NOLA in Downtown Dallas
Downtown Dallas hotel restores New Orleans restaurant tradition
The Westin Dallas Downtown, a new hotel that's repurposing an iconic downtown skyscraper, will open with a trio of restaurants, including one with a New Orleans theme: NOLA Brasserie. Upscale but casual, featuring a blend of American and Creole favorites, it'll be a unique concept in Dallas, where the majority of restaurants with New Orleans cuisine are lower-scale concepts offering po' boys and fried fish.
Having a New Orleans restaurant in that spot will be a magical thing in that it will evoke a historical connection with the site: In the '60s, it was home to the only Dallas branch of Brennan's, the famed Creole restaurant in New Orleans' French Quarter.
A spokesperson for the hotel chain confirmed that NOLA Brasserie would be part of the package, but that details on the menu were not yet available.
There is also a new concept called Grill & Vine, which is part of the Starwood signature restaurant concept collection, and a coffee bar already established in downtown Dallas.
Grill & Vine
Open all day, Grill & Vine will do an updated reinterpretation of the classic bar and grill, with a tavern design. Chef William (Bill) Lundstrom is executive chef; he was previously at the Westin Stonebriar Hotel & Golf Club in Frisco.
The first Grill & Vine debuted in the Bay Area in 2013, when it opened at the Westin San Francisco Airport in Millbrae. The tavern-style launch menu included pulled pork on brioche, deviled eggs, sweet potato bisque, steel-cut Irish oats, and a Caesar made with kale.
The cuisine will be American and traditional favorites, with a modern twist. The menu will be simple, light, and fresh, with sandwiches, salads, signature dishes, and small plates. Bread service will consist of pita with roasted red pepper hummus. A full bar will include cocktails and a considerable wine program, including hard-to-find, high-end wines by the glass.
NOLA Brassierie will be a third-party restaurant, meaning not officially under hotel management, offering access to diners from the street as well as the hotel. It's owned by Elie Khoury, president and CEO of KFK Group, which is developing the Westin hotel.
It'll be the first of its kind and will feature a full bar, large patio, and happy hour. Open for lunch and dinner, the atmosphere will be upscale yet relaxed.
The only other similar concept is Copeland's of New Orleans, located in Southlake's Town Square.
A New Orleans restaurant at the location brings it full circle in two ways: The Westin hotel is part of a makeover of One Main Place, the iconic skyscraper built in 1968, which had a Brennan's in the courtyard. In 2014, the property was acquired by KFK Group, which is based in New Orleans.
The hotel will also be home to a branch of Cafe Strada, the downtown coffee spot that's located on the Stone Street Crosswalk between Elm and Main streets. This is the sidewalk spot with the quirky ice cream cone chairs.
A Cafe Strada spokesman said that the hotel location would be better equipped for people who wanted to meet or have coffee even during inclement weather. "We'll still keep the Stone Street branch, but we may close it during the coldest months," he said.
KFK Group's overhaul includes an update of the office space and amenities, including a transformation of the now-open courtyard into an event venue with glass enclosure. The second floor will be the hotel lobby with reception area, lounge, library, ballroom, restaurant, and room service. The hotel will be on the upper floors. The exterior is not being altered; the building is being placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The hotel is scheduled to open on December 15.