A new restaurant called Mercat, opening on the northern edge of downtown near big sibling Saint Ann Restaurant & Bar, is enough to make you want to apply for a job at its benefactor Harwood International.
Named after "mercat," the Catalan word for market, this European-styled spot will open in late May as a casual spot serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. It's located on the ground floor of the Harwood International building at 2501 N. Harwood St. If you stand on Mercat's marble entry, you can peer over and see the merriment on Saint Ann's patio.
Hope you noticed the key words: croissants made in-house.
Mercat was visioned by Harwood CEO Gabriel Barbier-Mueller as a kind of a perk for employees in the building and for residents of nearby high-rises such as the Azure, says food and beverage manager Stephane Courseau.
"They've tried to create life in the area, to make sure that people who work and live in the building have amenities," Courseau says. "They're not regular restaurateurs in the sense that they think more about the tenants than anything else. That allows us to do an operation like this; it's quite unique."
Mercat will be open all day as a kind of drop-in, Monday through Friday, and dinner on Saturday. It will be closed on Sundays.
"We're going to open at 7:30 am for coffee, espresso, pastries including croissants made in-house, fresh orange juice, yogurt, granola, breakfast items," he says. "Then at 11, we'll transition to lunch — with lunch there or from a grab-and-go station for workers in the building."
Hope you noticed the key words there: croissants made in-house.
For something devised as a company canteen, the space is beautifully designed. The exterior is gun-metal gray, with long windows and a brass handle on the front door. Inside has a full bar, white subway tile, hardwood floor, wood and marble tabletops, a stunning gnarled wood chandelier, and estate pieces such as a pastel cabinet and vintage mirrors. It feels cosmopolitan and smart.
"It's a very charming place. It has a good feel," Courseau says. "You find places like this in New York or San Francisco, but it's something that doesn't exist in Dallas yet."