Ex-baseball player brings convivial neighborhood bar to Lake Highlands
A popular neighborhood bar and eatery on Greenville Avenue has found a new neighborhood — and with a new name, to boot.
Formerly known as 504 Bar & Grill, the new concept will open as Yogi's Home Plate, which will relocate its fun atmosphere, excellent food, and charismatic owner to Lake Highlands.
Yogi's will go into the Creekside center at 6770 Abrams Rd., in the same center as Alamo Drafthouse, with a tentative opening by Thanksgiving.
It's from Dan Barbara, who took over 504 Bar & Grill from original owners Charlie McGuinness and James Henson in 2016.
"It became a crazy-good local hangout," Barbara says. "Basically, it was a neighborhood bar, but we made it into something special with good hospitality and great food."
When the lease came up, Barbara found he was facing a serious increase in rent and began to look elsewhere. He and his ex-wife Stacy had opened a fitness center at Creekside, and he knew it was a growing area.
"The guys who run that center are delightful to work with, but we also realized that half of our clientele at 504 was from that area — so many of our regulars were coming from East Dallas and Lake Highlands," he says.
They're going into what used to be the old Tom Thumb. Three quarters went to Alamo Drafthouse; Yogi's will occupy the other quarter.
"We'll be doing everything we did at 504 but in a bigger venue," Barbara says. "We'll do live music, and we'll place a greater emphasis on our scratch kitchen. We were always noted for having good food — our 'Momma's fried chicken' earned us an award for one of the best places with chicken-fried chicken in the state of Texas — and you won't find better Buffalo wings."
He's also shifting the cuisine away from Creole and more towards Italian and Mexican, dishes like enchiladas and a new fried catfish plate, as well as a longer list of chalkboard specials.
The new location also has plenty of parking, which Greenville Avenue did not. "Parking over there was a bit of a train wreck, and I always felt like the neighbors in that area did not want a bar," he says.
Yogi's is named for Barbara's father, who was a professional baseball player. "Everyone thought he was going to be the next Yogi Berra, so we called him Yogi. That's where we got the name," says Dan, who also played baseball, for the Seattle Mariners.
At 504, he's become known for doing videos that display his engaging personality.
"Our clients love to be entertained, whether it's a one-man band, a sporting event," he says. "I was always on hand, because I really wanted it to be successful, and I think people love to make that connection."