NiteTalk: Matt Bracher Keeps Historic Van Dyke Sharp

Of all the Lincoln Road landmarks, the Van Dyke building is undoubtedly among the most beloved. Built in 1924 by legendary Miami Beach fixture Carl Fisher and kept period-fresh by Greenstreet Partners, it's also where you'll find the Graspa Group's beloved Van Dyke Café, which occupies both the ground and second floors. And helping to ensure the Café runs smoothly is smoothie Matt Bracher, who took time out to fill in Niteside.

Can you tell us exactly what you do at Van Dyke? I'm one of the floor managers. I've been working at the Van Dyke Café for two and a half years.
What all does that entail? My biggest priority is guest service. I train my staff until they can provide superior guest service. I've told them any less than 100 percent is unacceptable. I supervise all of the front of the house staff. Hiring, firing and scheduling are all in a day's work. But I don't like to hide in the office. I like to practice what we hospitality professionals call, "MBWA" (Management By Walking Around).

Working Lincoln Road must be a bit of a trip, no? I consider myself lucky to work on Lincoln Road. It's a circus every day. Women like it because they treat it like a fashion runway. Men like it because they can watch the women. And the rest of us who have to work there just regard it as entertainment. When you mix in all the characters that walk around, it's better than any pay-per view channel on TV.

Van Dyke has quite a live music scene upstairs. Can you tell us about it?
My company took over the Van Dyke about three years ago and we've continued the tradition of live entertainment. You can see a live show there seven nights a week. We book all kinds of music, not only Jazz.  On any given night you could see rock, rap, reggae, roul, R&B, Latin, blues, comedy and I think we've even had a Grateful Dead cover band.

Who's coming up in November? We book some fantastic entertainment all year round and November is no exception. Oriente is a great Afro-Cuban Jazz Fusion band who always brings a crowd. They play on Sunday, November 14th. And I'm a big fan of Big Poppa E because he does the best of classic blues -- he'll be back on Thursday, November 25th.
Where were you before the Van Dyke? I spent my time in the trenches working as a cocktail server at Segafredo Lincoln Road for two and a half years. That was a crazy experience, considering it was my first job in Miami after moving from Orlando. And although I haven't worked there for a few years, I still feel like family every time I return.
O-Town to South Beach? That's like two entirely different galaxies! What's the biggest difference in the markets? Orlando caters to families where Miami attracts a more grown-up crowd. I really enjoyed working for Disney, but working there is an entirely different experience from spending your vacation there. Some of the guys I used to work worth there joke about writing a book about all their dirty secrets.
When you're not handling the action at Van Dyke, where else in town do you dig hanging out? I like to keep it low key.  When I'm off, I'm usually watching sports at one of the Irish Pubs around town or sipping a beer at Zeke's.
What's coming up for Matt Bracher? No clue. I'm going to see where this job leads me. I couldn't tell you what I'll be doing next week, let alone next year. Working in hospitality is unpredictable, maybe that's why I enjoy it?

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