A Deep Ellum institution is moving, but it's staying in the neighborhood. Dallas Comedy House is leaving its current address at 3025 Main St. for a new home practically right behind it, at 3036 Elm St., the former home of Upex Auto Supply.
Dallas Comedy House originally opened in 2009 in Deep Ellum. For the past decade, it has been the go-to spot for comedy in Dallas, with nightly shows, corporate trainings, and classes for aspiring comedians.
The new venue is 9,600 square feet and will house two theaters, four classrooms, a podcast studio, a writer's room, flexible space for free coworking, a restaurant (open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner), patio, and beer garden.
It'll celebrate a grand opening of the new space on August 16-17.
The venue was forced to move when Black Market Investments, the group behind Austin barbecue restaurant Terry Black's BBQ, bought the space in January 2018. They're in the process of building a restaurant.
But the new location gave Comedy House owner Amanda Austin a chance to build from scratch and use the space more efficiently.
"We love Deep Ellum, we've been there for 10 years, it's part of the fabric of our business and the community," she says. "I felt lucky to get this space. There are so few left with the size we needed. It's not like it used to be when we got to Deep Ellum in 2009, and you had your pick as far as empty buildings."
One of the biggest changes is the expansion of their food program.
"We were doing food, but we had what the city would call a 'warming kitchen,' just eight menu items, like chips and salsa, but never with a full kitchen," she says. "This has all of that. We have a nice clientele who want to eat more than chips and salsa."
She had an idea of what she wanted, and got some help from noted local chefs, including Austin Rogers and Michael West from the Alamo Club, and Jeff Bekavac from Cane Rosso.
"I wanted it to be delicious but also easy to get out," she says. "If you show up for a show, you're on a schedule. The show is only an hour long. So having food you can get out to an audience of 120 people is important."
New dishes include "an actual burger and fries," sandwiches, and salads. "There's a full menu you can get any time, inside or outside, and a limited menu of items on our 'show' menu," she says.
"I think one of the things that's most exciting is the idea of improvising themed items that we can play with for different shows," she says.
And then there's the last word for a food item at a comedy place. "I think it's hilarious, it's called 'Pie In the Face,'" she says. "It's a whipped cream pie you can buy and throw at your friend in the face."
Dallas Comedy House will introduce a variety of new acts as it settles in, including Monday Service "Dish" Nights and Thursday Philanthropy Nights.
On Dish Nights, comedians will center their shows around stories from chefs, restaurateurs, and bartenders in the service industry. On Thursdays, one philanthropy or organization will take center stage, and the comedians will build a show around their organizations. Profits will be donated back to the cause.