You'll know you're chatting up the right guy when the advice headed your way is served from under a killer moustache and the cocktail in your hand has you reconsidering your plans for the rest of the day. Serious facial hair and inventive cocktails: It's all part of the signature style of serial entrepreneur and mixologist Jason Kosmas.
A former New Yorker, Kosmas moved to Dallas to take advantage of the city's move away from an insular, steakhouse-heavy restaurant scene toward one that's starting to get national attention.
"It's got more restaurants per capita than NYC, so the opportunity is, obviously, pretty great," he says. Along with his business ventures up north--he still co-owns Manhattan cocktail emporiums/restaurants Employees Only and Macao Trading Co., as well as a non-alcoholic mixer company, EO Brands, with business partner Dushan Zaric--Kosmas recently joined Twomey Concepts as executive beverage director.
Multitask in Dallas by asking Kosmas for some business advice while patronizing Twomey's newly opened Marquee Grill & Bar. (And yes, that is Top Chef's Tre Wilcox running the kitchen.) You'll find Kosmas behind the bar on weekends and, most likely, mixing up ingredients on weekdays.
Kosmas' first rule of business: "Have your finger on the pulse of whatever you're doing," he says. "Understand your consumer. That's why I'm still bartending--I have a direct in with the consumer."
When you're done with your mentoring session--keep it somewhat short, OK? The guy's got a beverage program to run--head out onto the bar's balcony. Housed in a 1930s art deco theater, the marquee-top balcony has quickly become one of the best networking shows in town.
Order like a regular: Break the ice with Kosmas by asking him what he's been drinking lately.
Go: 33 Highland Park Village; (214) 522-6035; marqueegrill.com