Pretty shocking news from the outbox of The Cedars Social/Smyth/The Establishment partner Brian Williams: Barman extraordinaire Michael Martensen has left the building.
The official announcement comes just on the heels of a report from Central Track late last night that revealed bartenders at both bars had staged a walkout. (A request for comment from Martensen has gone unanswered this far.)
Williams plans to close Smyth for a week in order to "to retool and bring in additional bartenders and management." Read on for Williams' full email statement:
I am announcing with a bit of sadness, that Michael Martensen has left The Cedars Social, Smyth, and soon to open The Establishment to move on to his own endeavors. We are grateful for everything that Michael has done to make us the success that we are and wish him the very best. We are positive that his new ventures will continue to bring him all of the continued success that he deserves and we support his decision 100%. The Cedars Social, Smyth and The Establishment will continue our commitment to serving exceptional drinks and providing a superior experience for our guests.
In the meantime, I chose to close Smyth for only a week to retool and bring in additional bartenders and management.
Naturally, this raises many questions: What are Martensen's "new ventures"? What will be the fate of Cedars, Smyth — recently named one of the 30 hottest cocktail bars in America by Eater National under Martensen's leadership — and The Establishment, the oyster bar/restaurant adjacent to Smyth that's been in the works for so many months? Furthermore, what will become of the rest of Cedars' and Smyth's bar talent including Omar Yeefoon, Mate Hartai, and Jules Pagan?
Eater has reached out to Martensen for comment on the situation, and will update with any new information as it becomes available. UPDATE: Martensen has released the following statement via his PR rep:
I'd like to congratulate my team for the amazing success in creating and executing the cocktail programs at both The Cedars Social and Bar Smyth that garnered national recognition. In fact, in many ways, their efforts have established Dallas as a city with one of the most innovative cocktail programs in the country.
We, as a team, have decided to pursue new opportunities that have presented themselves over the past several months and begin the next chapter of our professional careers.
We are excited to announce these new projects in the coming days and weeks. Stay tuned.
[Photo: Garrett Hall/EDFW]