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
FYI: Grub Burger is running some specials and asked the Board to pass them along: 2 for 1 shakes from 2 pm until 5 pm, and $10 for a burger and a pint after 8 pm. UMNA doesn't get anything for this, just thought you might appreciate the info.
The longtime Dallas branch of Zuzu Handmade Mexican Food has closed, after more than 20 years at the centrally located corner of Mockingbird Lane and Abrams Road. 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.
Andrade was unavailable for comment, but he first told customers back in May that ZuZu would stay open through the end of September. By June, he told customers that he had changed his target closure date to the end of July or August.
He also told customers that the rent had been increased dramatically, quoting a figure as high as $8,000 a month. However, according to a source connected with the property, that figure was not accurate.
Customers were also told that Andrade was moving the restaurant to a new location in the Medallion Center, and the restaurant's Yelp listing is marked as "temporarily closed." A spokesperson for Medallion Center said there are no plans as of yet for a ZuZu to open there.
The first ZuZu Handmade Mexican Food opened in 1989 in Snider Plaza, with a healthy focus and fast-casual format that was ahead of its time. Its menu includes enchiladas, quesadillas, and fajitas, with housemade salsas in novel versions such as green tomatillo and roasted poblano red. Its signature item is grilled chicken. Original founders were Espartaco Borga and Horatio Lonsdale-Hands. Borga has since founded the La Duni chain, while Lonsdale-Hands' current project is Buda Juice.
Since 1993, ZuZu reverted to a family-owned and operated model, with each branch independently owned. The Snider Plaza original has long been closed, but there are locations in Austin, Addison, and Frisco, which opened in 2016.
Article courtesy of Culture Map
The Texas Wine Journal is proud to present Texas Wine Talk & Tasting, a Texas vs. The World® roadshow. Join us for an interactive and educational tasting and talk followed by a mixer with Texas wine producers, the Journal and other Lone Star wine lovers.
If Texas and wine hold equal parts of your heart, you’ll love this intimate tasting event. Experience a blind tasting of four Texas Wine Journal top-rated wines up against four world wines along with a talk about the regions, grapes and people moving Texas wine forward.
Wednesday, August 9th and Wednesday, November 8th - both at 7:00 pm.
LOCATIONWhole Foods Market (Park Lane)
8190 Park Lane North #351
Dallas, TX 75231
Don't miss out! Tickets are $25 and ONLY 25 tickets are available per event. Get yours before they're gone - 100% of the proceeds benefits the mission of the Texas Wine Journal. FOR TICKETS CLICK HERE
*Must be 21 to attend. Wines subject to change based on availability. Sorry, no refunds.
**Wine will be made available for sale during the mixer by the bottle and glass. You do not have to have purchased a ticket to the Talk & Tasting to attend the mixer.
It's been said that chicken has replaced burgers as the big trend, but that may have been too hasty, as the Dallas area is about to see another burger name join our pack. Hat Creek Burger Co., a small chain from Austin, will open four locations, including one in Dallas on Walnut Hill Lane.
Two locations will open in Collin County, off 121 in Allen and at 3321 S. Custer Rd. in McKinney; a fourth is headed for Rowlett.
Hat Creek Burger Co. started out life as a food truck, launched by founder Drew Gressett in 2008. There are currently five locations around Austin. The menu has burgers and milkshakes, but also salads, breakfast, and beer. For non-beef-eaters, there is a turkey burger, a veggie grain burger, and a chicken sandwich. There are fries, sweet potato fries, and fried pickles — they're way into their pickles.
The first DFW branch opening will be McKinney, in early fall; the other three branches will open in late 2017 or early 2018.
Gressett was born in Dallas, and says that he and his family have great ties to the Dallas community.
"We decided on Dallas because of its large population of families looking for a great place to enjoy awesome food and awesome service," he says. "Along with our local partners, we're excited about bringing a great family-oriented place to Dallas."
