News for the Hospitality Executive
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (September 2009) -- Erik Mrdak, an internationally recognized hospitality executive who holds invitation-only memberships in the prestigious Chaîne des Rôtisseurs and the Court of Master Sommeliers, has been named director of food and beverage for the soon-to-open Oasis Hotel at VictoryLand Greyhound Park near Montgomery, Ala.
Mrdak most recently served as the director of food and beverage for the High Peaks Resort in Lake Placid, N.Y. In his new role, he will oversee all aspects of the Central Alabama property's food and beverage operations, including restaurants, bars, menu development, wine selections, food preparation, dining accessories, room service, catering and receptions.
The Oasis Hotel, an upscale corporate and leisure travel property, will open on Nov. 1. It will feature 300 luxury guest rooms and suites, a fine-dining restaurant called Whitfield's Steakhouse, O's Lobby Bar, and the O Brew cafe' offering Starbuck's coffees. An 80,000-square-foot conference center for groups of all kinds will open in late 2010.
"The Oasis Hotel is going to be spectacular," said Mrdak said, who was named one of the "Best Young Sommeliers" in North America by Sommeliers International in 2003 and 2004. "As the hotel's first director of food and beverage, I will be working with an expert staff to create breathtaking dining, beverage and entertainment options for leisure and business travelers and convention groups. It will be a one-of-a-kind experience in the Southeast."
Mrdak has worked in various food and beverage and retail management roles for lodging properties in New York, Colorado, South Carolina, New Jersey and Texas. He joined Lake Placid's High Peaks Resort as director of food and beverage in 2008, helping take the property from AAA "Three-Diamond" to "Four-Diamond" status. As Lake Placid's top destination property, the High Peaks appeared on more than 90 TV stations and/or networks around the world, including NBC, CNN and MSNBC.
Before that, he served one year as the director of outlets for the Brown Palace Hotel and Spa in Denver. From 2006-2007, he served the Columbia Sussex Corp. as the manager of outlets for the Marriott Beach & Golf Resort in Hilton Head, S.C.; the general manager of Conroy's Gourmet Restaurant in Hilton Head; and a member of the executive task force for the Tropicana Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, N.J.
Other career roles included stints for the Woodland's Operating Co. as the restaurant manager and resort sommelier of Woodlands Conference Center & Resort in Texas; and the John Sheeley Restaurant Group in Houston as restaurant service manager for the Mockingbird Bistro & Wine Bar and restaurant and bar manager for the Riviera Grill.
The Houston native earned a bachelor's degree from the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston.
Mrdak has received international recognition. He is a member of the prestigious Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Ordre Mondial des Gourmets Degvstateurs, the international gastronomic society dedicated to bringing together both professional and non-professional members worldwide who appreciate and share a mutual interest in cuisine, wine and fine dining.
Other honors, memberships and/or certifications include the Baillaige des Estats-Unis Professionnel du Vin, the 2003 and 2004 Finale Regionale du Concour du Meilleur Jeune Sommelier, the Court of Master Sommelier – American Chapter, and the TIPS Certified On Premise.
"We are delighted to have Erik lead food and beverage operations at the Oasis Hotel -- Alabama's premier luxury hotel for corporate and leisure travel," said hotel general manager Rusti Price. "He is very accomplished in the industry, gaining international recognition for his leadership, creativity and dedication."
The Oasis Hotel, which will be located approximately 18 miles east of downtown Montgomery, will have 300 guest rooms, including eight luxury suites. All accommodations will include plush bedding, 32-inch LCD TV's, touch-screen phones, and 24-hour room service. Whitfield's Steakhouse will offer signature beef and seafood, as well as fine wines from an extensive wine collection. The hotel's conference center will be able to handle conventions, meetings, concerts and trade shows.
The adjoining VictoryLand is open every day of the year. Guests will only have to walk a few steps to watch live greyhound and simulcast races or play one of the more than 6,000 bingo games at Quincy's Triple Seven Bingo.
The VictoryLand complex is owned by Milton McGregor of Montgomery. The contractor for the Oasis Hotel project is Brasfield and Gorrie. The architect is Evan Terry & Associates. The hotel site is located off Interstate 85 at Exit 22 in Shorter, Ala., just 27 miles from the Montgomery Regional Airport.
The Oasis Hotel is currently taking reservations for stays beginning on Nov. 1. For more information, or to make a reservation, call (800) 688-2946 or (334) 727-0450, or visit http://www.OasisHotel.us. Meeting planners can contact the property for future bookings by calling (334) 720-1149 or sending an e-mail to Bill.Dowling@mcgp.us.
Whiting Publicity & Promotions
The Oasis Hotel
Dowling Named Director of Sales & Conference Services for
Soon-to-Open Oasis Hotel Near Montgomery, Alabama / August 2009
Hotel at Victoryland, Near Montgomery, Alabama to Open November 1,
2009; Rusti Price Named General Manger / August 2009