There's been a quiet trend among Dallas restaurants of doing steak at not-steakhouse prices — and probably noplace embodies that trend more overtly than CheapSteaks, a restaurant coming-soon to Deep Ellum.
CheapSteaks will go into the space at 2613 Elm St., AKA the former Stonedeck Pizza spot, where it will combine live music, cocktails, cold beer, an outdoor patio, drop-down garage doors, and steak.
It comes from a credentialed team that includes Jeff Biehler, formerly of The Foundry who will be running the day-to-day; and chef Israel Fearon, whose resume includes Smoke, Hotel St Germain, The Porch, and Neighborhood Services.
Biehler founded the concept with partners John Jay Myers, owner of the Free Man in Deep Ellum; and Ed Laster, an investor in the Free Man.
They plan to be open in the next few weeks, hopefully by August.
"It's going to be a steakhouse," Biehler says. "Our inspiration is definitely Char Bar, the restaurant on Greenville Avenue that closed in 2019. It was one of those places that everybody loved. They had the best $10 steaks, and salad with raw onion. It was where broke musicians went to eat."
"We wanted to recreate that kind of place, where you could get a good steak at a good price, and where you don't have to get dressed up like you would at a place like Bob's," he says.
By "good price," he's talking at least one steak on the menu that will be under $20, although they'll also have pricier options, should you care to splurge.
CheapSteaks won't have a huge menu — just big enough to cover your basics: four steaks, a seafood dish or two, a vegan item, and a burger, plus good sides, says chef Fearon, who got to know Biehler when they both worked for Turn the Tables Hospitality, which owned both Smoke and Chicken Scratch/The Foundry.
"We worked together on events and we were always on the same page," Fearon says. "I liked this because it's an opportunity to work for an independent operator, rather than a corporate thing. You're working with someone who's personally invested."
Fearon is currently at work on a collection of solid sides that can be starters as well, such as Brussels sprouts and a potato au gratin with three kinds of cheese.
He also has pastry skills honed while he was at Hotel St. Germain, and so CheapSteaks will offer desserts including chocolate cheesecake.
"The idea is steakhouse-style food but still affordable, to go with the music and Deep Ellum vibe," Fearon says.
In keeping with that vibe, service will be fast casual, also unique for a steakhouse.
Biehler says that a big part of CheapSteaks will be that it incorporates live music, with two stages.
"One of the things I always liked about the Foundry was that you could sit outside and listen to music, and I think it's even better to have it in Deep Ellum, which is the city's music hub," he says.