Sophisticated restaurant Mister Charles to open in Dallas soda fountain space
Buzzy Dallas restaurant group Duro Hospitality has a new concept going into a legendary location: Called Mister Charles, it's a sophisticated restaurant and bar coming to Knox Street in the former Highland Park Soda Fountain building at 3219 Knox St., with an opening set for summer 2023.
In a nutshell, Mister Charles will serve irreverent globally-inspired plays on French and Italian dishes, will boast an open kitchen, with soaring 38-foot ceilings, iconoclastic design, classic cocktails, and rare wines.
“Mister Charles is our most exuberant, ambitious and high energy restaurant to date, and we are excited to share it with our neighbors and visitors to our wonderful city,” says Chas Martin, Duro Hospitality’s Co-Founding Partner, in a statement. “We believe that when guests dine out, they want to be transported out of their daily lives and routines. Our culinary and bar teams have pulled out all stops to create a joyous, multi-sensory experience that will create soulful and unforgettable memories for guests.”
The Highland Park Soda Fountain closed in 2018 due to the construction of a new office building in its location. The soda fountain's facade was preserved and serves as entry for the new restaurant. Duro Hospitality landed the space in early 2022.
"Mister Charles" pays homage to Chas, who lent his name to The Charles, the group’s first restaurant which opened in the Design District in 2018. (and which won Restaurant of the Year in the CultureMap's 2020 Tastemaker Awards). Duro expanded the fun Charles theme with its El Carlos Elegante, the Latin “brother” of The Charles, which it opened in the Design District in 2022.
According to a release, Mister Charles conjures up a more sophisticated and well-traveled relative who has enjoyed a lifetime savoring the finest continental cuisines and luxuriating in Europe’s most elegant hotels, restaurants, and bars.
Chas began his hospitality career as a kitchen Intern at Nick & Sam's Steakhouse in Dallas and eventually rose to be in charge of all front-of-house operations. He was also Food & Beverage Director at Hotel ZaZa in Dallas.
Food & drink
The menu at Mister Charles will consist of French and Italian dishes with pastas, luxe appetizers and entrees, and extravagant desserts. The bar features reinterpreted classic cocktails and a comprehensive selection of wine, with labels from France, Italy, and Spain, Napa Valley, Sonoma, and Washington State, including limited production bottlings, rare vintages, and extensive sparkling options.
Sundae at Mister Charles is a nod to the building's soda fountain legacy.Evan Sung
Menu highlights include:
- Egg Salad Sandwich & Caviar
- Cured Salmon Tart, Crème Fraîche
- Corn and Truffle Beignets
- Blue Fin Crudo
- Beef Carpaccio, Horseradish, Calabrian Chili
- Crab Cake Vadouvan, Avocado, Jalapeño
- Little Gem Caesar, Anchovy Caper Vinaigrette
- Lumache Arrabbiata, Broccolini, Tomato Conserva
- Seared Diver Scallops, Caviar Sauce, Potato Fondant ($58)
- Whole Dover Sole, Sauce Meunière Filleted Tableside ($98)
- Lobster Thermidor, Calabrian Tarragon Butter
Steaks include a 16-oz A Bar N Ranch Wagyu New York Strip, Sauce Au Poivre, $94; 26-oz Prime Beef Ribeye, Sauce Diane, Wild Mushrooms, $98; 8-oz Snake River Farms Filet with sauce Bordelaise; and Japanese A5 Striploin by the Ounce ($36/oz, 4-ounce minimum).
There are exotic versions of steakhouse-style sides like tandoori cauliflower with celery pistachio salad, and sesame ginger broccolini.
Desserts include Chocolate Espresso Pot Au Crème, coconut cream cake, a Banana Pudding Baked Alaska, and an homage: The Soda Fountain Sundae.
You can still glean a little soda fountain vibe at the sophisticated new Mister Charles.Douglas Friedman
"Not-So Classic" cocktails will include Crime of Passion, with tequila, Aperol, passion fruit, and habanero; a clever Highland Park Pharmacy Penicillin, with Scotch, ginger, and honey; a British royalty drink called the King Charles II, with gin, Italicus, Cointreau, and lemon for $21; and a Turnover Sour, with Calvados, Old Grand Dad 114 Bourbon, and Amaretto.
The Highland Park Soda Fountain is a landmarked space which has been fully renovated and also incorporates new construction in a connected adjacent space.
It'll seat 98 in its dining room, 12 at the bar, 26 in a private dining room, and 24 outside.
Guests enter via the soda fountain facade before passing through an arched vestibule of Venetian plaster and into a cathedral-like experience three stories high with columns ending in Corinthian capitals and a coffered ceiling wallpapered with trompe l’oeil medallions.
The main floor has a darker, sensuous dining room, a small secondary bar, and an open kitchen. There's also a long marble bar, an exposed plate glass-windowed wine cellar, and a private dining room on the mezzanine floor.
The concept was to have two contrasting designs represented by the “old” soda fountain space and the new addition to the building, with contrasting personalities of light and airy versus dark and moody and sexy - a contrast reflected in the Mister Charles logo which boasts an angel and a devil.
Duro Hospitality Group has become one of the hottest entities in Dallas restaurants right now, with a portfolio that includes The Charles, Bar Charles, Sister, El Carlos Elegante, Café Duro, and Casa Duro.