Bad news first: Izmir Mediterranean Deli, the market-lunch spot and baby sibling of Greenville Avenue Mediterranean restaurant Cafe Izmir, will close on December 31. But there's a double shot of good Izmir news.
The deli operation will move to the cafe, which will expand its hours from dinner-only to include lunch and dinner. And downtown Dallas residents will get a bigger and better Cafe Izmir, slated to open in the spring at 211 N. Ervay St., the 18-story "Alto 211" tower that's been undergoing renovation by Turkish developer Mike Sarimsakci.
The new Cafe Izmir will have a 4,000-square-foot space upstairs with indoor patio, plus a private-dining wine cellar and whisky and cigar bar in the basement.
"There's so much going on," says Beau Nazary, who owns Izmir with his mother Nazy, uncle Mehdi and brother Ali. "We'll close the deli on Wednesday. For downtown, we're looking at maybe the end of February or the middle of March."
This isn't Cafe Izmir's first downtown Dallas foray; the brothers opened an Izmir at the Stone Street Gardens in 1999. But it was impractical and unwieldy.
"It was about a 600-square-foot space, and our kitchen was in the basement," Nazary says. "We had to send the food up with a dumbwaiter." That space has since been taken over by Campisi's.
This time around, the Nazarys were persuaded downtown by Sarimsakci, a customer at Cafe Izmir. They had been shopping a location in Deep Ellum.
"There's a lot of exciting stuff going on downtown," Nazary says. "And this new location is bigger and better than what we were considering in Deep Ellum. There's a 4,000-square-foot space upstairs, 1,500 square feet of which is an indoor patio. We also have a basement where we'll have a private-dining wine cellar and whisky and cigar bar. It's going to be so cool and beautiful."
The deli crew will slip right into the downtown location, making for a skilled team that's instantly ready to roll. The downtown branch will have a menu that comprises both Cafe Izmir's food as well as the menu from the deli, with sandwiches, salads, appetizers, tapas and a full bar. It'll open with extended hours, including breakfast, lunch, happy hour, dinner and late-night. And brunch on the weekends, both Saturday and Sunday.
"Exactly what downtown needs," Nazary says. "I live downtown. When I want to go eat something, I can only find Italian, Mexican or hamburgers, unless I want to pay $200 a person.
"This will be a good alternative, and our menu is so diverse: beef, lamb, chicken, vegetarian, vegan, sandwiches, a little bit of everything. Our hummus is going to change the dynamic."