The family-friendly atmosphere is an essential Hat Creek signature, says spokesperson Tara Miko. Every location has an indoor playground for kids, and each playground is unique.
"For our latest Austin branch, we retrofitted a vintage Silverstream trailer to tell the story of how Hat Creek began as a food truck," she says. "We're not doing pre-fab playgrounds — each location will have its own stamp and identity."
Everybody in the Hat Creek family has kids. "We aim to be the family-friendly restaurant," she says. "It's about providing a place for mom to sit outside by the playground with a glass of wine. We have great burgers, but we'd rather you come for the atmosphere and then try the burger and find out it's awesome."
Article courtesy of Culture Map
The priceless space on Knox Avenue that was once the Chili's makes way for a promising new restaurant from an inspired restaurateur and two rock star chefs. Called Up on Knox, it's from Stephan Courseau, owner of Le Bilboquet, and the chefs are Dennis Kelley and Melody Bishop, the husband-wife duo who previously ran the kitchen at Lark on the Park.
All three will be dedicated to creating a low-key but excellent restaurant, what Courseau calls an American brasserie, that will serve the neighborhood plus any diner seeking a certain California je ne sais quoi, which makes sense since Kelley and Bishop moved here from California and Courseau is French. Is it tedious when people explain jokes?
After four years with Le Bilboquet, which has become a top destination for Park Cities diners and lady gatherings, Courseau has learned about and evolved with the neighborhood.
"I won't say it was easy, but Le Bilboquet has become the neighborhood restaurant I always envisioned," he says. "I've also become a local, as well. I live four blocks away. When I heard the Chili's space was available, I wanted to stay in the same neighborhood. I'm a hands-on guy. Being a few blocks away means that, 45 minutes after I have dinner, I'm at the restaurant. I'm happy that I get to stay a local guy."
"American brasserie" is his attempt to describe what is really just going to be a nice place to eat.
"Nowadays, everyone tells you about their concept. I don't have a concept," he says. "I do and I don't. My concept is to try to open nice restaurants where people can have great food, atmosphere, and hospitality. If we need to label it, because we have a French restaurant a block away, we'll call it an American brasserie, a smaller scale of the brasserie, with high ceilings and brass elements in the décor."
Up on Knox will be open seven days a week, beginning with lunch and dinner, and eventually breakfast, too. The targeted opening date is September. The menu is still in development, but one thing it will have for sure is an oyster bar.
"But at the end of day, the cuisine is not going to be French," he says. "There might be some French techniques, but I want it to be much more expansive. Our idea is to not only be sustainable with local ingredients but also to be able to incorporate any type of influences the chefs think they should incorporate."
Kelley was recently laid off from Lark on the Park, an unfortunate turn of events that turned out to be fortunate, as he, Bishop, and Courseau represent like-minded souls.
"I always thought they were talented and they embody the perfect approach with a California take on 'local' and also lighter, with not putting 10 things on the plate," Courseau says. "They're such nice people. I worked for Jean-Georges [Vongerichten] and Daniel Boulud, and you find with geniuses they are often gentle people. When I met Dennis, that's what I felt like — he’s a normal guy who wants to create great food, produce proteins, keep it local, and emphasize the hospitality, working together with the people running the front of the house."
Bishop is from Dallas originally, and the couple wanted to find an opportunity to stay.
"With all these concept restaurants, there aren't that many opportunities for people like them, and part of my mission was to keep someone so talented and passionate here," Courseau says. "It's wonderful to meet two other people who want to keep making great food, that's what it's about in the end."
Article Courtesy of Culture Map
Abel Gonzales, who has achieved international fame as a repeat winner of the State Fair of Texas' Big Tex fried food award, now has his own restaurant. Called Republic Ranch, it's in soft-opening mode at 3121 Ross Ave., in a space that has seen a number of concepts open and close, such as Salt Lounge, Bungalow Beach Club, Southern Comforts, Ormsby Catering — oh, don't make us go through the list, it's too painful.
