With Preston Center emerging as one of the hottest dining neighborhoods in Dallas, Rathbun's Blue Plate Kitchen seems prescient. Chef Kent Rathbun opened this gourmet comfort food restaurant on Luther Lane more than four years ago — long before arrivals such as Spoon, HopDoddy and the recently relocated Mi Piaci.
Preston Center's location and its convenience to the Tollway were big pluses for the trailblazing Rathbun, who says he's excited about the area's resurgence. But he also has his eye on the east side of Preston Road — home to Taco Diner, R+D Kitchen and Hillstone — whose well-conceived landscaping, parking and retail mix create a synergy he'd like to see duplicated on the west side.
"I find it interesting that it is a different dynamic just 100 feet across the road," Kent Rathbun says. "I would love to find a way to work together to close the gap on that."
"I have heard through the grapevine that there is supposed to be some sort of awesome project being considered for here, and whoever is listening, GET IT DONE," he says, leaning into my recording device to provide extra emphasis. "I find it interesting that it is a different dynamic just 100 feet across the road. I would love to find a way to work together to close the gap on that."
Like many restaurants on the west side of Preston, Blue Plate has a stronger lunch than dinner. "People are really missing the boat," he says.
But recognizing that daytime is stronger, he's built a strong brunch, with fried green tomatoes, eggs Benedict, and chicken and waffles. And unlike other restaurants that close at 2 pm, Blue Plate hospitably stays open all afternoon, with a mid-afternoon menu that fills the gap between lunch and dinner. It's a luxury to be able to pop in at 3 pm for a salad, burger, or hummus with pita chips.
He's also worked to correct the impression that the "blue plate" in the name implies heavy food, with items such as the beet salad with crostini.
"This restaurant has evolved just like everything does," he says. "Yes, we have fried chicken and some home cooking. But the majority of the menu is a very nice, thought-out mix of food from a local and seasonal standpoint."