Meet the NFL Player-Turned-Chef Opening an Oyster Bar in DC

Meet the NFL Player-Turned-Chef Opening an Oyster Bar in DC

On a humid afternoon in July, Tobias Dorzon seems round in awe at his soon-to-be, two-tale oyster bar and lounge. He can infrequently believe that during some weeks time, this could be his. Managers and creation employees buzz around the building. A power drill goes off inside the historical past.

“I slept here closing night,” Dorzon says. “I literally went home to bathe and came again. just to say something is yours, it’s crazy.”

Dorzon, 33, is a former NFL player and private chef to professional athletes. quickly, he’ll also be the chef and co-owner of the brand new Union Oyster Bar & front room, so as to open close to Union marketplace  (501 Morse St., NE) the primary week of September. The 4,000-square-foot restaurant will function various oysters, seafood dishes, and brick-oven pizza. There might be lots of liquor alternatives between the whiskey bar, wine bar, and cocktails crafted via beverage supervisor Calvin Hines Jr., the previous general manager of art and Soul restaurant.

Taking a page out of vintage Ebbitt Grill’s book, the bar will host a past due night satisfied hour, from 10 PM to 1 AM. He envisions an area with a “grown sense” where humans can concentrate to a 3-piece stay band in the front room, pair whiskey with a cigar, or feast on jerk sea bass and jumbo lump crab cakes.

Dorzon—whose birth call is Bloi-Dei however prefers his center name, Tobias—is the owner of Victory chefs, a personal catering business. He additionally operates Victory Truck, a cell eatery in DC and Maryland serving dishes like mac and cheese with deep-fried lobster tail and  Hennessy French Toast. 

As always family we thanks. @thevictorytruck. #ChefTobias #TheVictoryTruck

Born and raised in Riverdale Park, Dorzon has observed a winding path marked by using tragedy to reach his culinary profession. In 2004, when Dorzon changed into 19, his older sister turned into murdered in North Carolina. Police located her frame break up and left in a bag in the trunk of her car. Her boyfriend on the time fled the united states of america and hasn’t been seen due to the fact. It’s some thing Dorzon carries with him each day, actually—Watchee, his sister’s call, is tattooed on his forearm.

“She became my nice buddy,” he says, then pauses to acquire himself. “It’s some thing I deal with emotionally each day. but I simply use it for motivation. You’ve gotta keep the faith. God doesn’t placed you in something you may’t deal with.”

In his more youthful years, Dorzon used that motivation for soccer. A running again at Jackson nation university, Dorzon fractured his ankle at some point of his first season in 2008. decided to rise above his circumstances, he returned a year later to run for extra than 800 general yards. 

Dorzon entered the NFL as a free agent in 2010, and spent stints with the Tennessee Titans and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In 2011, he changed into reduce and collected by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in Canada. 

“At that point, we didn’t have passports for my daughters, so i used to be getting homesick, missing my family,” he says. “It were given to some extent where I wasn’t taking part in soccer anymore. It became a process where i was like, i'm able to’t do this.”

Dorzon determined it become time for a career alternate. As a hobby, he had spent his off seasons on the artwork Institute of Washington’s culinary school. His father, a Liberian immigrant, spent 14 years walking a West African eating place called Kendejah on Georgia avenue, wherein Dorzon labored in as a kid. questioning back to the ones days, he determined to enroll in culinary faculty complete time. 

After graduating, Dorzon landed cooking jobs on the Ritz-Carlton in Georgetown and the Society restaurant & living room in Silver Spring. “At that time I in reality didn’t know my own really worth,” he says. “i used to be running for pennies, running 20 hour days as an executive chef. It helped in a manner—I discovered what to do and what no longer to do within the restaurant industry. It’s after I instructed myself that sooner or later, i would very own my own restaurant.”

late one night, Dorzon was scrolling through Instagram and observed that former Washington Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss had a few pictures of meals on his profile. bringing up his new personal chef business enterprise, Dorzon commented, “hiya guy, you ought to attempt me out.” while he awakened the next morning, Moss had observed his account and asked for a demo. He drove to Moss’s house tomorrow and made roast fowl, broccolini, and candy potatoes, which the Moss circle of relatives loved. Moss floated the idea of hiring him as a private chef. 

“i used to be like, guy, on every occasion you’re geared up just let me recognise, motive I’m equipped to start these days,” Dorzon says. “after I were given inside the automobile, I ought to’ve punched a hollow via my roof i used to be so excited.”

inside a week, Moss had already informed Redskins players Trent Williams, DeSean Jackson, Chris Baker, and Kirk Cousins approximately Dorzon. all of them desired in, and as word spread, Dorzon’s business boomed. closing August, he went into partnership with considered one of his clients, Cleveland Browns’ Tyrod Taylor, and took his enterprise on wheels. A yr later, Dorzon teamed up with Russell Webster, who works in the music industry and is keen on the Victory food truck, to convey Union Oyster Bar & lounge to existence.

“As a minority, you definitely don’t get those possibilities,” Dorzon says. “There are so lots of us out right here that do first rate matters, but simply don’t get the platform to honestly present it.” 

Dorzon gives some clever phrases for younger black entrepreneurs and budding cooks: “by no means allow anyone positioned a cap on what you want to acquire. There are things we need to perform in existence, things that we’re scared to chase because we suppose it may not get executed because of our skin color. but no person can rewrite the e book that God already made for us.”

even though his eating place hasn’t even opened but, Dorzon is already dreaming large. sincerely big. His subsequent mission is to be on the cover of meals & Wine.

“You barely see black chefs on there, and we’re exceptional,” he says. “I don’t like to seem like the everyday chef. i like sporting fitted hats, quality chef jackets, and Jordans in the kitchen. however i can do it with the great.”

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