Head to Head: FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar

How the American-inspired concept thrives
David Allan, hotel general manager
David Allan, hotel general manager
Adam Tracey, executive chef
Adam Tracey, executive chef

At Radisson Blu Dubai Waterfront, FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar provides American-inspired live cooking for its guests. The hotel GM and executive chef tell us how they do it

What is unique about FireLake and how does it compare to its competitors in the market?

David Allan: At FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar we honour the US Midwest’s tradition of charcoal, wood oven, and open flame cooking, where smoke and fire enhance the homegrown flavours. When coming here you can expect a cut of barbecued greatness in the middle of Dubai.

Adam Tracey: With a concept born in the US, but with touches closer to home, it provides us with such a wide scope when it comes to menus. We are essentially a casual modern American restaurant with influences from across the US and the Middle East.

How do the front-of-house and back-of-house support each other?

David Allan: It’s important that the team has a good communication and tries to support each other with their daily challenges and duties. Understanding plays a big role. This is also one of the reasons we put a heavy focus on identifying the right people.

Adam Tracey: From the beginning of the restaurant we identified that having a coherent and unified team was key to becoming a success. The biggest part for me was having everybody understand each other roles, know the challenges each of us faced, and learning things outside of your usual job.

How is the pricing strategy justified?

David Allan: The goal was to become the new local within the neighbourhood and this is how we have set our price range. We would like to create the family vibe, returning guests, familiar faces — that’s what creates the homecoming feeling.

Adam Tracey: We set out to establish FireLake as a neighbourhood restaurant and feel that the pricing fits in with that vision. Our prices are set to encourage customers to come two or three times a week.

What do you do to ensure the outlet is profitable?

David Allan: One of our key focal points is ensuring that we keep on track with the market, recognise the new trends while ensuring that our quality is on a high standard. It is about understanding what your guests want and identifying your market.

Adam Tracey: From a food point of view we work closely with our suppliers to ensure we get the right quality products at a cost which suits our restaurant. Also, with smoking and live fire a key element of the food we are able to work with less glamourous cuts of meat and fish.

What are the biggest challenges you face?

David Allan: Dubai continues to grow its restaurant and bar scene. The city is full of great offers so it’s always a challenge to develop a loyal crowd and build brand loyalty with customers.

Adam Tracey: The saturation of the food and drink scene in Dubai is probably one of our biggest challenges. With so much competition and the changing face of Dubai means it is harder and harder to attract customers.

What does the future of FireLake look like?

David Allan: FireLake combines the best mid-west traditions of open-flame cooking and the art of cocktail creation, not to forget its fantastic Burj Khalifa view from our terrace. 

Adam Tracey: It’s a great place to spend your weekends or end your day with a drink. It’s also a stunning location for private parties and corporate functions. We have seen an increase in requests and look into the future positively.

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