Sunday, July 12, 2009
Owners of State & Allen in Uptown Dallas to open Nodding Donkey in 2900 space in fall
The food will be Texas-style -- Tex-Mex, BBQ, smokehouse, caballero cooking, Texas comfort food.
DALLAS The owners of State & Allen Lounge & Restaurant in Uptown are at it again with a new restaurant set to open in the fall. The Nodding Donkey will open in the old 2900 space just down the way from State, at 2900 Thomas Avenue.
Originally slated to serve Tex-Mex cuisine only, Owner Anthony Winkler and Executive Chef/Owners Jonathan Calabrese, Bradley Dickens, and Joseph Hickey have decided to diversify and add Texas-style fare to the menu as well.
Says Calabrese, "At first we assumed that we would just do Tex-Mex and do it really well and that would be enough. But a couple of things then inspired me to think why not do a Texas-style cuisine restaurant/cantina -- Tex-Mex, BBQ, Smokehouse, Caballero cooking, Texas comfort food, etc. We will do it all and we will do it the best way possible. We will have about 15 staple items, and then rotate others based on trends."
One of those things that inspired Jonathan was the recent cover story of Saveur magazine focusing on great food in Texas. The other being that Calabrese's mother's family is from West Texas (his father's family is from Chicago and he jokingly always claims to be from there), but his history is firmly entrenched in West Texas through his grandparents. His Grandpa Carl Ballard owned a truck stop and cafe which served Texas cuisine -- ironically it was never called that. Jonathan never knew what kind of food his grandfather cooked until having the conversation with his mother about the types of cuisine he, Dickens, and Hickey had decided on for their new place.
"My mom almost jumped out of her seat saying that it sounded like my grandfather's place. It all seems to be coming with some kind of synergy," says Calabrese.
Diners will be curious to know where the name "The Nodding Donkey" comes from. The name came about as an homage to Texas oil wells and the fact that they are building their patio with some old oil well drill pipes, and with their GM Angela Birt pushing the "green" initiative so heartily, it all works together for history or reuse. The new place will also be built using reclaimed wood and bricks. The Nodding Donkey is a nickname, too, for a pump jack which ironically none of Calabrese's relatives have ever heard of!
Source: State & Allen
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