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Episcope Hospitality owns and operates concepts in Chicago, New York City, and Las Vegas.

David Morton discusses his rebranding of DMK Restaurants to Episcope Hospitality

The industry veteran has also launched a consulting business

David Morton, founder of 15-year-old DMK Restaurants, has rechristened his company Episcope Hospitality and also launched a consulting firm, Episcope Advisory, that specializes in restaurant management, design and operations.

He has brought on two partners as part of the advisory: Ryan Gaudin and Daniel Orrison, who previously worked together at RH Hospitality, which introduced a food and beverage program to Restoration Hardware. Gaudin and Orrison went on to found a hospitality management and development firm called Ring on Hook before partnering with Morton.

“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. No one has done that better than David Morton,” Orrison said.

Episcope Hospitality owns and operates concepts in Chicago, New York City, and Las Vegas, including Marshall’s Landing in the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, The Landing in Penn 1 in New York, and One Steakhouse in Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas.

Morton anticipates several new projects to go live by the end this year. In early 2024, they opened a second outpost of the gourmet takeout marketplace Office Hours, in New York City at Penn 2, and they plan to open one-acre rooftop restaurant, lounge, and workplace sometime this summer. New venues are also planned for Chicago, Houston, New Jersey, New York, and Phoenix.

Morton recently discussed his plans.

What was the driving force behind the rebranding and expansion of DMK Restaurants into Episcope Hospitality?

Success in hospitality is about finding the balance between anticipating the future and dictating it yourself. We've evolved quite a bit from our first little burger restaurant. And now, with COVID behind us, this felt like the appropriate time to update our brand as we expand in both new and existing markets.

Can you share anything about the projects you have in the works now?

Over the next 12 months we'll be opening everything from restaurants and cafés to markets and outdoor venues. All of our projects are connected by our culture of noticeably high quality matched with contagious hospitality. 

What do you think is most exciting about where the restaurant industry is right now? What’s most challenging?

Overall, I remain bullish on the hospitality, travel, and leisure industries for the foreseeable future. As time and place become more fungible — particularly with how we work — hotels, restaurants, and destinations will continue to benefit. On the challenging side, headwinds will remain in commodity and labor markets.

How do you see Episcope Hospitality positioning itself to both respond to the current market, and to be a leader setting the pace moving forward?

Our current model is designed to be flexible, meaning that we're not trying to predict what's going to happen next in food, beverage, or real estate trends. Instead, we want our brands to be malleable, so they can seamlessly shift in the direction of demand.

You are partnering with Ryan Gaudin and Daniel Orrison on the advisory arm of Episcope. What draws you to the advisory and consultation space within hospitality?

We've quietly been in this space for many years and, all along, greatly admired Daniel and Ryan's work from afar. Together, we see limitless opportunities for how hospitality can unlock value in assets and their surrounding communities.

What do you see as the main issues that need key thought leadership in the market right now?

The regulatory environment has become increasingly restrictive in certain markets, so I think we can do a better job helping communities and municipalities understand just how central restaurants are to their fabric. 

When consumers see the name Episcope on a project, what do you most want that to evoke for them?

Great question, but let me state the obvious: Feeling really well taken care of. 

TAGS: People Owners
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