An Austin restaurant noted for its fine-dining menu combined with a laid-back atmosphere is expanding to Dallas: Called The Hightower, it's a neighborhood restaurant from chef Chad Dolezal and partner Victor Farnsworth, who will open a spinoff in Oak Cliff.
Dolezal grew up in Dallas and says he wants his kids to grow up here, as well. He'll move to Dallas oversee the new restaurant, while Farnsworth remains in Austin to manage the original.
The Hightower opened in Austin in 2014 and set itself apart by putting out quality food at affordable prices in a non-pretentious environment. The food and drink are descibed as "new Texas cuisine," inspired by Eastern European and Mexican flavors that represent Texas heritage and using local, seasonal ingredients and a creative bar program. The Austin restaurant is open for dinner Tuesdays-Saturdays, plus weekend brunch.
The menu includes appealing dishes such as blistered green beans with honey mustard and candied pecans, roasted pork jowl with rice, and a flat iron steak with hash and a 6-minute egg.
It's also heavily veg-friendly, with distinctive options such as mushroom quesadillas and grilled cabbage with kale and smoked pepitas.
Nothing on the menu is over $20.
Dolezal is decidedly down-to-earth. After opening The Hightower, he confessed he wasn't a fan of the term chef, stating that he takes just as much pride in being a cook. "Being a chef means a lot more things and it's a wide range," he said. "To me, it’s become more of a figurehead public speaking role versus cooking in a kitchen. And I feel I can take more pride standing in a kitchen with cooks, being a cook."
Hightower is his mother's maiden name.
"I want this to be its own version of the Hightower, and it won't be called that," he says. "We're throwing around two or three names, but I want it to be as unique to the neighborhood as I can make it. This is under the Hightower umbrella, but it's going to be something unique to Dallas and Oak Cliff."
"Oak Cliff is significant; my mother worked here for AIDS services in Oak Cliff and we were specific about where we wanted to be," he says. "I fought hard and looked long and I'm proud we get to be in Oak Cliff."
He's not divulging the address yet; they're purchasing the property, a unique vintage building, and are still under contract, and he doesn't want to jinx the deal. It'll definitely be a bigger venture than Austin.
"We're picturing a decent-size dining room but also an outdoor area that's family-friendly, which is something we're not able to provide in Austin because it's a smaller space," he says. "And I'll be moving a half mile away from the restaurant, which is not only for transportation needs but because I love that neighborhood. I'm ecstatic about it."