After a long three years in the making, things are finally under way for White Rock Alehouse & Brewery, a new brewpub restaurant opening at the intersection of Gaston Avenue and Garland Road, aka the center of the White Rock Lake universe.
Founders Dave Kirk and Greg Nixon are launching this joint venture for all the right reasons, including neighborhood pride and a fondness for craft beer.
"It's an East Dallas thing," says Dave. "Greg and I both live in Lake Highlands and we love the White Rock Lake area. For many years, it's been underserved as far as places to go out to eat and drink. That's where our idea came from."
Their original plan was a brewery.
"We'd been drinking your typical domestic beer, but our tastes evolved along with the evolution of craft beer," Dave says. "We'd visited breweries around the country and realized there was a need for something like this in East Dallas."
Their concept evolved, as well. "We realized that food should be a big piece of it," Greg says.
Unlike some who have opened breweries in recent years, the two friends are not home brewer hobbyists, although they have done home brewing. Really, they just like craft beer.
"Blake Morrison will be joining our family as head brewer," Greg says. "He spent years as an avid home brewer before acquiring six years of commercial brewing experience, including helping two start-up breweries get off the ground."
Morrison helped formulate several of the beers for Cedar Creek Brewery in Seven Points, Texas, including the popular Dankosaurus IPA. He also created the lineup of beers at Whistle Post Brewing in Pilot Point. Morrison and his wife are Lake Highlands residents, making a local gig that much more alluring.
They're still finalizing their beer lineup. "Keeping folks happy is the goal," Dave says. "The craft beer world has become very seasonal. Time of year will dictate some of what we offer, with Christmas ales and the heavier stuff like stouts and porters in cold months, and wheaty beers in the summer."
Their official license will be a brewpub, meaning they can brew onsite with a small system wherein everything they brew will be served in-house.
The food will feature dishes that pair well with craft beer, with an eye toward foodies and those who use the lake. They'll be open for lunch, dinner, brunch, and happy hour, and will be available for special events.
"In general terms, the food will be American but a little bit elevated," Greg says. "One of our goals is that, whatever the dish is, we'll give it a little upgrade or twist. And having food that pairs with beers is an important part, as well. We're committed to having food that's as good as the beer."
Their plan is to open quietly in November, and to carve out a realm as a mostly-adult place to hang out.
"We recognize that there are families in Lakewood and we will welcome everyone," Greg says. "But we want to make sure we're different from the places where kids are running around. We'll be family-friendly — but a big part of the feedback we've already gotten is that people would like us to provide an alternative to the kid thing."
They're going into the center with the PetSmart and a Tom Thumb. They're at the north end next to Ace Hardware, and the best part is that they're adjacent to the trailhead. They'll have a 4,000-square-foot patio with seating and a beer garden.
In the end, it's all about the lake.
"Our goal is to be lake centric," Greg says. "We'll be catering to the active lake community, and our decor will reflect that by incorporating elements of cycling and running and boating. There'll be elements that remind you of that, or give a nod to features around the lake, done in a unique way."
Article courtesy of Culture Map
The Texas Educational Agency released its 2017 Accountability Ratings, and the top-rated elementary in East Dallas may be a surprise.
Dan D. Rogers Elementary earned the most distinctions, six out of six, of any school in our neighborhood. The Advocate wrote about Rogers’ Principal of the Year Lisa Lovato, who brought in Personalized Learning and grew neighborhood support of the school. Rogers also received all six distinctions last year.
As a district, Dallas ISD did not receive any distinctions, though there were 30 schools that earned all distinctions, after only 17 earned all distinctions last year. One of the schools missing from the list was Woodrow Wilson High School, which earned all seven last year but dropped to six this year.
The ratings are based on standardized test scores and graduation rates, and look at student achievement, student progress, closing the achievement gap and readiness for the next level of education.
See how neighborhood schools have done below, and search the results of all Texas schools here.
Article courtesy of the Lakewood Advocate
Fore more information on Dan D. Rogers, contact the Rogers Early Childhood PTA
A coffee shop that's been a Lake Highlands hidden find has new owners willing to give it a shot. Drake's BrewHouse opened in early September at 8499 Greenville Ave., in a loping little center at the southwest corner of Royal Lane. The most recent occupant in the space was a short-timer called Urban Coffee Cafe — but it was the preceding shop, called Cafe Silva, that established a following of customers ready to embrace whatever's in the space.
Cafe Silva owner Masoom Khan is currently in Italy, but he retains a connection to the space, says Drake's owner Randi Drake.
"He had a great following," she says. "He did all of these great things like brewing his coffee over chocolate bars to add something special. He had another person interested in the space but he favored us because we wanted to do coffee."
That said, the coffee thing is still new to them, and so they kept much of the shop as it was, including an inherited La Cimbali espresso machine.
