It’s been 10,000-plus years since most societies have had to huddle around or track a deer to get enough food to survive. We’ve moved on from hunting and gathering to cropping and harvesting, from the spear and atlatl to cows and wheat, all the while suppressing the urges ingrained by millennia of evolution.
Although thousands of centuries is a long time to consider something a fad, all fads are cyclical.
Consider it a coupling of primal desires and an affinity for the attitudes and actions of Jeremiah Johnson and his 19th-century brethren, but the urban woodsman (or lumbersexual, if you really want to sound skeezy) has evolved from the hipster. Ironic mustaches have given way to full-fledged beards and suspenders to flannel — all without so much as one tree being felled or one trout being gutted.
There’s no greater synthesis in Dallas of these ideas than HG Sply Co., a place that alludes to hunting and gathering in its name, while throwing out vowels with the kind of balls Teddy Roosevelt only wishes he had had.
HG Sply Co. opened because some Crossfitting guys wanted a place with a Paleo food philosophy — or, as they say on their site:
We are here to evolve the honored tradition of Nutriment and restore it to its rightful place. Imagine if the mass production and over processing of food never happened; where would we be? While we moved forward in technology, we’ve moved backwards in food. By using only food that comes from wildlife and natural farming we make flavorful food your body was built to eat.
Then they opened up a 9,000-square-foot rooftop bar with fireplaces and city views, where you can eat a quinoa burger and wash it down with Bergamot Knees (Tanqueray gin, Earl Grey tea, fresh lemon and Sabine River honey). You know, hunting and gathering.
But I’m being unfair. What is here is good. That rooftop bar is beautiful, with crackling fires and views of the Dallas skyline that could be a reminder of the great advances we’ve made, even while we strive to keep some of the simpler, arguably purer, aspects of our species intact.
That Bergamot Knees sounds interesting; the Peticolas Shandy (Peticolas Golden Opportunity, Cointreau, Mathilde Peche, fresh lemon) is a nice gathering (!) of a local brew. The beer selection is well-cultivated and approachable.
I’ll never adopt the Paleo diet because pizza exists, and I’ll never step inside a Crossfit box because, like Kenny Powers, I don’t “try to be the best at exercising.” These aren’t inherently bad things, even if snark here and elsewhere says otherwise. If you take away the posturing, this is a cool spot.
After all, HG Sply Co. is about exercising (good), eating healthy (good) and drinking alcohol (the best). The message — “We Are Men. This Is What Men Do. This Is What Men Have Always Done.” — is a little heavy handed and somewhat at odds with the idea of a rooftop bar packed with weekend brunchers sipping bottomless mimosas, but maybe that’s just the next step in our natural evolution.
I mean, Jeremiah Johnson probably would’ve killed for some eggs Benedict, and the atlatl isn’t really that great compared to the carafe.
We are men. We brunch. We wear flannel unnecessarily. We talk about our WODs. It could be worse, right?