A Dallas bar veteran is returning to the arena with a new concept opening in Dallas' up-and-coming Medical District.
Called Redfield's Tavern, it's from Joe Tillotson, who previously owned or co-owned well-known venues such as Barley House, City Tavern, Katy Trail Ice House, Banditos, and Bryan Street Tavern. Tillotson's longtime associate Scott Cecil is partnering and will operate Redfield’s as it gets up and running.
A couple of years ago, Tillotson decided to take a step back. He sold off his ownership to his partners and withdrew from the bar scene. But he and his wife Katy became enamored of a well-maintained brick building built in 1951 at 2213 Butler St. that was for sale.
"My wife used to work at Children's Medical Center and would always talk about the need for some kind of bar or restaurant in that area," he says. "She encouraged me because of the location and her interest in the Medical District."
"And then I got sick last year," he says. "I was in the hospital for about a month with complications from a new diagnosis of cancer. So in a weird way, this is me giving back to the medical community."
The Dallas Medical District, north of the Oak Lawn neighborhood and right off I-35, was once known only for its constellation of important hospitals including Parkland. But the area has become a new developer playground, with residential buildings, restaurants, and retail.
The building where Redfield's will go was once home to a paint and body shop named Polkar, and there was also a scientific bookstore and scrubs shop called Majors. When the Tillotsons first began to look at the space, it was four years ago, before the development began.
But then they witnessed the revitalization, with new entries such as Celestial Beerworks, on the verge of opening on Butler Street, two blocks away.
"With the development of the new Parkland Hospital, this area is coming up, with a lot of interest in development from people who have the ability to do it," Tillotson says. "We started to get excited about what we could do."
Their building had 7500 square feet, some of which they've razed to create space for a patio and a unique courtyard with garage doors that will guarantee weather protection. They're in the fun part now: making decisions about things will look and feel, and creating something new, on which Katy has been assisting and diligently documenting their progress on instagram, from "amazing" welded windows to a magnificent new vintage front door.
"We don't have a bulleye on an opening day yet, but we're probably looking at the beginning of 2019," Joe says.
As for the name, it's the side street, but there's more to it than that.
"It's the cross street, but we thought it was a cool name," he says. "It fits in with our idea of this being a neighborhood bar."
"It's also the street that runs right into UT Southwestern Center — and it's the road that leads into the Parkland employee parking lot," he says. "It's a prominent street known and used by lots of Medical District employees, so that's how we're identifying ourselves, because it's important to what we want to be."