Ryan Oruch, the chef and co-owner of Plano’s Sea Breeze Fish Market & Grill, announced plans to open The Wilfred, a classic speakeasy, adjacent to his seafood restaurant in Lakeside Market at 4017 Preston Road, Suite 530, Plano.
Oruch lived in Plano his whole life and has now spent half of his life working in his family’s restaurant business. However, two years ago, he was looking for a change of pace and decided to move from Plano to Bishop Arts.
“I wanted to surround myself with like-minded, passionate, hospitality-driven individuals and man did I find it!” explained Oruch. “However, there are some amazing things happening in both the bar and restaurant environments here in North Texas, and I wanted to engage in those dialogues moving the industry forward.”
Oruch quickly realized that there were no great classic cocktail lounges or speakeasies in West Plano, and yet the population of the area had a strong affinity for quality cocktails and the life experiences and budget to appreciate fine spirits and wines. From that, the seeds of The Wilfred were sown.
While The Wilfred will be a traditional speakeasy, Oruch describes it as having the atmosphere of a neighborhood cocktail lounge with sophisticated décor and an intimate feel designed to create a sense of experience.
The speakeasy’s entry will be via the waiting area at Sea Breeze Fish Market & Grill, his family restaurant of the past 16 years. Guests will find a discreet keypad, where the code for entry will change frequently. Guests can locate the code via The Wilfred’s social media channels or on the bottom of Sea Breeze receipts.
The luxe furnishings will include a hand-crafted bar and stunning artistic bar back. Feature chandeliers will gently light both the main bar area and two small lounge areas. Banquettes in deep burgundy will rest beneath hand-crafted wallpaper in a purple brocade.
The Wilfred will feature a menu showcasing pre-Prohibition cocktails but still celebrating the most innovative mixology techniques of the day. The Wilfred has engaged Texas’ mixology luminaries Ryan Payne and Gabe Sanchez to craft the curated collection of classic cocktails and unique libations. All of the specialty beverages will be presented in gorgeous cut crystal glassware with beautiful garnishes. One special cocktail, “The Freddy,” will be served as a shot and will serve another purpose.
“My family raised me to give back in life, and we want The Wilfred to reflect that,” explained Oruch. “The Wilfred, aka Freddy, is named for my dog who I adopted 11 years ago and has been part of my restaurant journey the whole time. This shot will be designed to give back to local nonprofits. Each quarter we’ll select another charity for which a portion of proceeds of The Freddy shot will be donated.”
Oruch looks forward to showing Collin County diners and drinkers a truly elevated cocktail experience.
“We’re bringing in a team of Dallas’ most exceptional barmen to ensure both consistency and speed of service,” explained Oruch. “My father always taught us to provide every guest an experience rooted in quality and consistency, and we want to make sure every visitor to The Wilfred feels that.”
It’s no surprise that with Oruch’s history with the wine industry that the lounge also will feature a curated by-the-glass program and a luxury list of wines by the bottle with a particular focus on Champagne and other wines of France.
Guests at The Wilfred will enjoy a seasonal selection of small plates with a surprisingly light amount of seafood, given the Oruch family history. The opening menu is still in development, but guests can expect an array of treats including Wagyu meatballs, lobster fried rice and a skillet of hand-crafted tiny Parker House rolls. Additionally, guests in the know can request a caviar bump designed to perfectly complement their cocktail or bubbles.
Guests who arrive early at The Wilfred will enjoy a very large happy hour offering with deeply discounted cocktails and food daily from 4-7 p.m.
The Wilfred is slated to open in April 2023. The lounge will open daily, Tuesday through Saturday, at 4 p.m. and will remain open until at least one hour past its sister restaurant next door