PHOTO BY Mark Davis

You go to Crossroads Diner for the ooey gooey sticky buns, the pillowy pancakes or the creative frittatas, but once you’re in, you can’t help but notice the enormous, center-stage, whisk chandelier. Crossroads owner Tom Fleming imagined it, but stainless steel fabricator Don Kemp of Kemp Steel in East Dallas made it happen. Kemp doesn’t consider himself an artist, but rather an artisan. “An artist creates something original, that only he can create. A good artisan can reproduce anything someone else can do or think up,” he explains. So when Fleming told Kemp his idea, Kemp used his high-tech equipment to roll long flat bars of stainless steel into the shape of the whimsical-looking kitchen tool. Kemp Steel has been in business in the East Dallas area since 1926. “My grandfather, then my daddy (Don Senior) and now my dad and I work together every day,” Kemp says. “He’s tried to retire, but I won’t let him.” The Kemps work can be seen in homes businesses and churches around Dallas — they built the altar gates and baptistry at St. Bernard of Clairvaux Church in Little Forest Hills, for example. Sidenote: Kemp went to grade school at St. Bernard and attended the first mass there when he was just 6 years old. He went on to Bishop Lynch, followed by Indiana University and later University of Texas at Austin. “I got cold,” he jokes, “and had to come home.”

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