Extended restaurant services makes Brix a dining destination.
When Dan Matuszek started Brix at Village Pointe five years ago, he wanted to provide an experience for customers that centered around wine, beer, and spirits. He created an all-in-one concept with a bistro, a retail store, and an event center. The retail store and event center haven’t changed much over the years, but the bistro, which originally served tapas and other small plates, is now a full service restaurant with more than 30 items on the menu.
“Our customers wanted great food at great prices, so that’s what we’re giving them,” Matuszek said. Brix even has a new tag line: ‘fun dining, not fine dining.’ And a lot of emphasis is placed on the fun. “It’s an enjoyable atmosphere where you can sample many different wines and beers, both at our wine dispensers in the bistro and now at our new beer bar in the retail side. Plus you can walk around and shop while you do it, so that makes us unique.”
Last fall they knocked down a wall and put access between the restaurant and the retail store at the Village Pointe location so customers could easily walk back and forth. “A lot of people who shop here didn’t even know we have a bistro,” Matuszek said. Customers also wanted to be able to sample craft beers, so they added a beer bar at the back of the retail store with 20 craft beers on draft. The bistro offers 64 different wines and six to eight are changed out each week depending on what new wines come in or have a good rating. “The advantage to sampling is you can try different beer and wines for very little investment,” he added.
Pairing food with all those samples is a big part of the draw at Brix. Beth Bachmann, head chef at the Village Pointe location, describes the menu as comfort food with simple, fresh flavors. She said as they worked on the menu the past few years, they have relied on customer feedback, often bringing back items based on demand such as the lobster mac ‘n cheese. “Feedback from customers is a gift, and we always try to use it,” she said.
Beth works closely with Brix executive chef Erik Rickard. They work on recipes together and have been coordinating to streamline the kitchens at both the Village Pointe and Midtown Crossing locations. “We are putting a lot of energy into standardizing recipes and processes between both locations,” Rickard said. With their vast culinary backgrounds, they are both making sure the restaurant part of Brix is living up to Matuszek’s all-in-one vision.
Matuszek noted an interesting aspect about Brix that makes it appealing to many people. He said some customers like going into the bistro and sitting in front of the large modern fireplace and having a quiet dinner with their wine. While others prefer to hang out in the retail store among the bottles and busy shoppers. “We have just as many tables in the retail side as we do in the restaurant,” he said. “And we offer the exact same full menu in both. It’s just a matter of how people want to use the space.” They now offer lunch on Sundays in the retail store.
For larger events, Brix does have an event room where they hold wine and beer dinners, a New Year’s Eve buffet, and other special events. They’ve had some of the best winemakers in the industry hold dinners there. “We were one of only nine locations in the world where Opus One chose to have a wine dinner,” Matuszek said. Bachmann and Rickard create full menus for these special events, first tasting the wine or beer products then matching food items to the flavors.
Matuszek wants customers to come in and hang out, whether it’s in the restaurant, the retail store, at one of their Saturday tastings, or even during one of their upcoming ’12 Days of Brixmas’ charity events. “We want people to have a fun experience,” he said. “And we want people to know we have great food to go with it. Once you try it, I think you’ll want to come back.”
168th and West Dodge Road
225 N. 170th Street, Suite 101
Omaha, NE 68118