The team behind Club Dada, City Tavern, and Off the Record is adding a distinctive new concept to its menagerie with Independent Bar & Kitchen, opening in Deep Ellum in spring 2016.
Independent represents a shift into artisanal food with an accompanying craft bar program, and there's a worthy chef on board to execute it: Andrew Dilda, formerly of Barter and Reata in Fort Worth.
Owner Josh Florence says that the concept is a European-style restaurant and bar, which they hope will fill in a niche for Deep Ellum.
"We love all our neighbors in Deep Ellum and think that everyone occupies a special role in creating the flavor of the neighborhood," he says. "But we felt like there wasn't yet something like this, doing rustic European-style comfort food.
"Having owned Club Dada for the past six years, we felt like we had a good idea of what the neighborhood is lacking that also works with our interests, and the idea of doing a very casual-atmosphere bar and kitchen with an elevated level of food spoke to us."
By European comfort food, they're talking pub food: bangers and mash, shepherd's pie, fish and chips. "Andrew went off to the races," Florence says. "He's doing mussels and frites, and this fantastic rabbit with pappardelle. We're excited about his talent level and hope to give him a place to shine."
They've nabbed the space that was most recently Pepe's Ranch, which occupies a space in the very center of Deep Ellum at Main and Crowdus streets. The renovation is being done by 44 Build, the company that's done venues such as Blind Butcher and Mudsmith.
"It'll have their flavor on the inside, a little on the masculine side with dark woods," Florence says. "That address has an amazing patio, which we'll make the most of by blowing out the front wall of windows so that they'll flip all the way open to create an open-air feeling right into the restaurant."
Florence and company have a stellar record of opening one unique concept after another, rather than unrolling the same thing over and over. "We all get a lot of creative satisfaction out of creating something new like this," he says.