Taking inspiration from his grandmothers, Justin Cox has always loved cooking. He launched his official culinary career when he was just 15, and over the years, he's worked under acclaimed chefs, including two James Beard–award nominees. When he joined the team at Thrive, he created a menu of New American dishes heavily inspired by global influences, especially Asian fusion cuisine, and started buying fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables from local farmers whenever he could. And this pursuit has paid off—Gayot credits Cox's connections with the fact that his tomato salad "reveals how close the notable vegetable can come to nirvana." In Thrive's kitchen, Cox and his culinary team whip up starters of braised short ribs wrapped in bibb lettuce alongside a selection of sushi, nigiri, and sashimi. They follow that with dishes ranging from classic, such as a fillet of beef tenderloin, to playful, such as scallops and grits with bacon, fennel, pea-shoot salad, and a citrus vinaigrette.
The menu's sophistication is matched by the striking modern dining room designed by architect Bill Johnson. Amber-tinged light spills from the honeycomb ceiling structure lofted above high-backed dining chairs and stark white walls, set off by accents of green print. Zebra-wood barstools helpfully suggest their favorite drinks in the lounge area, where white leather couches invite diners to settle in with a drink.