The lowdown on what’s up with neighborhood businesses
In February, Cafe Lago owner Gabriela Kovacic announced her retirement and the subsequent closing of her White Rock Lake-area restaurant. Kovacic, who has been in the restaurant biz since 1987, says she is tired and ready to spend some time with her family, including a sister who has cancer, and that she has no plans to ever open another restaurant. It didn’t take long for someone to snatch up the available space. Jennifer Rodriguez, an attorney with longtime aspirations to open a wine garden, signed the lease soon after and plans to open Urban Vines Wine Bistro in the 9219 Garland Road venue. As for food, Rodriguez plans to sublease the kitchen to two women who have been running a catering business called Honeysuckle Southern Eats. They wanted to lease the space, Rodriguez says, but she secured it first. The landlord suggested they talk to one another. Rodriguez decided it couldn’t hurt to offer the kitchen to the experienced duo, she says, so they came up with the trial partnership.
We were supposed to have a Houndstooth Coffee on the corner of Skillman and Oram by now, after custom-framing store Central Gallery was booted out to make room for the coffee shop, but a peek in the windows shows nothing but empty space. Sean Henry, the owner of Austin-based Houndtooth, says the project is on hold while he deals with some unexpected issues. “We hope to have something up and running,” he says, but then adds that he’s a little uncertain about the future of the project. “I’m not very positive about the outcome of this.”
(Almost) snuffed out
Snuffer’s, the 32-year-old chain that was one of the anchors in the revival of the M Streets in the late 1970s and now has seven locations, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on March 4. The good news is that Snuffer’s will stay in business while it restructures its debt, although no one really knows what the business will be like when it comes out of bankruptcy.
Snuffer’s, 3526 Greenville, 214.826.6850
The LOT, the new casual dining restaurant on Grand, opened its doors on Feb. 25, and “the ball is rolling” on installing a bridge connecting its backyard to the Santa Fe Trail, says owner John McBride.
The LOT, 7530 E. Grand, 214.321.1990
Make room for Pei Wei
The Dallas Arboretum has been knee-deep in preparing for the grand opening of its $56 million children’s science garden, which will occupy eight acres on the north end of the Arboretum near the amphitheater overlooking White Rock Lake. “Nowhere in the world is there anything like this. There are lots of children’s gardens, but we took it so many steps farther,” says Arboretum vice president of education Maria Conroy. The Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden is in its final stages of construction, according to a letter from head of construction John Armstrong. “Much of the children’s garden site is complete,” he says. “Once construction is complete, the Arboretum’s horticultural staff will begin a period of additional horticultural embellishment.” He says 1,150 new trees have been planted in the children’s garden alone. Arboretum officials are hopeful the garden will be complete by May, but too many weather delays could push the date back until June, or possibly as late as September.
Dallas Arboretum, 8525 Garland, 214.515.6500
Tennis and pocket parks
The former Mrs. Baird’s bakery land on the southwest corner of Mockingbird and Central Expressway is soon to be a tennis complex, and a “pocket park” will be constructed at Airline & Mockingbird, across the street from the Park Cities Plaza strip shopping center that runs on the north side of Mockingbird between Central and Airline. Construction is expected to begin this summer. As for the new sophomore dormitories being built between Mockingbird and the new George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum on SMU (formerly Yale) Boulevard, SMU expects that much of the new traffic onsite will be routed away from Mockingbird and onto SMU Boulevard, which should result in additional traffic moving onto Greenville where SMU Boulevard dead-ends into it.
The vacant spot on Lower Greenville where The Service Bar used to reside will be coming back to life this spring, and Goodfriend Beer Garden & Burger House owners Josh Yingling and Matt Tobin are the masterminds behind it. Yingling and Tobin are partnering with chef Oliver Sitrin, formerly of Village Marquee Grill & Bar, to open The Blind Butcher, which will serve a variety of meats including sausage, pastrami and corned-beef made in-house.
The Blind Butcher, 1919 Greenville
Twin Peaks straight ahead
Twin Peaks plans to open its largest Dallas/Fort Worth store in Mockingbird Station (Mockingbird and Central Expressway) later this summer. The new restaurant will be located near Trinity Hall, which is just a little west of the Angelika Theater. This restaurant will join the Mockingbird Taproom (more of a neighborhood bar than a sports bar), Cafe Herrera and Smashburger as recent additions to Mockingbird Station’s dining scene, which already included Trinity Hall, Rockfish and Urban Taco, among others.
Twin Peaks, 972.503.7325
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