Randi is doing the shop with the help of her mother who lives in Fort Worth; she lives in Red Oak. It's a bit of a hike for both, but the location's assets makes it worth their while.
"We looked at spaces around Dallas-Fort Worth, but this location had the right water quality for good coffee, and an affordable rent," Randi says. "We're in an interesting location. We have some neighboring residents and businesses, and we also back up to a large greenspace that includes a golf course and White Rock Creek."
There is a Starbucks a few blocks east on Royal at the northeast corner of Abrams Road, but otherwise, there aren't too many other coffee spots nearby. Drake's gets its beans from Addison Coffee Roasters and they're doing brewed coffee, espresso and specialty drinks, as well as steamers sans coffee.
"The White Rock Creek bicycle trail runs right behind us, so we see a lot of bicyclists," Randi says. "So we are catering to the bicycling community with a line of fruit waters, which combine fruit with honey water. It's very refreshing. We do iced coffees, frappes, and a few smoothies."
One thing they didn't anticipate was the large number of people wanting lunch; they're open from 7 am to 5 pm Monday-Saturday. "We did put paninis on the menu, and on September 23, we're going to add some breakfast sandwiches, because people in this complex really seem to want it," she says.
That's their real goal, to respond to the neighbors' needs, from the moms seeking a place to camp mid-day to commuters on the go.
"One of the reasons I wanted to do a coffee shop is because of clientele," Randi says. "You see people walk in all dreary, because getting coffee is everyday life, and hope that when they leave, they say, 'That was an amazing experience.' Getting coffee is a luxury; anyone can make it at home. We want to be here for people who want to get out of their home."
Article courtesy of Culture Map
East Dallas is about to get down with one of the hottest dining trends with the opening of a new restaurant at the intersection of Mockingbird Lane and Abrams Road, in a space that was for many years home to Zuzu Handmade Mexican Food.
The trend is poke, and the restaurant is Poke Bop, which opened its first branch on Lemmon Avenue in a former frozen yogurt shop in March. This will be its second location.
Zuzu Handmade Mexican Food had been at that location for more than 20 years. The closure itself was sudden, with the final day of service on July 23; but the restaurant's departure had been forecast for a few months, when owner Basilio Andrade made it clear in the spring that he was not planning to renew the lease, which expired on October 1.
The poke trend began to hit Dallas in late 2016, and shows no sign of slacking, with new concepts continuing to open around DFW.
Poké Bop's menu includes signature bowls or an opportunity to build your own. It also includes the "poke donut," a sushi roll bent in the shape of a circle, which earned it some press.
Diners can also enjoy a poke ritto: basically an over-sized sushi roll that hasn't been sliced into pieces, so you can pick it up and eat it with your hands, like you would a burrito.
As it does at the original branch, the East Dallas Poké Bop will have Asian beers and cold sake, available by the bottle. The restaurant has tables but also standing dining options, as well.
According to a spokesperson, construction began in early September, and they're hoping to open in December.
Article courtesy of Culture Map
As the 2017 bond project list take shape, District 14 in East Dallas is proposed to receive almost $90 million, with over $33 for street repairs. In a Facebook post, District 14 councilman Philip Kingston wrote, “What these mobility projects mean is that you will see a real, substantial improvement in the condition of the streets, sidewalks, bike lanes, trails, and alleys that you use every day.” He also noted that the projects won’t include projects that span multiple jurisdictions, such as the 3G intersection, which receives funding from the state.
Kingston goes on, “And if you don’t see the project you care about funded here, don’t lose hope. I am also still securing grant funds from the feds and the state.”
See all the street repairs planned in each council district here (District 9 streets are still finalizing, but will be added to the link when they are done.)
Article courtesy of Lakewood Advocate. Note that University Meadows is in District 14, Mark Clayton's district, as is some of Lakewood - but Philip Kingston was the City Councilman consulted for this article.
There's a newly opened restaurant in Richardson featuring one of the area's best Turkish chefs. Tantuni Mediterranean Grill is a family-owned spot that opened on August 14 at 925 Abrams Rd., near the intersection of US-75 and 635, with some signature items including a chicken dish no one else in town is serving.
The chef is Ahmet Kara, who owned a restaurant in Istanbul, Turkey before moving to the United States in 1998. He was executive chef at Sultan restaurant in New York before coming to Dallas in 2002, where he was executive chef of Istanbul Café on Lovers Lane and Turkish Café in Plano.
At Tantuni, he's joined by family members such as his daughter Cansu, who manages the front of the house.
"People who know Mediterranean food know that Turkish cuisine uses a distinctive, flavorful blend of spices and herbs," she says. "And then one thing that we do that's special is our use of organic produce. We work with a gentleman who has a garden here in Richardson. Yesterday he brought us fresh basil and peppers, all organic; a lot of our customers really like that."
