If you're a lady who lives in the Park Cities or a lady who likes fashion or a lady who fancies tea rooms, then you've heard about The Conservatory on Two in Dallas, the Highland Park Village shop that's undergone a big expansion.
That expansion includes, among other things, a new restaurant: Called the Teak Tearoom, it will be a café open for lunch Tuesday-Saturday, and it's slated to open on February 23.
It will be a small cafe, barely a dozen tables, and will swim against the post-pandemic tide by eschewing conveniences such as online reservations, and quite possibly eschewing reservations at all.
There will not be a spicy fried chicken sandwich.
Instead, the menu will center on lunch classics with a focus on careful presentation and ingredients. Such as:
- snacky starters such as Spanish corn nuts, warm olives, and cheddar popcorn, crudites with hummus & tzatziki, and "GLOP," a spread made from garlic, olive oil, and Parmesan & Asiago cheese, served with a toasted baguette
- soups including tomato-basil, T-Room tortilla, and soup + grilled cheese
- quiches including chicken and a garden vegetable
- salads including Thai noodle chicken salad, curry chicken salad, pecan-crusted chicken salad, and cranberry-pecan chicken salad
- sandwiches and tartines including avocado toast, chicken salad, tomato-mozzarella, and tuna melt
- desserts including lemon pistachio cake, flourless chocolate cookie, and an Italian wedding cookie plate
Quiches, salads, and sandwiches are $16-$18. There'll also be wine and cocktails named for prominent PC people such as Cindy Rachofsky and Lucy Wrubel. There's also the Brian Bowl, named for founder Brian Bolke, which contains chopped spring mix, tomato, avocado, parmesan, and croutons in herb vinaigrette.
"It was something the kitchen used to make just for me, I would eat it almost every day, and when people saw it, they would ask for it, so we just decided to put it on the menu," he says. He's managed to rehire some of the same team who worked at the Tea Room at Forty Five Ten, the boutique he co-founded on McKinney Avenue in 2000.
When crafting the Teak Tearoom, Bolke says his inspiration included the long history of what is the original retail cafe, the Zodiac Room at Neiman Marcus.
"It's the idea of making a special journey, of that special time with someone where shopping is an experience — that's the part I really love about it," he says. "We have customers who want to come and meet a friend, where having lunch might be the high point of the week. You can buy something online, but we're here if you just want to leave your house and come to shop or eat or all three. It's all the pieces of the puzzle to give a great experience."
The menu at the Dallas location is a second generation from the original which Bolke opened in New York in 2019.
"When we opened, it was a different time and that was probably a more adventurous menu with items like lobster rolls," he says. "Here, we are starting with what we know people love. I hope it has a bit of nostalgia? When we were creating the menu, it was almost a process of elimination. 'We have to have this.' Why mess with something we know people love?"
He was also conscious of what else is being served at Highland Park Village.
"Within a two-minute walk, you'll have the new Sadelle's, the Honor Bar, Mi Cocina, Bistro 31, Cafe Pacific, Yo Lobster, Park House upstairs - if you want a burger or fried chicken, you're going to be able to find it," he says. "I didn't feel like we had to have everything for everybody."
Teak will not have a phone number, and he knows for sure he's not using Resy or Open Table
"We're determining how we're going to take reservations, if any," he says. "We'll be serving from 11:30 am-2:30 pm, which will likely bleed into 3 pm. We only have 11 tables. It's small and simple. We live in a world right now of immediate gratification, but what is worse thing? You come and your table is not ready for 20 minutes? I'd rather give you a glass of wine to wander around the store. We have a beautiful jewelry department and a book wall with library, if you want to read a book, please do. It's about a salad and a glass of wine and nice conversation. We're not trying to be everything to everybody."
The great about Dallas is that there's so many places to get lunch," he says. "This is very specific. The beauty is that, for any old customers of the T Room at Forty Five Ten, they will completely understand it, it's how it always was."