As a teen, Patrick Morey spent his free time as a busboy for local hotels — a way to earn extra cash and get an inside look into the hospitality world. More than 30 years later, Morey is now running them. He was recently appointed food and beverage director at the Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach.
Previously, Morey was director of restaurants and bars at Boca Raton Resort & Club and has held numerous roles in the food and drink industry at establishments such as Rosa Mexicano, Weston Dining Group, and New York Prime/Rare Las Olas.
"In one way or another, I've been working in a hotel or restaurant since I was 14," he says. "I've always been drawn to this kind of work."
"Taking this new position really caught my eye because it's very rare that you have the opportunity to re-do a food and beverage program unless it's at a new property," he says. "I can avoid the blood, sweat, and tears of a grand opening, but still craft a whole new program. It was too appealing to pass up."
Morey is completely relaunching the Shelborne's dining scene, which includes the Bistro, the Drawing Room, Oasis Grill, its outdoor poolside eatery, and the soon-to-open Sarsaparilla Club.
He says nothing is off-limits for the hotel's new food and drink offerings, giving his chefs and staff the ability to experiment with different dishes and drinks. Morey says he will conduct quarterly evaluations to see what's working and what isn't and will constantly tweak the menus. "We just want to create more options for people," he says. "It's a process, though. For the next few months, we're in transition mode."
Morey works directly with the hotel's chefs and bartenders. Though, technically, he's in control of the food and beverage overhaul, Morey doesn't see it that way. He considers it a team effort. "We recently had a new chef and staff join us at the hotel," he says. "So we've all been working together to make this happen."
Some of the major changes include taking over the Drawing Room from mad scientist/mixologist Albert Trummer, who created and ran the lobby bar. Morey confirmed that Trummer left the hotel but that the Drawing Room remains open. The Drawing Room opened in September 2014, and Morimoto South Beach followed shortly thereafter. Morimoto closed in September 2015, a year after opening.
Top Chef alumni Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth are opening Sarsaparilla Club, which will take over the space that housed Morimoto. The new restaurant is slated to open in mid- to late February.
"Right now, we're training and making sure everything is perfect," Morey says. "We want to be totally sure before we take the wrapping off and debut it to the public."
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The new restaurant will serve "American dim sum," something Morey says is incredibly unique. "It's rare you come across a concept like this. Between the level of execution, the warmth and sincerity of the idea, and the fact that it's something I've never seen before, I really think it's going to be a hit. It's an innovative way to enjoy dinner, and I think it's really going to add to what we have going on at the hotel."
Though Sarsaparilla Club is operated by the hotel, its concept and menu were conceived by McInnis and Booth. "Sarsaparilla Club is all them," he says. "They're the ones who are in there and heavily involved in making this happen."
Morey says all of the eateries inside the hotel, including Sarsaparilla Club, will be approachable in terms of pricing. "We're not trying to open everyone's wallets that much for one meal," he says. "If you want to run in and have a quick bite, we're designed for that. But if you want a more classic dinner service, we have that too."
For more information, visit shelbornewyndhamgrand.com.
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