While it is our specialty, we are not limited to doing preservation here. One of our favorite project types is restaurants. This weekend, I had the chance to visit Social House in the West Village in Dallas, our latest restaurant design effort.
This is the first Dallas restaurant to tap into the gastro-pub concept that has emerged in other cities, especially Atlanta. The concept draws from the tradition of European pubs or "public houses" that serve as the center for community gatherings and socializing. The difference is in the food, which is several steps above traditional pub fare. In my case last night, it was sea scallops wrapped in bacon and served on a bed of Bourbon corn. The sea bass with fennel and herbs was also noteworthy.
Working with the owners Shawn Rao and John Serrano and with contractor Bill Oelfke of CDC Construction, the initial design submissions of more traditional pub spaces were revised to retain the warmth, but to present a far more sophisticated look that matched the expectations of the West Village and Uptown clientèle. The result is more like a ski lodge, a country club or even a private home. Upstairs, at the street level, brick, louvered wood panels and a trellis are all designed to evoke the feel of sitting in a friends back yard.
I was gratified to read a review in Dallas Citysearch that noted the atmosphere as one of the "Hits" about the new restaurant.