A newly opened restaurant on Oak Lawn Avenue has already replaced its chef. District 30 Craft Bar & Kitchen, the bar and eatery next to Green Papaya, welcomes new chef Mike Smith, formerly of TABC and 2900 Thomas Avenue.
Formerly known as District 30 Gastropub, the concept also has a new management team in Mark and Dirk Kelcher, who own Delta Charlie's, a restaurant at the Dallas Executive Airport, among other eateries. They replace original chef Jonathan Kiker, and have taken the menu and atmosphere in a more casual direction.
That means beer-battered fish and chips, lamb lollipops with roasted potatoes, and fun cocktails.
"We took over about a month ago," Mark says. "We're partners with the guys from Sushi Axiom, but we're doing the operations."
The address has had some turnover, especially recently, with the short duration of Bite By Eddy T. Before that, it was Cyclone Anaya's, and before that, Nuevo Leon, a Mexican restaurant.
"I like the location, I think it has promise, otherwise we wouldn't do it," Kelcher says. "Yesterday, we had a family and friends meal, and had 10 customers just walk in who were neighbors. We fed them. If we can run it right, I think it will do very well."
The Kelchers have a growing portfolio of restaurants and bars that include Cedars Social, in which they're partnered with developer Jack Matthews and PR guy Jeffrey Yarbrough, plus Ron's Place and The Hub in Addison, and Ron's Corner Tavern in Bedford.
The brothers are also opening a barbecue spot at Austin Ranch, at The Shacks, the food park being orchestrated by Lucy Billingsley.
"It's called Barrel & Bones, and we're in the process right now of building an indoor smoker," he says. "We'll be the bar and grill."
District 30 will still have brunch and a brisk patio, but for the Kelchers, the priority is to offer something that fits the area.
"We want the neighborhood to be involved," he says. "I'm thinking of how 2900 Thomas Avenue used to feel, with a cool corner bar attitude. A place where you can get a cocktail and good food, with lights and sparklers, just a fun place. I've known Mike since we worked together at the Green Room — he's the real deal."