Enter Ivy Kitchen

Nick & Sam's Grill exits Look Cinemas to make room for new restaurant

Nick & Sam's Grill exits Look Cinemas to make room for new restaurant

Nick & Sam's Grill at Prestonwood
Nick & Sam's at Look Cinemas is closing September 14. Photo courtesy of Nick & Sam's Grill
Grown-up grilled cheese at Nick & Sam's Grill in Dallas
The restaurant had an abbreviated menu, like this grilled cheese sandwich. Nick & Sam's Grill/Facebook
Nick & Sam's Grill at Prestonwood
Grown-up grilled cheese at Nick & Sam's Grill in Dallas

Big changes are brewing at Nick & Sam's Grill, the casual young sibling of Nick & Sam's from restaurateur Joseph Palladino, including the closure of the branch at Look Cinemas in Prestonwood. A transformation of the Park Cities location is also in the works.

The Nick & Sam's Grill at Look Cinemas will close September 14, to be replaced by a new concept called Ivy Kitchen, managed by a team that includes one of the founders of Houston's. Ivy Kitchen is anticipated to open in early October.

According to a manager at the restaurant, the lease was up and they decided not to renew.

"The contract expired, and it was decided to open a new concept that would be a better fit for us," said the staffer. The bar and interior are set for renovation, a process they expect to take a couple of weeks. The restaurant will no longer be associated with Nick & Sam's Grill management. However, the adjoining Coal Vines pizzeria, a Nick & Sam's sibling, will remain.

Look patrons can dine at the restaurants or in one of three dine-in screens. The Nick & Sam’s Grill menu was always an abbreviated version, with bistro favorites in addition to gourmet comfort food.

Overseeing the transition to Ivy Kitchen is Jennifer Echevarria of the Branstetter Group, a California-based consultancy founded in 2011 by Vic Branstetter, co-founder of Houston's and former chief operating officer of its parent company, Hillstone Restaurant Group. Echevarria was part of the opening team at Hillstone concept R+D Kitchen in Preston Center.

According to its marketing materials, Ivy Kitchen's menu will include both "classic favorites" and "creative sushi rolls," with ingredients from around the world: "Our beef comes from a family-owned butcher in Chicago; seafood comes from Alaska, Scotland, Rhode Island and Asia; Italian meats are made in San Francisco; and flatbreads come from an authentic Arab bakery in Los Angeles."

Seems like a long way to go for bread.

Meanwhile, the Park Cities Nick & Sam's Grill will get an upgrade, from a casual grill to a more formal steakhouse. The changeover is coming this month.

"We're in a transition period as we become more of a steakhouse, and we'll move away from the grill," according to a staffer. "We'll still have some of our regular dishes on the menu. We haven't come to an agreement yet about what we're keeping. But we going more toward a steakhouse."

"That change could come as soon as next week –  by mid-September," she said.