The name David Morton may sound familiar to you, and with good reason.
David is the founder of Chicago-based DMK Restaurants and is the son of restaurateur Arnie Morton, of Morton’s Steakhouse, and David’s brother Michael Morton is the co-founder of Morton Group, which includes La Cave Wine & Food Hideaway, as well as the N9NE nightclub group in Las Vegas. Half-brother Peter Morton founded the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
The Landing is David’s first venture in New York City, situated in newly built PENN1, complete with comfortable, modern interiors and a delicious, yet unfussy menu over the 10,500-square-foot, 150-seat restaurant. We sat down with David and discussed secrets to success, trends, and more.
Tell us about yourself. How did you get started?
I grew up in the restaurant industry. My father, Arnie Morton, founded Morton‘s Steakhouse; and my family has been operating restaurants across the country for generations. We started DMK Restaurants in 2009 with a desire to merge fine and casual dining. We wanted the quality of fine dining married to the fun of casual dining. Today, our portfolio spans across Chicago, Las Vegas, New York, and Virginia.
What trends do you see in the culinary world right now?
Many trends are being driven by a post-Covid, celebratory environment. This translates to larger format, sharable dishes, low abv cocktails, session beers, and bubbles. And, meanwhile, larger trends that remain intact include clean eating, signature condiments, and eastern European flavors. And, as a wish, I hope that the industry continues to adopt more sustainable practices, which DMK is very committed to.
What is your secret to success?
Passion. I truly love what I do. Every day I get to think about how to design experiences for our guests and staff, which is a huge gift. By gathering data about what guests are loving from the tens of dishes we serve across the country each day, keeps us on our toes and always pivoting.
What are three courses a first-timer should order at The Landing? What is your go-to dish?
I love our Little Gem Salad made with grapefruit, avocado, quinoa, pistachio, and citrus vinaigrette. I often add fresh, grilled salmon to make it an entree. Otherwise, I love The Landing‘s Grilled Branzino (romanesco, cauliflower, charred scallions, and arugula; and – being a Morton – I love our steaks, too. New to our menu is a Spicy Ribeye, which is so delicious.
What culinary destinations are on your bucket list?
I found a lot of inspiration in Italy where I traveled with my family this summer. In addition to their well-known standards, there are a ton of new, innovative restaurants there. I also love to visit Berlin for general inspiration. From the art and music scene to seemingly endless culinary creativity, it’s always a great go-to. And, finally, I continue to be enamored with Mexico City, which I hope to visit again soon.