In the first few weeks after opening its doors, District 9 Draught Haus smells new. The owners haven’t quite figured out what height to keep the blinds to block the sun, but that hasn’t stopped a small crowd of regulars from finding their bar stools by 4 p.m.

The bar is a Thompson family affair. On a Wednesday afternoon, Andy is cooking on the line. Dana greets customers and sweeps the floor. Their son pours pints behind the bar, and their daughter helps where she can. It’s a different lifestyle than Andy experienced in his younger years as a member of The Buck Pets, an alt band in the late ’80s. Andy and Dana wanted something they could do as a family. 

Their first family venture was a country store in Virginia where Andy perfected his bratwurst recipe. That’s also where they created their Reuben sandwich, a recipe with a cult following that they brought to Dallas with them. 

“In Virginia we had a pretty big meat counter business. That’s when Andy started developing his own recipe for bratwurst,” Dana says. 

Since then, brats have developed a special place in the Thompson family. 

“Brat is like bread and butter on the table,” Dana says. “It’s so common that I don’t think of it as special. You have to have it on the table.”

The couple almost bought a spot in Deep Ellum but decided against it. 

“We want to be in the neighborhood,” Dana says. “District 9 Draught Haus seems to be very much a place where you can come have conversations with neighbors and talk about what’s going on. That’s what we wanted, and it seems like that’s what’s happening.”

Dana had a little advice for those on diets who might shy away from fatty meat and beer: “A little sausage never hurt anybody. I think happiness is more important than the scale. There’s something so valuable in just being happy. This sort of food and this beer, that’s what it brings you, happiness.”

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