The Mark Wine News Spring '17 Volume 7.2 - Page 10

If you’re like me, you are probably wondering who Eddie Merlot is? Well, as the story goes, Eddie Merlot’s founder, Bill Humphries had a real talent for choosing appropriate dinner wine and it was one of his responsibilities for the worldwide corporation he previously worked for. One night during a company dinner, Humphries was asked by a new board member named Ed to surprise him with a great wine. Humphries selected a Merlot and Ed was exceedingly impressed and said, “from now on always order the Merlot,” and Humphries replied with, “well, from now on, you’re Eddie Merlot.” Eddie Merlot’s is an homage to Ed, to the love of a great steak and a good story. We talked with Bretton Lammi, Eddie Merlot’s Director of Beverage, about his career, the restaurant’s wine program and some interesting food and wine pairings he has fallen prey to. MWG: You started at Eddie Merlot’s nine years ago, but then you left. Where did you go and what did you do? BL: I went to Vegas. I moved there to open The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas in 2010 as the Wine Director overseeing 11 restaurants, 13 bars, room service, banquets and 3 pools, among other outlets. 8 Most recently I was the Wine Director at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, overseeing the entire wine program on the property, including Tom Colicchio’s CraftSteak, Joël Robuchon and The Mansion at MGM Grand. MWG: What brought you back to Eddie Merlot’s? BL: I came back to the Midwest and to Eddie Merlot’s to be closer to my parents and to work for a smaller company where I could really make a difference. I loved buying for the largest hotel in the country (MGM Grand) but sometimes decision and the implementation would take months. I like to make the right decisions and see that changes are implemented in an efficient manner. MWG: We totally get that. Well, please fill us in on what’s happening at Eddie Merlot’s? Any new openings? BL: I just returned home from the opening of our 13th location in Ashburn, Virginia. What a beautiful part of the country. We always have plans in the works for new locations but I can’t say where until we sign the actual papers. Sometimes plans don’t work out. I have heard ramblings of at least 5 new locations so we will have to see what happens. MWG: Tell us a little about your background, THE MARK WINE NEWS