Their signature dish is Hatay-style chicken, named for Turkey's southernmost province, which they serve as a half chicken with two sides.
"I don't think anyone else in the area is doing it," she says. "The chicken is marinated for two days and then roasted on charcoal for two hours. The tenderness is amazing. And we add a glaze of barbecue sauce we make ourselves."
In addition to food from scratch, they also transformed the location itself, a former liquor store where they built a kitchen that took more than a year to complete.
"It's always been a dream of my father's to open his own restaurant," Cansu says. "He's been in the industry for 30 years. He loves to cook and he's a workaholic."
Other menu items include their Turkish variation on pizza, an oval flatbread called lahmacun, topped with minced lamb and beef, vegetables, and spices. It gets baked, then topped with onion salad, pickles, and lemon juice, which you roll up and eat on the go.
They do a weektime lunch buffet from Monday-Friday from 11 am-2:30 pm, with an all-day menu on Saturdays and on Sundays, a Turkish-tinged brunch.
"Last Sunday, we had a fresh omelet station where our chef was making omelets to order," Cansu says. "And we served our 'Tantuni wraps' — tantuni is a southern Turkey street food item; it's sort of like a street taco, with a little onion, tomato, and lettuce, and choice of chicken or beef. That's where we got our name."
Article courtesy of Culture Map
Harvey update: Help displaced people, students and pets right in our neighborhood
According to volunteers at Samuell-Grand Recreation center, the neighborhood has responded with an overwhelming amount of support for the evacuees at the makeshift shelter. Red Cross workers said that as of Wednesday afternoon, the center has more supplies and volunteers than they need, and at times good intentions can cause problems in the name of disaster relief.
The East Dallas recreation center was teeming with supplies, evacuees and volunteers on Wednesday afternoon, as haircuts were being given outside. If you would like to volunteer, but don’t show up to Samuell-Grand. Instead, visit voly.orgto sign up for a shift. See below to learn more about how to volunteer.
A big thanks to those of you who are interested in volunteering w/ #RedCross. Hear from our Volunteer Services team on next steps. #harveypic.twitter.com/zeny2ntSkf
— American Red Cross (@RedCross) August 29, 2017
Rescue organizations across East Dallas are working to send as many supplies as possible to the animals caught in Hurricane Harey’s wake. USA Today reports that in some areas, 60 animals an hour are being brought to makeshift shelters. As much as possible, rescuers are trying to keep animals in place to allow evacuees time to retrieve their lost pets. But those animals are in need of food and bedding (including pillows, blankets and traditional pet beds), which can be donated to City Vet White Rock at 7324 Gaston (in the Lakeview Centre). The vet is working with rescuers who are ferrying the donations to shelters along the coast.
As Harvey victims have headed to Dallas, local schools are making preparations to receive them. According to Dallas ISD trustee Miguel Solis, school supplies can be donated to his officeat 2017 Young St., suite 101 during weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
There will also be boxes and bins to collect items at the entrance to Lakewood Elementary for diapers, baby wipes, uniforms, and school supplies. See the school supply list here.
Article courtesy of Lakewood Advocate: lakewood.advocatemag.com/2017/08/30/harvey-update-help-displaced-students-and-pets-in-right-in-out-neighborhood/?utm_source=Lakewood-East+Dallas+Advocate+Readers&utm_campaign=e3097246e4-8_24_17_News_ED&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_947226c439-e3097246e4-106473837
A new frozen pop company with a Brazilian twist is opening branches in two of Dallas' hottest neighborhoods. Called Picole Pops, it'll open in the Bishop Arts District, at 415 W. Davis St., in the former La Original Michoacana space; and also in Deep Ellum, at 2656 Main St., next to barbecue kingpin Pecan Lodge.
Adrian Lara, who owns Picole with his brothers Andres and Jorge, says that Picole will do gourmet "Brazilian-style" frozen concoctions infused with exotic fruits and fillings, some of which include alcohol.
"Picole is popsicle in Portuguese," Lara says. "This is a hugely popular concept in Brazil, and we're hoping to bring it here to the United States."
He describes the Brazilian-style pop as a spin-off of the Mexican paleta.
"It's not the same, however," he says. "Mexican pops are more of a water-based popsicle, with a texture that can be very hard. Ours will be infused with alcohol and exotic fruits you don't find here. And then it's all about the filling inside. Our slogan is that 'fillings matter.' Whenever you take a bite, it will be filled with things like Nutella."
They'll do pops in three categories: fruity, creamy, and premium-infused.
"We're going to do about 30 flavors, including fruit-based flavors like watermelon and strawberry," he says. "The premium are the ones that will be filled, like a banana pop with Nutella filling, or a strawberry pop with condensed milk. Some will have dairy, so the water-based will be flavors like lemon that are also good for vegans."
They'll reserve the alcohol-infused pops for their location in Deep Ellum.
