By the next year, he could afford another.
Kauffman took over the space at the opposite end of the building when it became available. They added a second AC unit, new plumbing and cement flooring.
With a tenant separating the spaces, the new acquisition, which was used for additional seating, took the name “two doors down.” Servers had to use the sidewalk to go from room to room.
When the middle tenant left, Kauffman took it too, and created an interior hallway connecting the three. The room was called “Urban Goods” because it hosted weekend pop-ups. At night, the rectangular table could seat 14 for dinner, and the back patio attached to it is occasionally used for events like receptions and concerts.
Early on at the East Dallas Urbano, there wasn’t a proper place to store wine, so Kauffman allowed a BYOB policy. He still does, though he now curates a wine list, with selections priced just above retail.
“We have a lot of collectors who have wine cellars who come in,” he says. “They may see my list and go, ‘Oh, the next time I come in, I don’t have to bring a bottle of XYZ because look at the price.’”
He noticed that when people supply their own wine, they tend to order more food. The original menu at Urbano was developed by Kauffman and a chef, who came up with pastas, steaks, chops and other items. The chef also trained the kitchen staff, and many of them stuck around; the current head of the kitchen started out working in the pantry.
Caprese s’mores are a popular appetizer. They come with smoked mozzarella, tomato jam and balsamic syrup between slices of toasted crostini. Meat tenderloins and pan-seared scallops with lemon risotto are longtime favorites.
Last December, Two Doors Down opened for breakfast and lunch. Customers can dine in or take to-go coffees, pastries, sandwiches and more. The interior walls are decorated with photographs of musicians such as Roger Boykin, a former Booker T. Washington teacher who played piano at Urbano, and famous pianists from New Orleans, where Kauffman lived after college. Outside, there’s a mural by Jonathan Kimbrell with the names of nearby landmarks, neighborhoods and businesses.
“With my landlord and myself and my wife,” Kauffman says, “we’ve kind of rebuilt it all and taken a great deal of pride in coming into the neighborhood like that and being a part of rebuilding this part of Old East Dallas.”
Urbano Cafe, 1410 N. Fitzhugh Ave., 214.823.8550