This is the first restaurant for Gonzales, but it's really an extension of his longtime catering business.
"I've been doing a lot of this food on the catering side, which has been headquartered in this very kitchen, so I know the space very well," he says. "Some of the previous tenants had DJs and a nightlife component that put them in a rough spot in the neighborhood. When I got the opportunity to take over the space, it seemed like a natural evolution."
Although Gonzales has made a name for himself as the king of kitschy fried foods — like fried butter — he grew up in the restaurant industry, working in the kitchen of his father's restaurant, A.J. Gonzales' Mexican Oven, in the West End. He has the chops, both in the kitchen and front of the house, as a charming and gregarious host.
Rather than fried foods, his menu at Republic Ranch spotlights two of Texas' favorite cuisines. "It's a blending of Mexican food and barbecue," Gonzales says. "It's what I've been doing in my catering work and I know people like it."
He's doing tacos with fillings such as rib-eye, chicken, and pulled pork.
For full Culture Map article CLICK HERE
Dallas can never get enough croissants, and now there's a new place baking them: Edith's Patisserie, a new bakery and bistro that opened on May 9 at Mockingbird Station, in the former Rockfish Seafood Grill space. If you want croissants, Edith's has them, in butter, almond, and chocolate varieties, plus desserts, sandwiches, and custom cakes.
Baked sweets include oatmeal cookies, colorful macarons, and pies, including pecan pie and a cool oatmeal pie, with a fudgey oatmeal center.
Before opening her shop at Mockingbird Station, founder Edith Ferreyro ran an at-home bakery business for 10 years, baking specialty cakes for friends and family. She quickly established a following for wedding cakes, and also baked desserts for restaurants.
After her son was hurt in a near-death accident, she says she became newly motivated to open a shop.
In addition to baked goods, Edith's is also a French-style bistro with breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
There is a tempting breakfast menu with scrambled eggs and baguette toasts; pain perdu with challah bread and vanilla ice cream shakshouka — eggs baked in spicy tomato beef stew with potatoes, carrots, and peas; fried chicken with Gruyere popovers and pancetta gravy; blueberry ricotta pancakes; spinach and cheddar omelet; and short rib hash with red potatoes, onions, white cheddar, and a sunny-side egg.
For full Culture Map article CLICK HERE
With the mourning period for Good 2 Go Taco coming to a close, it's time to move on. Happily, there's something new going into its former East Dallas location: Hello Dumpling, an Asian restaurant specializing in dumplings, with an adjoining tea salon.
Owner June Chow is a second-generation Chinese-American who grew up in the Northeast in a family that owned restaurants.
"My mother is from northern China, and growing up, we ate dumplings," she says. "We've lived in East Dallas, and for some time, I've felt like there's a need for an interesting Asian restaurant in the neighborhood. I feel like the moment is now."
She not only wants to serve dumplings, but elevate their status as something to be taken more seriously than a mere appetizer.
"The basic concept is to serve home-made style dumplings," she says. "I'm going to have 8-10 varieties, the kind you would find in every great dumpling place in northern China. My idea is to show that dumplings are not just an appetizer, but in many cultures is part of your main meal."
Along with the dumplings, Chow says she'll do hand-cut noodles, a few Asian street foods, some tapas, salads, and sides. There'll also be a rotating dumpling every month.
"I want to make it so it's fresh and well made, but not pretentious," she says. "Just something tasty and affordable."
Construction is underway, with an estimated opening of early summer. She's transforming the space that previously housed Cultivar Coffee into a tea salon, with bobas and great teas of all kinds.
She likes the idea that she's picking up the mantle from a former taqueria. "In my mind, dumplings can be just like tacos, it's just another wrap with potential for great fillings," she says.
Article courtesy of Culture Map
Wynne McNabb Cunningham