Trey Wilder hit the road from his home in Perry Georgia and started a journey that ended in Savannah, well, so far. Growing up in Perry he is a Georgia Bull Dogs fan but with an interest in architecture he hit the road and it lead to Auburn University. However, the itch to hit the road soon took over and Trey made his way to Los Angeles, California where for next 4 years he lived and worked in L.A.
Trey ended up working at the W Hotel in L.A.where he became friends with a man named Kenny who was the General Manager of the Whiskey Blue located in the hotel where Trey was working at the time as the Valet Manager downstairs. Kenny’s older brothers are Scott and Rande Gerber. Scott and Rande Gerber, along with Rande’s wife, actress Cindy Crawford, owned the Gerber Group at the time which had a number of nice and trendy restaurants and night spots in L.A. and New York.
At 25 years old Trey decided to set his sights for New York City. Kenny asked Scott and Rande if they may need someone in New York and as it turns out -Whiskey Park,-a stand alone bar near Central Park and across from the Ritz Carlton needed an Assistant Manager. Here Trey got his first taste of the Food and Beverage industry in 2006. He advanced in the ranks to General Manager of the wet bar at the W on 39th and Lexington. Here Trey stepped up to the challenges of responsibility that comes with the corporate structure of the company. Now Trey has a real zest for the business and was given the opportunity to be the Director of Food and Beverage at the Rivington Hotel on New York’s lower east side. The bar was trendy and the drinks were infusions and it was a place to see and be seen. Trey had several opportunities to work at a few places in New York, even open a place which now helped him be prepared for Treylor Park today.
Trey Wilder is an articulate southerner who has experience working in both smaller and in larger more “corporate” environments. In the larger places necessity dictates certain aspects of the job. You are dealing with unions, buildings furnished by interior decorators, and even music with a specific daily play-list. At Whiskey Park Trey gained a new nickname from the staff. The music played there was always the corporate play-list every day and mostly the same. Sometimes late at night when the crowd was gone and they were finishing up Trey would switch the music to his music. So the staff coined a name for him and “DJ Treylor Park” was born. Perhaps it was his southern accent that played in the name.
After successful runs at several places Trey realizes that some of the people he is working for are his age. If they can do it so can he. At the center of this revelation is the realization that a good sensible place that does not intimidate is the key. “I wanted to create a place that I would feel comfortable going in myself”. Cut through the lengthy extensive menus, by offering a basic 5 category menu that has a brunch item in every category. Take the basic simple food items but tweek the flavor of the food and provide infused drinks to give really good and consistent offerings to the patrons. He knew the idea of Treylor Park would work. There was one concern that because the name is Treylor Park it would be misconstrued as a dive. However using an Airstream Trailer in the logo and tastefully re-purposed items inside, projecting old movies on the wall, serving infused drinks and simple food with a flavor that is exceptional this place is comfortable, non intimidating and is what tourists and local look for because it is unique, Now it’s time to hit the road again to find the right place.
In Savannah the opportunity presented itself. On Bay Street was a place that with some work, not by interior decorators, he could throw his heart and soul into. No huge corporate budget here but a sensible nice place which creates an environment that both a 21 year old and a 71 year old would find appealing. The Treylor Park brand works because it is simple consistent and sensible. But sensibility should never be confused with mediocrity. Far from it. How many places do you know that serve Pigs in a blanket, Fried Bologna Classic and PB&J Chicken wings and are consistently listed as one of the best new restaurants and event in the top 10?
The rectangular layout of the restaurant is not much of a stretch from being a trailer. It has a glass window front with a bar as you step in. Adjacent is the dining area and from there a hallway leads to the outdoor garden bar area in the back.
Trey is sitting at a table in the restaurant while I talk to him. There is a relaxed confidence about the man. He knew the concept and how to develop this place and had a plan. The budget was minimal, mostly re-purposed items found on Craigslist as the source of the interior. The branding is comprehensive down to the colors in the logo matching the color scheme in the restaurant. This man hit the road a few years ago in a journey that cultivated into a dream then taught him the way to see it to its fruition on Bay Street in Savannah, Georgia.
So I asked Trey what is next. The answer, more Treylor Parks. Along the way menu items may change and enhancements may occur but the concept is solid and the place is popular so in 5 years don’t be surprised to see “somewhere” 5 more Treylor Parks.