Deep Ellum is about to get a honky-tonk with the mid-July opening of Mama Tried, a new bar and restaurant from successful operator Brooke Humphries, opening at 215 Henry St., in what was most recently a CrossFit gym. Good riddance to that.
If a place can be summed up by its hashtags, then Mama Tried would be as follows: classic country, dance party, no pop country, outlaw country, bluegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, Texas honky-tonk, cold beer, country music, boots and hats, Urban Cowboy, driving through Big D, and last but not least, Bud and Sissy.
Hashtags really take the load off a journalist's need to write.
"We are a traditional Nashville-style honky-tonk, which is basically a great comfy big tavern with food, drinks, and music," Humphries says. "The music is all classic country, bluegrass, new classic, outlaw, and Texas. We'll do live shows, live band karaoke, maybe even some line dancing — who knows."
Named for a Merle Haggard song, Mama Tried has about 5500 square feet inside with a stunning 80-foot-long shotgun bar fashioned out of a huge live-edge sunken cypress. "It's a beauty," Humphries says.
There's a stage inside, as well as a 7500-square-foot patio with staging outside, and a 40-foot shipping container bar to service the big patio space.
It'll be open seven days a week, with a menu from chef Roe DiLeo, who has been Humphries' culinary director for about a year. DiLeo is the TV cooking show veteran who was a contestant on Hell's Kitchen.
The menu theme will be Texas.
"I'm keeping it country — it's everything I've learned since I've lived in Texas," DiLeo says. "We'll have collard greens, mac and cheese, it's the food I've been eating but have never done in a kitchen."
That does not include barbecue. "There's so many great barbecue spots, we're going to stay away from that," she says.
But it does include turkey legs. "It's the State Fair staple, but I don't see it too often on menus, and I think I can do it better than the way you usually get it," she says.
And of course there will be brunch. "We want it to be somewhere where you would think to go eat before a show," DiLeo says. "Rather than eating and then going to a show, you could just come to us."
They already have a number of shows booked, beginning with The Wooks, the Kentucky bluegrass band who are scheduled to perform there on July 18.
Humphries has the golden touch with a diverse portfolio of bars and restaurants that includes two trailblazing bars on Henderson Avenue: Barcadia and Beauty Bar, along with her coffee shop Mudsmith, and her fun American concept Pints & Quarts, which recently relocated from Ross Avenue to the Centrum.
"It's gonna be a good time if you enjoy good ole' country music," Humphries says. "I'm real proud of it. There's nothing like it around here, and country is all I listen to these days so I'm stoked."