With his Smoke restaurant at the Belmont now up in smoke, chef Tim Byres is reporting for duty to a new kitchen: Flora Street Cafe, where he will join his mentor Stephan Pyles as managing director.
Byres says in a release that it's a "natural progression."
"I am excited about this change because it has been like we never fully parted ways," he says. "I have always been impressed and inspired by Stephan's love of Texas, and we both share a love of my home state California's fresh food movement and the overall elements of fire and smoke in cooking. We have a really great time working together, so it is a natural progression."
Byres previously worked at Stephan Pyles' flagship on Ross Avenue, which he left in 2009 to open Smoke. His hire at Flora Street also reflects a new direction for the fancy restaurant.
They'll be reimagining the place, with the deployment of a new verb: "casualizing" that includes "casualizing" the décor and repositioning Flora Street into a more approachable destination you might be inclined to frequent more often.
That includes a Sunday brunch with some "programming" from Smoke in the coming year. By "programming," one presumes they mean Smoke signature brunch dishes such as brisket hash and blueberry ricotta pancakes.
This is a huge shift from the stance Flora Street took when it opened in 2016, proclaiming a return to formal dining, with plated sterling flatware, crystal stemware, and linens by Rivolta Carmignani, a luxury brand from Italy.
One shocking change taking place at Flora Street is the departure of George Majdalani, who has served for decades as manager at Pyles' various restaurants.
Majdalani says his departure is unconnected to the Byres hire and has been in motion since November. "I'm taking some time to be with my family," he says.
Pyles will also revamp his catering business; reopen Stampede 66 and two other concepts, Provisions 66 and Canyon Bar, at Delta Hotels by Marriott Dallas Allen & Watters Creek Convention Center for Benchmark.