A popular Design District restaurant is relocating to a hot location in the center of downtown Dallas, from a restaurateur beloved by the downtown community.
The restaurant: Purple Onion, a modest home-cooking joint that closed in June after 14 years on Irving Boulevard. It'll go into a space at Field and
Akard Main that was previously a sub-tier place called Original Italian Cafe. Purple Onion owner Mehdi Pezeshki says he's thrilled to have landed it.
"I went after this location for so long," Pezeshki says. "It's right in the center of everything, there's the hotel opening at One Main Place that's right in front of us, and we still have a lot of friends in the downtown community."
Pezeshki's term as a restaurateur dates back to the '90s when he owned Middle Eastern restaurants such as Sinbad's Palace and Shishkabob's, but he built a following in the CBD when he took over the Urban Cafe in 2009, in the Interurban building in downtown Dallas. There, he served sandwiches; salads; quesadillas; and a broad breakfast selection, from omelets to skillets to breakfast tacos.
"Since we were downtown previously, we have a great memory of downtown and the people living there," he says. "In the last two weeks, as people have slowly been learning we are coming back, I've received so many texts and emails, even from the high-rise next to us, The Metropolitan, because there's no place doing breakfast, lunch, and dinner as we plan, especially breakfast."
"This is going to be a combination of Urban Café and Purple Onion," he says. "We'll have a huge salad bar, with pasta salad, Greek salad, fruit salad, Caesar salad with chicken, where you can have a choice of three and it's ready to go. We'll have breakfast all day, every day, because there's a huge demand for that. And we'll also have pizza by the slice, which was popular at Urban Cafe. We're building a patio on both sides of the space, and we're putting together a full bar."
He's hoping to be open by mid-December and feels fortunate at the way things turned out.
"I was in the Design District for 14 years and I would have stayed there, but they didn't want to sign a new lease," he says. "But I believe things happen for a reason. We don't want to be the millionaire, we just want to make sure we give good-quality food and good service at a good price."