10 Questions: Brandon Durrett

The all-around athlete has sorta gone by the wayside. But in the restaurant industry, you still find those who work both the bar and the dining room.

At Fuse, Durrett handles bartending duties some nights, works as a waiter on others. And on occasion he must run back and forth between the two.

No problem. He spent a good portion of his career at Hard Rock Cafe and Planet Hollywood, so the cool downtown lounge-restaurant atmosphere is a welcome change. The one thing he hasn't adapted to? Those cucumber martinis...

1. Is it hard to switch back and forth?
Between the bar and the floor? No, not really. There are nights when I do both, but it's not bad.

2. How long does it take to learn enough about a dish to talk about it?
About a month. We use some ingredients that aren't necessarily traditional, so it's hard to get used to. And we change up the menu regularly, so we have to learn new items.

3. Yeah, but you get to taste the new dishes...
A couple bites. It's not like everyone gets their own entree.

4. On a busy night, would you rather be at the bar or on the floor?
The bar, definitely. It's easier to control and I have my own space. I don't have to run back and deal with the kitchen.

5. Is there a drink you don't like to make?
The cucumber martini. It's labor intensive for one. And I don't really care for it.

6. Has dining changed in the last few years?
Yeah, I've noticed a definite change within the last year. Here the crowd is getting younger and spending less. But we've adapted to cater to them and it's working well.

7. Have tips dropped off any?
No, percentage wise it's the same. People are still tipping 20 percent. But tips have dropped a little overall because guests aren't spending as much money.

8. What's it like being downtown?
Oh, I love downtown.

9. How about the problems of your neighbor, Deep Ellum?
I don't go over there, personally. But I had been sending guests there when they asked about places to go late night. I drove through there just the other day and there's nothing there anymore. It's sad--and a little embarrassing for me.

10. So you don't get out much?
I usually try to hit last call once a week, but at a place downtown.

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Dave Faries
Contact: Dave Faries