The Deep Ellum bar that used to be Hide is about to rise as a new bar. Called RoPo & Logan, it's from Abby Perkins, visual artist and wife of Nick Backlund (Hide, Royal 38, Toller Patio), and will open in the same location at 2816 Elm St. on September 15.
Hide opened in 2017 and earned acclaim for its great food and cocktails, but closed in June 2020 during the pandemic. Backlund is relocating the bar to 1928 Greenville Ave., paving the way for something new in the Deep Ellum space.
"RoPo & Logan" is an unusual name, but it's reflective of Perkins' experience. It's named after two historic neighborhoods in Chicago: Rogers Park and Logan Square, and is her love letter to the Midwestern eating and drinking culture she enjoyed while living in Chicago.
RoPo will be a Midwestern-style dive, featuring food and beverage items that draw from the culture of the area.
"We have a Chicago dog, of course, served with Portillos-inspired crinkle fries, and an Italian beef sandwich, with shaved ribeye and hot giardiniera on buttery bread — straightforward and so good," she says.
There's also a burger called the "Jucy" Lucy.
"There are many theories about where and when the 'Jucy' Lucy was created," Perkins says. "It is essentially a cheese-stuffed burger patty with lettuce and tomato. We doctored it up a little bit and added onion jam, aioli, and bread & butter pickles, so it's sweet and salty."
There's also their twist on Chicken Vesuvio, a Midwestern fave, which they do with chicken tenders in lemon sauce, with fries, greens, and lemon aioli.
Cocktails such as their Green River Slush have a college-days vibe.
"Green River is a bright green lemon-lime soda you can only get in the Midwest," Perkins says. "It's a frozen drink with citrus, vodka and Malort, a popular liqueur in Chicago with has a bitter licorice flavor. And the 'East Side' is a boiler maker: Modelo and a shot of tequila dressed with Tajin and Chamoy."
The bar will be run by a name familiar to Deep Ellum denizens: Jessica Brodsky, who has worked at local institutions such as Three Links and The Green Room.
Perkins was born and raised in Kessler Park, but she moved to Chicago to study lithography and sculpture at The School of the Art Institute in Chicago, then lived there for several years after graduating. Frequenting Midwestern bars became part of her "starving artist" lifestyle.
"Rogers Park and Logan Square were two neighborhoods that were special to me because during that time in my life I was coming into my own and creating an adult identity for myself," she says. "I was getting older, and it was the first time I was 100 percent financially independent. There is no better feeling than working and getting paid when you are young and kind of navigating your way through the true beginning of your adult life. I knew that I wanted to name my first concept RoPo & Logan because I really grew as a person during my time living in those neighborhoods."
She moved back to Texas in 2014, and began working in the restaurant industry at notable places such as The Rustic, HG Sply Co., Remedy, and Neighborhood Services.
"In my opinion, I've worked for some of the most influential restaurant owners in the city," she says. "I don't think I would have entertained the idea of opening my own concept without having the experience I’ve had over the last seven years."
Her goal is to improve Dallas' dining culture by introducing something new.
"I want to embrace the fact that we are becoming a cultural melting pot," she says. "I want people to try food from a different part of the country and perhaps feel a little more connected to a unique place. I love that the Midwest is not sexy, I love that you have to search to find the really great things that it has to offer. It isn't an easy place to live but it is familiar and welcoming in very unfamiliar way. I think that is why I love it so much."
Calling your new bar a dive bar can be risky, but Perkins feels there is nothing like a dive bar.
"I truly believe that a good dive can make you feel nostalgic for something that you may have never experienced first-hand," she says. "I'd like to try and create more spaces like that in Dallas. Places that evoke something that's hard to pinpoint at first glance. I don't care about revolutionary recipes or ingredients, but I am very interested in the uniqueness of the experience."