Archive for the ‘Restaurants’ Category

Sign Blight Ordinance is Needed

November 12, 2009
This week  has brought news that the City of Dallas is being sued to fight the sign blight ordinance that was enacted last year. Apparently the plaintiffs feel that their free speech is being violated, when the reality is that the city is trying to clean up its neighborhoods.  Corporations like 7/11 have their own store rules and do not permit excessive covering of windows, and it would be nice if all stores would follow suit and clean up a bit.
When you go downtown to Neiman Marcus, they don’t have 10 signs papering the windows. You know what Neiman’s is offering inside. Well, the same theory should apply to stores and businesses throughout the city. Sharon Grigsby of the DMN states need need for such an ordinance here.
I know that the City Attorney’s office is confident that this case can be defended. This ordinance took quite a long time to be presented to City Council to make sure it would stand against the inevitable lawsuits by various groups.
Dallas’ ordinance leaves ample opportunity for businesses to promote at their location. I’m glad the city is deciding to fight. For neighborhoods like Oak Cliff, South Dallas, and others, such an ordinance is needed.

New Downtown Sports Bar Opens

August 25, 2009

Thanks to my friends at Pegasus News, I found out that the Sheraton Dallas’ new high-end sports bar was open for business.

The Draft Media Sports Bar is a great looking space to catch a game. The verdict: the food is good…service is terrible.

I had the flat bread quesadilla which was surprisingly well seasoned and tasty. The bar is a great place to watch the game, as they have a 104-inch HDTV that makes for great viewing. There are pool tables and various seating set-ups which can accommodate different sized groups.

However, the service was really bad. I’ve tried to learn from my restaurant-critic friends that you have to give a place a little slack when they first open. However, the service issues were mainly due to inattentiveness. If you have three tables, why exactly do I have to wait 20 minutes for a coke refill? No bueno. And I shouldn’t have to tell you three times about my need for a refill or the check when you keep serving the table next to me. I tipped only to not be viewed as a cheapskate and for no other reason.

The service experience ended with the check folder being left on the table as she walked to a bigger (drunker) table. Newsflash: people that aren’t sloshed tip as well as drunks. No ‘thank you’ for service, no nothing…she just dropped off the check and left. That’s why I paid with cash because I knew she’d never come back…and I was right. Conversely, I’ve been to Ten Sports Grill on Main and my server never missed a beat and had way more tables and people to serve.

(side note: when I was at Ten, I thought about this post from D Magazine’s Zac Crain. Why? Because in a sports bar with 100+ people, only me and 1 other guy were watching the Rangers game. Byrd tied the game with an HR with 2 outs in the 9th! And a grand total 2 people clapped. The guy behind me with a Rangers cap to the back in stereotypical cornball fashion never peeked at the game. Probably liked the hat for the colors.)

Final verdict: at Draft Media Sports Bar the food is on point and the layout is fantastic. But to truly become a destination for people other than lay-up business from hotel guests, some major service training should be required. I suggest the servers work here for a week.

Deck Park is Moving Forward

August 19, 2009

As you all know, the Woodall Rogers Deck Park is continuing to move forward. Here are some highlights of the press release from Joanna Singleton at Jackson Spalding:

Thomas Phifer and Partners Announced as The Park’s Restaurant and Performance Pavilion Architect

DALLAS (Aug. 19, 2009) — The Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation has named Thomas Phifer and Partners as the architect for the 6,000 square-foot restaurant and the performance pavilion, two central amenities planned for the 5.2 acre deck park that will span over the freeway between Uptown and Downtown Dallas. Phifer was released to begin developing the construction documents this week.

Plans call for a full restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating as well as a quick, casual café for people who wish to pick up a meal to enjoy in the park. The restaurant will also include space available to rent for private events. The adjacent performance pavilion will be a central gathering space in the middle of The Park and serve as a place for free concerts and events. When not in use, the performance pavilion will have movable tables and chairs for additional outdoor dining.

Restaurant Concept Aims to Reinforce Connectivity

Phifer’s restaurant design is conceived as a simple park pavilion which will encourage a connection with the surrounding landscape through glass walls, skylights and a sculpted ceiling that transitions from the indoor to the outdoor space. All four walls of the restaurant will be constructed with glass from floor-to-ceiling.

On the south side, the glass wall will have retractable glass doors that can open for patrons to enjoy the outdoors. A covered terrace will complement the retractable doors and allow patrons to sit outside and enjoy parkside dining. The terrace will have a direct view onto the Performance pavilion stage so that restaurant guests can enjoy the park’s entertainment programs.

The event space will feature a private dining room which will accommodate up to 80 seated guests with access to an outdoor grill and bar area.

The ceiling of the restaurant will appear to sit lightly on the glass walls and will be constructed of a series of coffers, each with a small skylight to animate the ceiling and to allow restaurant guests to enjoy the day’s changing light.

Environmentally responsible design features such as geothermal radiant heating and cooling and a green ‘planted’ roof will be considered during the design phase.

The Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation will celebrate The Park’s groundbreaking in September 2009. The base park is expected to be complete in late 2011 with amenities, like the restaurant, expected to be complete in 2012.