Opening day looms for Henderson Avenue Country Club, the honky-tonk-style bar taking over the former spot of Nick Badovinus' Tried and True. As anticipated, it will open the first week of January, and what a rare thing that is in the restaurant-bar world, to be on time with an opening.
Managing partners Martin Corboy and Tim McEvilly, who also run Henderson Avenue Tap House and McFadden's in Addison, were putting the finishing touches on a space they renovated themselves. McEvilly scoured junkyards for recycled materials such as the appealingly rusty "redneck" sign that hangs on the wall beneath a neon Shiner sign.
They've managed to completely transform the space, including moving the bar away from the entrance and clearing away the shrubbery that made Tried and True feel so hemmed in. Pending city approval, they'll open part of the front façade into a patio that looks out on Henderson, an invaluable asset.
"This wall here," said McEvilly, pointing to a divider that encloses a banquette seating area, "Martin found that in McKinney. Someone was taking down a fence. He called and said, 'I found some wood.' And the hardwood floor, we reclaimed that from a church."
One nice touch is the set of six flags of Texas rendered on rough-hewn wood, as well as the state flag of Texas. There are seven TVs and a bounty of outlets for charging electronic devices, including a set beneath the bar, along with handy hooks for purses.
Thanks to a custom-made smoker from Chuck Wagon in Tyler, the menu will have a barbecue focus, including brisket, chicken-fried steak, ribs with bacon mashed potatoes, catfish, pork chops and smoked quail with habañero cheddar grits. Six beers on tap are dominated by local labels such as Deep Ellum Brewing, Lakewood and Rahr.
A small stage in the corner will spotlight local country musicians or DJs.
A grand opening celebration weekend begins January 8, with parties on January 8, 9, 10 and 11, when free appetizers and cocktails will be served. You must RSVP via the website. Bands performing include the King Bucks and Fort Worth's Vincent Neil Emerson & The Old Souls on January 8 and Holy Moly on January 9.