There's an exciting new Dallas restaurant coming to the Greenville Avenue space that was once home to the iconic Grape: Called Sister, it's a sibling to The Charles, the buzzy eatery in Dallas' Design District from Duro Hospitality, and will open at 2808 Greenville Ave. in the fall.
Sister is the latest creation from the Duro team which includes Benji Homsey, Chas Martin, Corbin See and Ross See of Sees Design, and chef-partner J Chastain. It'll feature both Mediterranean- and Italian-inspired neighborhood food including wood-fired meats, fish, and pasta, with a wine list to match.
Martin says the menu they've devised will "lean a little Mediterranean" including dishes inspired by Greek and Lebanese cuisines. Part of the rationale is about eating healthy. The other part is frequency: Sister aims to serve that neighborhood restaurant function where you can drop in often.
"I associate Mediterranean with cleaner eating, where you want to eat that way two or three times a week," Martin says. "It's a cuisine everyone can relate to, where you can come and have pasta, some fish or vegetables or quinoa, on a regular basis."
Since The Charles opened in May 2018, it has earned accolades for its doting service, stunning decor, and fabulous food, including winning CultureMap's Tastemaker Award in 2020 for Best Restaurant of the Year. But Martin and company resisted the temptation to simply spin off a second location.
"It cannot be Charles 2.0 — it has to be something new and different and little bit edgy," Martin says. "It has to fit the neighborhood."
Three years later, they're coming from a different starting place, not only as recognized restaurateurs but also opening in an established neighborhood.
"That's one of the exciting things, is that we get to be part of a neighborhood," Martin says. "When we opened The Charles, it was our desire to be an upscale neighborhood joint, even though there is not a big neighborhood presence in the Design District after 5 pm. But the great thing about the Design District is that it's accessible from every part of the metroplex — Victory Park, Uptown, downtown, Highland Park, 20 minutes from Frisco, even Fort Worth. The Charles pulls from everywhere."
"On Greenville Avenue, we get to be in a soulful 100-year-old building, and we'll be serving locals," he says. "People from the Greenville Avenue area are dying for more options. The neighborhood is really under-served."
The Grape was a Dallas icon, prevailing on Greenville Avenue for 40 years, when owners Brian and Courtney Luscher closed in October 2019.
"Brian and Courtney came in and had dinner at The Charles, it felt like a cool emotional passing of the torch if you will," Martin says. "We're going to be the people who go in there and do that justice."
That includes a nod to the Grape's history as a wine bar, and they're going to fill that niche with a wine list that's casual and approachable.
"The bulk of The Charles' wine list ranges from $80 to $200 per bottle, and this will be in the range of $60 to $125 — more geared to that neighborhood," Martin says. "Everyone in the industry wants to say people won't spend money on wine, but that neighborhood is increasingly sophisticated and they want to go out."
Decor-wise, the landlord was looking to update all aspects of the building, including the apartments upstairs. They pretty much had to start over, with the help of Sees Design, who were responsible for the iconic design of The Charles and Bar Charles and designed the interiors for Sister. There'll be seating for around 90 including the patio which they've upgraded so that it's fully air-conditioned and temperature controlled.
Martin says they want the space to be welcoming but also to maintain a degree of sophistication.
"We'll be going for more of a trattoria vibe," he says. "We almost thought about naming it 'Charlie,' like a more casual version of The Charles, but ultimately decided that, although it has the same DNA, it had to be a different restaurant — fun and edgy, with a little ambiguity."