"We want to adapt to the neighborhoods we're in," he says. "Deep Ellum has a younger crowd. But these won't be something where you get drunk on one popsicle; we don't want that to happen. We want people to be able to enjoy a popsicle and not get pulled over."
They've been working on the two locations for more than a year. They started out in Deep Ellum, but their building was among the lot of properties that were sold by 42 Real Estate in July. They turned their attention to Bishop Arts, which will likely open first.
Both locations occupy cool vintage buildings that will feature a colorful, decorative scheme based on Brazilian favelas, the funky urban dwellings. "We want to incorporate a lot of color," he says.
Their timetable is mid- to late-September.
A former financial services consultant who worked for Fidelity, Lara is also carrying on a family tradition with Picole. "My dad had a popsicle shop growing up," he says. "This is something I'm doing for my parents, too."
Article courtesy of Culture Map
A California gastropub known for its burgers is coming to Dallas. Oh, you mean Eureka? No. Called Laurel Tavern, it will go into the space at 1920 Greenville Ave. previously occupied by Clark Food & Wine, with an opening set for the fall. Clark Food & Wine closed at the end of 2016.
Laurel Tavern comes from a restaurant outfit called ACME Hospitality Group, led by William Shamlian, Michael Leko, and Jonny Valenti, with a portfolio of casual restaurants and sports bars such as Game Changers, Beelman's Pub in downtown L.A., and Lucy's 51 in Toluca Lake.
They opened the first Laurel Tavern in Studio City, in the San Fernando Valley area north of Los Angeles, in 2008, then opened a second branch south of Los Angeles in Hermosa Beach in 2016. They describe it as having "the best burger in the Valley."
The Greenville Avenue branch will be similar to the other two locations with a focus on quality food, handcrafted cocktails, craft beers on tap, and wines by the glass.
The menu for Greenville Avenue is being created by executive chef Roger Hayot, a longtime veteran of the Southern California restaurant scene who had his own restaurant in the late '80s called Authentic Cafe. While the Dallas menu is still being finalized, it will definitely feature small plates, salads, and sandwiches.
Two things that will definitely be on the Dallas menu include a pair of burgers: the Jalapeno Burger with chipotle sauce, jalapenos, poblano, pepper jack, and onion rings; and the Laurel Burger with honey mustard, avocado, pickled red onion, and shredded lettuce.
But they're yet not committing to a full recreation of the menu from Studio City. Will Dallas have their hot pretzels? Their pork belly skewers? Their French dip sandwich? Their kale-Caesar salad? Let's start agitating for all the things.
Article courtesy of Culture Map
Best known for fun and games and a good-time brunch, the folks behind The Social House are broadening their cuisine horizon with Don Chingon, a new restaurant opening on Lower Greenville in early September. Their hope is to redefine Tex-Mex, with novel dishes, a stellar atmosphere, and attentive service.
The restaurant is opening at 2237 Greenville Ave., in the former gas station at the corner of Belmont Avenue, across the street from what used to be the Whole Foods Market. Co-owner Shawn Rao says that with Don Chingon, they hope to offer a Tex-Mex that's different from what is generally found around town.
"We've always wanted to do a Tex-Mex place and hoped to put a fresh spin on the genre, rather than the same old stuff," he says. "And for us as a company, it represents a little more serious step towards food."
The Syn Group oversees a number of concepts, including multiple locations of Social House, its lively bar-restaurant; Sidebar, a lounge in Uptown Dallas; and America Gardens, a restaurant-bar in Fort Worth.
Rao says they went to restaurants in the area and around the country, seeking inspiration for something different from the same-old. That means no combination plates. Menu items include michelada-roasted chicken, Mexican lasagna, a pork chop braised for 18 hours, and enchiladas filled with short rib or smoked chicken.
There are carne asada fries — french fries topped with carne asada, uh huh — plus chicken and brisket tacos, with chicken and brisket that's smoked, not braised. Their lineup of cocktails will include more than 20 margarita options and 10 frozen drinks.
Prices start at $12. Most items will be under $20, with their most expensive dish, sea bass, at $28. But hey that sea bass comes poached in Dos XX and is served with Southwest hash, pickled radishes, and mango vinaigrette.
If you've driven by the space, you already know that they've invested serious dollars on the construction. The building has a cool midcentury flair, with some eye-catching colored shiplap on the exterior. Inside, there's a 40-foot mural with your prototypical sugar skulls, and on the patio is a 9.5-foot piñata.
This is a departure from what they originally planned for the space, which was a restaurant-bar with a bigger patio and more games. The feedback they got from the neighborhood was not in favor of such a concept.
"It's a great location, and fresh Tex-Mex seems like a better fit," Rao says. "When it comes to Tex-Mex, that area is under-served."
Article courtesy of Culture Map
Wynne McNabb Cunningham