Obviously there is plenty blooming over at Bailey’s Prime Plus. The owner Ed Bailey owns the handful of restaurants scattered across both Dallas and Fort Worth. We know about the recent brouhaha over at Chesterfield which Bailey has an interest along with celeb-barman Lucky Campbell, plus a slew of Patrizio’s (and a new one on the way in Southlake). Then we grab news that Bailey is the new owner of Uptown Bar and Grill.
So Bailey has plenty of restaurants in the area, but the flagship steakhouse really hasn’t taken off the way he would have liked. The concept is different than your usual steakhouses. Bailey’s was actually created to be an upscale steakhouse that would attract women. So why hasn’t the concept worked?
It sounds like Bailey has asked himself the same question and most recently hired a dream team to come in and retool the concept a bit. I sat down with a pair from that team.
First Bailey hired Ken Kuczwaj from Bob’s Steakhouse. Ken has a rich restaurant management background and a great following in Dallas. Then we catch wind that the back of the house is being revamped by the boys at Nosh, Avner Samuel and Jon Stevens.
So what is going on with Bailey’s?
Kuczwaj: The problem is that one person in the universe couldn’t possibly fix what has transpired here. They would have to fix the kitchen, front of the house, the bar, vendor relations, systems training, accounting… I haven’t met that person. It certainly isn’t me. I would be just another GM hired who would fail. They have hired people in the past with great backgrounds, but there wasn’t this system in place. It’s been a monumental challenge.
How do you fix what wasn’t right to begin with?
Kuczwaj: We have all these restaurants but no one has stepped up to take advantage of group buying. We now have a team that will be working on the different areas of the restaurant. We have Avner and Jon in to fix the food. If you have been in the last few years the food has been up and down. Inconsistent.
We will now have what was originally planned, which is a great steakhouse with a feminine side to the menu.
What are some of the changes we might expect on the menu?
Stevens: One of the things we are changing is the meat selection. Prime is in the name of the restaurant, so everything on the menu will now be prime.
Kuczwaj: The wine list here is amazing, but it is a book. I look at the list and want to drink everything in there. We just want to pair it down and make the selection easier.
What other types of changes might we expect to the menu?
Stevens: We are making it more of a chef-driven type of menu, focusing on more local ingredients. And it will be focused. We will have the steak side of the menu with 3 different sizes of tenderloin, a couple of bone-in steaks like a 22 ounce ribeye and a KC strip.
As far the entrée menu goes we will have a roasted chicken, salmon, scallops, lamb chops, double-cut pork chops.
What about appetizers?
Stevens: We will have some lighter items. I am doing a lobster parfait with crushed avocado and tomato confit and a caviar vinaigrette for example.
Will you be running the kitchen permanently?
Stevens: We will be monitoring the kitchen as consulting chefs, but we have brought on Ryan Carbery who was at Redfork and more recently in the kitchen at Nosh. Ryan will be running the kitchen on a daily basis as chef de cuisine overseen by myself with day-to-day communications.
So you are retooling things with the Bailey’s steakhouses, what will happen to the other concepts like Chesterfield?
Kuczwaj: We are taking this one at a time. Once we get things into place here we will be looking to change the menu at Chesterfield. The original menu there was phenomenal. Probably over-priced for the neighborhood compared to what the competition is offering. So we will have lower priced items to bring in the lunch crowd. Chesterfield is a great cocktail lounge, but we want great food.
Jon and I have been talking over some ideas and once things calm down we will be looking at that kitchen.
So Chesterfield won’t be a small steakhouse like some have reported?
Can you confirm where Bob Sambol is today?
Kuczwaj: Bob went to work for an investment group that purchased Hofmann Sausage Company out of Syracuse, New York. They are taking the company national and Bob will be working from Dallas as vice president of marketing and sales. He has not ever been employed here, nor will he in the future. Bob is just my friend who stops by once in a while.
Jon, you and Avner are opening Snack up really soon. What’s the opening date?
Stevens: May 22.