Chef Tony Dee joins Indianapolis Eddie Merlot’s

Long before eating organic, local food was hip, Tony Dee, Executive Chef of our Indianapolis location, was doing it. Chef Tony grew up near Ashland, Ohio, with severe food allergies. He could not eat any dairy products or citrus, and artificial flavors and colors were out. This eliminated anything processed, and made him intimately familiar with the home-grown food from his grandparents’ farm. “I ate very, very well,” Chef Tony says. “I ate a lot of fresh food, and I loved helping out at my grandparents’.”

His first restaurant job was as a dishwasher in a sports bar as a teenager. One night, when a cook showed up for work too drunk to cook, Tony was tapped to fill in by the owner. He did, and he was hooked on restaurants. He pursued a career as a chef since that very day.

Fortunately for Tony, he outgrew all those allergies, but he still has the taste for great food. We’re fortunate to have him as our new Executive Chef at our Indianapolis location.

Tony met Director of Operations Bruce Kraus at a charity event last year where Tony was a featured chef. Kraus later contacted Tony about a possible opportunity at Eddie’s and, knowing Eddie’s reputation, Tony accepted, moving to Indianapolis in November 2011.

“We are very excited to have an executive chef of Tony’s caliber join our Team. Tony’s talents will add to a great Team as we continue to grow into other areas of the county,” said Kraus.

Tony’s career has taken him to many exotic locations, and he’s been recognized and rewarded for his culinary talents. He previously worked as Food and Beverage Director for a private company in the British Virgin Islands, running four full-service restaurants. He was Executive Chef of Prelude by Barton G. and Barton G. The Restaurant in Miami, and helped develop The Villa by Barton G., formerly the Versace Mansion, in South Beach, Fla.

Tony has also done numerous TV appearances in multiple markets and has been featured by many major newspaper and magazine publications. During his tenure at Barton G. The Restaurant, it received the AAA 4 Diamond award for 2009-2010 and also had numerous reviews in the Miami Herald, New York Times, Gayot, Zagat and numerous other publications, charity events and appearances.

Tony feels his move to Eddie’s is the right one. With his experience and Eddie’s staff, he’s excited about the possibilities. Coming from a very intense background focused on technique, creative thinking about menu approach and financial operations, this should be a great fit for both sides.

“I think the sky is the limit with this concept. We have a tremendous owner [Bill Humphries] who is great at asking opinions of the staff and managers of the different venues, changing concepts and pushing in the right direction. Bruce [Kraus] has great drive and work ethic, and his direction helps keep everything in line,” Tony says.  “Bringing in someone like me with a background in fine dining, operations and new techniques puts us in the right position to expand nationwide while still maintaining a really high level of food and dining and service.”

To try Chef Tony’s exceptional recipes, make a reservation at our Indy location today by calling (317) 846-8303. Eddie Merlot’s lounge opens at 4 p.m. daily and the restaurant opens at 5 p.m. daily. For more information about Tony, his food and his background, you may contact him at


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An upscale restaurant group with locations in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio.
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One Response to Chef Tony Dee joins Indianapolis Eddie Merlot’s

  1. Pingback: Indianapolis builds a garden with help from small hands | Eddie Merlot's

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