple established kitchens in the San Francisco Bay Area including Scott Howard, Spruce, and Hayes Street Grill. After returning to Santa Cruz in 2010, Chef JP worked in local kitchens but missed the technicality of the Bay Area restaurant scene until meeting Chef Muriel Loubiert of Au Midi Bistro in Aptos, CA. Her style of cooking and precise French technique was a new learning ground that propelled Chef JP forward in his culinary career without compromising his passion. He eventually moved to The Hollins House at Pasatiempo as Chef de Cuisine and over the last nine years JP has reinvented the Hollins House and the Pasatiempo Food and Beverage Department, moving from Chef de Cuisine to Executive Chef/Food and Beverage

Since Catreina “Cat” McGovert began her career in fine dining, she has always been invested in the world of food and beverage. Throughout her sixteen years in the industry, her passion for elevating and enhancing service has always shined through. She discovered her love for opening restaurants after moving to Santa Cruz in 2017 to be near the coast. Cat most recently opened the Jack O’Neill lounge and managed the food and beverage team at the Dream Inn. Catreina’s passion and expertise will help bring together the unique, local dining experience of Venus Spirits Cocktails & Kitchen.

About Venus Spirits Cocktails & Kitchen

Construction is underway on a new 11,500 square foot warehouse located in the developing Delaware Addition which is located in the bustling Westside, Santa Cruz neighborhood. The additional location, which is directly adjacent to their current facility, will include a distillery and barrel storage capable of producing up to 50,000 cases annually. The center point to the new building will be Venus Spirits Cocktails & Kitchen, a new restaurant space designed by Stripe Design Group. The 100-seat restaurant will be focused around a cocktail experience utilizing various Venus Spirits distilled spirits and will be complemented by an assortment of from scratch snacks, small plates, fresh salads, and sharable entrees. For founder and distiller Sean Venus, the commencement of construction marks 2 years of planning. The expected opening date for the new restaurant and distillery will be April 2020. There will be several new job openings and hiring will begin in March.

About Venus Spirits, LLC

Founded in 2013 by Sean Venus, Venus Spirits is located in Santa Cruz, California. Venus Spirits currently produces certified organic, small-batch spirits Wayward Whiskey, Venus Spirits Gin, Aquavit, Vodka and El Ladrón Blue Agave Spirits. A line of canned cocktails launched in Distributed throughout California by Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, these three brands are available at fine locations across the state.

Current Tasting Room Hours:

Tuesday – Thursday 4pm to 8pm

Friday – Sunday 1pm to 8pm

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  1. Congratulations JP, but we’ll miss you at Pasatiempo! Are you going to sell your special bread?!!!
    Bruce & Mary

  2. Congrats JP and Annie! We’ll so miss your creative cuisine and warm welcome. Hollins, as our go to for the best food in the county, sadly will not be the same without YOUR touch.

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