Landry's hospitality group announced Sept. 25 that it has acquired Del Frisco's Grille and Double Eagle Steakhouse, the two flagship brands of Del Frisco's Restaurant Group (DFRG). The restaurant chains join an already stacked roster at Landry's that includes famed steak houses Morton's and Mastro's, among many others. The sale price was not disclosed.
"One of the things that excited us is that [Del Frisco's restaurants] have such a huge wine program," Landry's owner and CEO Tilman Fertitta told Wine Spectator. "We love that their New York [restaurant] has the Grand Award, just like our [Mastro's Steakhouse at the] Post Oak, so now we have a Grand Award at two different properties."
Indeed, these two restaurant groups are no strangers to excellent wine programs. As well as the two Wine Spectator Grand Award winners in New York and Houston, Landry's currently holds 109 Restaurant Awards, and there are 24 Restaurant Award–winning locations of Del Frisco's Grille and 16 of Double Eagle Steakhouse across the country.
This new acquisition represents Fertitta's continued long-term goal to focus more on wine at his restaurants. Recent strides toward this include placing more sommeliers throughout the company's more than 600 restaurants, and developing a corporate wine-training program. In a Wine Spectator profile that appeared on the cover of the Dec. 15, 2018, issue, Fertitta said: "I would like that when wine lovers are sitting around talking about the best wine programs, if someone asks, 'Well, who has the best wine program in the country?' the answer [is obviously], 'Tilman Fertitta at the Post Oak.'"
Fertitta says he’s had his eye on Del Frisco's for a while, and tried to acquire the company in 2012. With that goal now complete, Landry's has what he believes to be the largest restaurant wine inventories in the United States.
Fertitta says there will be no changes to the operations or the wine lists at Del Frisco's. "They have a great wine program and I'm not smart enough to make those decisions," he said. "I know what I know and what I don't know. I have a Master Sommelier (Mastro's Post Oak wine director Keith Goldston) and lots of really smart people, I let them tell me what to do." But that doesn't mean expanding the business is off the table. "I definitely see us continuing to grow," he added.
The Landry's–Del Frisco's deal came about when private equity group L Catterton bought DFRG for $650 million, selling off the two brands to Landry's but keeping the Barteca Restaurant Group assets—Bartaco and Barcelona Wine Bar—which DFRG bought in May 2018. Barcelona Wine Bar has 15 Best of Award of Excellence–winning locations. DFRG sold the Sullivan's Steakhouse chain in September 2018.
Keep up with the latest restaurant news from our award winners: Subscribe to our free Private Guide to Dining newsletter, and follow us on Twitter at WSRestoAwards and on Instagram at wsrestaurantawards.