The Revenant Reborn
Lessons learned: Veteran chef cooks up serious values with Briargrove restaurant's revival
Chef Greg Gordon is back where he belongs. Best known as the chef-owner of La Vista restaurant, Gordon has returned to Briargrove as the chef and operating partner of the restaurant formerly known as The Del, a family-friendly, neighborhood establishment that opened in 2015.
To note the changes associated with Gordon's arrival, the restaurant has been rebranded as Del Vista Local Bar and Grill. Gordon has installed a new menu based on the dishes he served at La Vista, the Italian-inspired, BYOB restaurant he operated on Fountain View for approximately 20 years.
The new restaurant represents a fresh start for the chef. In 2018, Gordon relocated La Vista to Lazybrook/Timbergrove with a new menu and a full liquor license, but it closed after a year. Looking back, Gordon tells CultureMap he didn't understand the value of what he'd created until it was gone. He's approaching this venture with a fresh attitude.
“I don’t know why I didn’t get it years ago. I look at people like Charles Clark who are gracious and understand the hospitality of what we do. I just wasn’t,” Gordon says. “You were lucky to eat my food instead of me being lucky you were eating my food. I don’t know why I never got that relationship.”
While The Del isn’t BYOB, Gordon says he’s offering value by pricing name brand wines at or below retail and keeping his menu items affordable. For example, Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon is $79, The Prisoner red blend is $47, La Crema Chardonnay is $37, and Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio is $29. Most cocktails cost $10 or less, and the most expensive dish is a $30 tenderloin in a port wine sauce.
The menu includes options such as personal-sized pizzas, a selection of pastas, and shareable starters such as calamari and bruschetta. La Vista’s signature coconut cream pie is present and accounted for.
Those dishes will likely taste better than ever before, too. After La Vista closed, Gordon worked at Porta’Vino, restaurateur Bill Floyd’s wine-driven restaurant. While there, he worked alongside Potente chef Danny Trace, who Gordon credits for improving his culinary techniques in areas such as brining and how food is seasoned during cooking.
“Observing him and working with him and seeing what he did, I think it’s in everything I do now,” Gordon says. “The lasagna has smoked brisket in it now . . . There’s a lot of Cajun seasoning that’s subtle, but it adds to the profile of my food.”
In addition to a new menu, regulars of The Del will notice that Gordon has replaced the children’s play area with more outdoor seating, a necessity at a time when many people prefer not to dine indoors. Del Vista will remain family friendly — kids with limited palates could order a dish like pepperoni pizza or fettuccine Alfredo — but they’re expected to remain seated with their parents throughout their meals.
Gordon says he’s pleased with how his first couple of weeks have gone. Former La Vista regulars are finding their way to Del Vista, and he’s winning new fans.
“Maybe it’s another opportunity. I’m The Revenant, back from the dead,” Gordon says. “Maybe I’ll get to fix all that shit from the past. I try anyway.”