We have been following the changes at Bailey’s Prime Plus for many months now. The interesting local restaurant that up until just weeks ago had locations in Dallas, Cedar Hill, Fairview and Fort Worth. I say recently because the Fort Worth has closed with the explanation that although it was actually successful, there was an offer for the space that was far too good to pass up.
With the advent of hiring Ken Kuczwaj as overseer and general manager for the Bailey’s family of restaurants, there have actually been some very positive changes. Let’s look at those and see some current results.
In speaking with Kuczwaj we find that there is an order of changes to not only make the restaurants more profitable, but to heighten the guest experience. The two are not mutually exclusive and Kuczwaj understands this. If you meet or speak with Kuczwaj you will note that he is renaissance and the ultimate host who can speak intelligently on many matters including great wines, music and food.
With this being said, the flagship Bailey’s in Dallas has undergone terrific changes and the results are clear. The restaurant is much busier and the guests are much happier.
The clear change has occurred in the kitchen. Hiring Jon Thompson and Avner Samuel to come in and make the necessary corrections to the back of the house has proven to be an excellent move. Samuel offered up in sacrifice executive chef Ryan Carbery and the fit is phenomenal. The plan then was to take the Carbery success on the road and visit the other locations, first with Cedar Hill which was actually the very first Bailey’s.
Cedar Hill has been retooled to reflect the tastes of the neighborhood and serves low country cuisine. We’re talking shrimp and grits and a side of fantastic jazz music. This seems to have worked well, so now the sights are on Fairview where the menu will reflect family values and lower priced menu items.
You do remember that Bailey’s has a stake in Chesterfield, right? That kitchen is next for revamping. Since Chesterfield lost its exec chef, Michael Ehlert, food costs have blown through the roof in excess of 60%. This is a deadly figure and will soon be corrected with the menu tamed to extract a larger luncheon crowd.
Once Chesterfield is humming Kuczwaj and Carbery will move on to the latest acquisition, Uptown Bar and Grill. There are many things going right at Uptown, but improvements will be made to make this a greater destination.
It is a joy to sit back and watch talent at work. My prediction is we will be seeing more positive changes within a very short time.