The face of Maple Avenue in Dallas is changing, and a longtime bar is following suit. Windmill Lounge will soon be transformed into a new bar called M.D. Tavern, which carries on the Windmill's traditions while meeting the needs of its growing audience.
Owners are Tom and Lisa Georgalis, who also own the Ivy Tavern, and their partner Trey Trenholm. Tom and Lisa bought the Windmill in March 2017. For two years, they kept it as the Windmill while they became acquainted with the customers and demands of the area.
M.D. stands for Medical District, and that's where they'll place their focus.
"It was important to us that we keep the flavor of a tavern but one that serves the Medical District neighborhood," Lisa says.
In addition to bars, Lisa works in real estate and has witnessed what's happening in the district.
"If you go up and down Maple Avenue, it's one development after another," she says. "Houses are selling from $600,000 to a million. The neighborhood is changing, yet it still has its roots. That's something we appreciate."
One of the first changes they made at the Windmill was to open an hour early, at 3 pm instead of 4 pm — "and we still have people waiting for us to open," she says.
Customers also want something to eat.
"People in the area would like to have a place to go on their day off or after their shift change from the hospital," she says. "We wanted to keep the bar's comfortable feeling, yet commit to having a kitchen and being open at 11 am."
They're still working on the menu, but Georgalis says it'll have a Southern kitchen theme, "with a little bit of this and that."
"We're talking about boudin balls, a burger, a chicken sandwich, nothing crazy, just good cooking like we do at the Ivy — but a different menu, not the same," she says.
Other items on their to-do list include better facilities for watching games, lightening up the interior, upgrading the fixtures, and improving the patio. They're just starting construction and hope to have the makeover done by the fall.
One cool thing about the space is that it already has a kitchen. "It was originally a 24-hour Dutch kitchen; they catered to the hospital years back," Georgalis says.
She and Tom, who previously owned Inwood Tavern, were able to execute a similar transformation at the Ivy Tavern on Lemmon Avenue, which had been home to iffy bars such as Last Call and Kitty's before they created a destination in a neighborhood that is also in transition.
"We'll do something that's close to the Ivy, but I think the Ivy stands on its own," she says. "We've received awards for things like 'best bar bites,' but it's really about having a great relationship with our customers and a great staff."
Aside from its reference to the Medical District, the M.D. Tavern also has a personal touch. "M.D. happens to be my grandfather, M.D. Bobbitt. He was a builder," she says.