Hold onto your forks for this one: After co-founding Dame with Jane Smith (The Knock Back) 10 months ago, big-time sommelier Dana Frank tells Eater she’s left the restaurant to run the wine program at Holdfast Dining, the innovative chef’s counter helmed by Will Preisch and Joel Stocks at 537 SE Ash.
That means Dame has a mostly new team behind it, since opening chef Eli Dahlin left the kitchen in March: Smith now fully oversees the day to day operations; Maggie Strom, who has been at Dame since the start, runs the wine program; and Tyler Jaskey, who took over for Dahlin in March, rules the burners. As Dame has received tons of press over the past months, this change is indeed a shocker.
At Holdfast, Frank tells Eater she will continue to focus on natural wines, but it’s still too early to unveil specifics. “I'm really excited about joining Will and Joel,” says Frank. “There will be lots of goodies, for sure.” Former Holdfast wine guru Jeff Vejr has left the restaurant to open the wine tasting room, Les Caves, on NE Alberta.
Before opening Dame, Frank was selecting and pouring wines at Ava Gene’s. Over the years, she’s garnered major accolades, including being named Food & Wine Magazine's 2015 Sommelier of the Year and “A Sommelier to Watch in 2015” by Bon Appetit. As Holdfast is already producing some of the most exciting plates in Portland, adding Frank’s wine expertise only signifies great things to come.