Max Rudberg, the general manager of Craft Dallas, has left the restaurant. Why? “I did not see eye to eye with the hotel’s upper management and their proposed changes,” says Rudberg. “They want to dumb down one of the city’s best restaurants.”
Rudberg says Thomas Caramucci, general manager of W Dallas Victory Hotel, would prefer Craft to be “a typical hotel restaurant” during breakfast and lunch service. By typical, Rudberg means the menu and service style would be more fast casual—even the “uniforms” of the staff would change accordingly.
I asked Rudberg what executive chef Tom Colicchio felt about the proposed changes. “Colicchio gave over control [of Craft to the hotel] on March 1, 2009,” said Rudberg. “The hotel would not allow me to correspond with Tom’s people in New York on any menus.”
According to Rudberg, after March 1, 2009, Colicchio retained his status as executive chef and retained the right to keep the chef de cuisine (currently the brilliant Jeff Harris), as his employee. In the agreement, Colicchio is “required to make quarterly visits” to the Dallas location of Craft.
“People here have never gotten the beautiful simplicity of Craft,” says Rudberg. “We never even got support from the party animals working concierge. Even though we gave them tastings, they never got it.”
This makes me sad. Craft has been one of my favorite restaurants in Dallas since it opened. I’ve had some issues with Colicchio but I love his cooking and the style of the restaurant. I called W Dallas Victory Hotel GM Thomas Caramucci yesterday afternoon to ask him about the proposed changes, but he is out of town for Thanksgiving holidays until November 29. Stay tuned for details.