Bryce Krausman and Dalton Wilson made the move just a short jog away from their original location last year in November. DW Bistro at The Gramercy serves locals’ favorite Jamaican meets New Mexican cuisine along with one of the best brunches in town. Here the duo shares what it was like to become a grown-up restaurant after making the move.
What made you decide to move DW Bistro?
Dalton Wilson: Bryce calls it the grown up DW Bistro. I remember The Gramercy guys came to the restaurant, and the server came up to me and said these guys want to speak to you: they wanted us to move.
Bryce Krausman: Before we even opened on Fort Apache we looked at this space. The dream didn’t die but the location did. When it sold and became the Gramercy, the new owners came in for weeks and weeks to try to move us over. They were definitely keen on getting the Gramercy and DW brands aligned.
DW: It worked because we grew out of our old space. It was time to grow up and grow out.
What have you learned in the first year of running the restaurant in this new location?
DW: In the beginning of anything you’re doing, whether you’re building a house or a restaurant, it’s hard when there’s lots of people involved.
BK: We had to learn how to collaborate, building a place from scratch was so different. The set up was so different and we had so many build out challenges that we learned from. We had to work with builders, things weren’t always on time and, so we had to learn to adjust as we went.
DW: Even just structural stuff. It’s not something we had done before
Is it different than running the restaurant on Fort Apache? How?
DW: It’s actually very much the same as far as running the restaurant. The space is different and the foot traffic is a little different, but operationally, things are very similar.
BK: For the most part we run it the same. Thankfully the customers followed us, and we operate the same way, but we have a grown-up menu. We’ve added happy hour and social hour to get people in after work with small bites.
What were you thinking about in terms of design of the restaurant?
DW: We wanted to keep it the same theme, there were two competing designs in the beginning with the kitchen and market concepts, but once we made the decision to have it all restaurant, the design came together.
BK: We kept our signature orange and white stripes, and the same lighting, but we have more windows now, and that’s one of the things we love about the space. We have always wanted people to feel like they’re on vacation here, and the natural light definitely gives it that vibe.
Did you change the menu at all? If so, what was the menu testing process like?
DW: We did change the menu, but only the dinner menu. We added shared plates and new signature dishes. We changed how we served our jerk pork bowl: it’s served on sweet potatoes now, but you can still get it with rice.
BK: Our menu is evolving even now, with brunch and lunch staying almost the same with more items being added. The small bites served from 6 to 9 p.m. at the bar have been really popular, and we have even more new items coming up.
Has Las Vegas embraced the new location?
DW: It’s been embraced, and our customers love it. I think everyone loves it because they can sit anywhere and not feel separated like they did in the old space.
BK: The new location doesn’t overlook the parking lot, it overlooks this beautiful Gramercy patio, which has been a welcome change. Fortunately, our legacy guests came with us, and we’ve gained lots of new ones.
Six months in, what changed at the new location?
DW: We really didn’t have any adjustments other than trying to get more signage.
BK: Finding us can be a little tricky, kind of like trying to find Vintner Grill. We don’t have much street visibility: we like to think that we’re a hidden gem.
What’s the most unexpected thing that happened in the first year?
BK: The unexpected thing we found is that the other food and beverage tenants at the Gramercy like Cuppa, Pinches, Portion Control, and Kitchen Table have been so friendly and supportive.
How about the craziest thing?
BK: The amount of champagne we go through at the new location is crazy. We go through at least 20 cases during Saturday and Sunday brunch.
What's the must-order dish of the moment?
DW: The curry chicken bowl and the salmon bowl.
BK: One of our new small bites dishes, coconut curry shrimp.
What's on tap for the future?
BK: We haven’t announced it officially yet but we are finally extending Sunday brunch until 4 p.m.
• All Coverage of DW Bistro [ELV]