We all sighed with disappointment when The Grape closed, but we also kept an ear out for where chef Brian Luscher would wind up next.
33 Restaurant Group is lucky enough to get him as its new director of culinary operations.
He'll be working with the group's restaurants, which include Cadillac Pizza Pub, the Yard, Taverna Rossa Craft Pizza and Beer, Union Bear Brewing Co. and Heritage Pizza and Taproom.
"It's a different game up here," Luscher said Friday from Union Bear in Plano. The sound from his side of the phone was clear the place was loud and packed.
"As a culinary director, it's a lot of coaching and mentoring the chefs and kitchen managers and sous chefs at all the different locations, encouraging a positive work culture, which they already have in 33 ... and it's not a coincidence with what they've created," he says. "I always say that cooking is the easiest part of the job, it might be an understatement, but the sentiment is that there are so many things you have to do right before you start standing in front of a cutting board."
He'll visit restaurants, work with menus here and there and guide as needed.
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"I still want to wear non-slip shoes and an apron," the Lake Highland resident says. "I don't care if I'm bending over a plate with tweezers for a 12-course dinner ... or mentoring ... I don't care, I just love the business. I'll play in any way that it comes to me."
One way that's going to him at 33 is also new restaurants: The restaurant group is growing and currently sketching out a new concept.
Luscher will surely handle all of this just fine. He ran that East Dallas institution on Lower Greenville for 12 years, and he's a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York.
We're glad that knowledge is going to good use at these restaurants. Hopefully, even though it's a full-time gig, it will still leave him enough room to show up at events — he's gracious with his time for charity. And we're definitely, absolutely hoping he has time to serve those red hots somewhere.