Operations

David Morton's DMK Restaurants rebrands as Episcope Hospitality + Advisory

The Chicago-based multi-concept group is growing nationally, with new concepts coming this year to New York City, New Jersey and Phoenix.
restaurant interior
Marshall's Landing in Chicago is in the Merchandise Mart complex. | Photo courtesy of Episcope Hospitality.

Famed restaurateur David Morton has outgrown Chicago. And to reflect his growing portfolio of restaurants, he is rebranding his 15-year-old restaurant company as Episcope Hospitality + Advisory.

The Chicago-based group is now parent to the concepts that were previously operated by DMK Restaurants, which include Marshall’s Landing, The Exchange and The Founders Room in Chicago, as well as The Landing and Office Hours in New York City, One Steakhouse in Las Vegas, and Giorgio’s in Houston. The group is also launching several new concepts this year.

And in addition, Episcope will also host a consulting arm called Episcope Advisory, in partnership with two industry veterans: Daniel Orrison and Ryan Gaudin, who previously were known for the hospitality management and development firm Ring on Hook.

Previously, Orrison was the founding director of RH Hospitality, the group that brought food and beverage to Restoration Hardware. Gaudin led that group’s national rollout as their director of operations and service.

The three partners join a growing number of prominent restaurateurs adding advisory services to their operations, including Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, José Andrés Group, Fifty/50 Group and Danny Meyer’s Hospitality Quotient.

“The worlds of hospitality and real estate are blurring now more than they ever have, and we aim to bring high quality operations to that intersection,” said Orrison, in a statement. “No one has done that better than David Morton.”

Morton, of course, is the son of famed restaurateur Arnie Morton, who founded Morton’s Steakhouse in Chicago. Arnie Morton also helped Hugh Hefner launch the Playboy Club. David’s brother, Michael Morton, was the co-founder of another restaurant company called Morton Group, and he built and sold the N9NE nightclub group in Las Vegas. Their half-brother Peter Morton founded the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

David Morton founded DMK Restaurants with Michael Kornick, and the group was initially known for concepts like DMK Burger Bar and Ada Street—which were later sold—and the restaurant MK. But Kornick split from the group in 2021 in what was described as an amicable separation.

After the pandemic, David Morton’s DMK Restaurants shifted into growth mode with several large-format concepts, like Marshall’s Landing, which is in The Merchandise Mart overlooking the Chicago River, one of the largest commercial real estate properties in the country, and The Exchange. The group also developed and sold the Assembly Food Hall in Northern Virginia.

Coming soon are a number of new projects under Episcope. Among them is a one-acre rooftop restaurant and lounge coming to PENN2 in New York, where a second location of the grab-and-go Office Hours is also scheduled to open.

In Phoenix’s Biltmore neighborhood, the group is planning to open the restaurant Hearsay and a coffee shop called Perks in the development known as The Esplanade.

Coming to New Jersey this winter, the new Riverbend will overlook the Passaic River. And coming to Chicago in the fall is the new neighborhood eatery DJ’s Great Room, as well as a “modern bodega” called Layla & Ringo’s.

An episcope is an 18th Century invention that allowed opaque images to be projected on a wall, and it paved the way for modern technologies, the group said in a press release.

“Success in hospitality is about finding the balance between anticipating the future and dictating it yourself,” said David Morton, in a statement.

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