Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Photos: Tour of new Highland Park restaurant Marquee Grill, featuring Tre Wilcox
Breathtaking renovation and top-notch staff make the Marquee one of the biggest openings of 2011.
Add to that the fact that the restaurant is part of the newly-renovated Art Deco Highland Park Movie Theater, in historical Highland Park Village, and Marquee Grill promises to be one of the biggest openings of 2011.
On Monday, the restaurant hosted a mock service for family members and friends such as local chef Jason Boso of Twisted Root. Owner Brian Twomey, the former Coca-Cola executive who ditched corporate life for the restaurant world when he opened Loft 610 in Plano in 2008 and who also owns respected beer restaurant Common Table off Cedar Springs, said that opening Marquee and renovating the adjacent Highland Park Theater was the fulfillment of a dream.
"I've always been a huge movie buff," Twomey said as he pointed to a wall of vintage movie posters of favorite movies such as The Maltese Falcon. "My wife said, 'Only you would find a restaurant where part of the deal is that you also have to do a theater'."
The theater opened in December with two stadium-style screens and two plush screening rooms that can be rented for private parties. Marquee is scheduled to open April 24. Both have been redone with high-end finishes and a fastidious attention to detail, from the pale gray Turkish marble on the lobby floor to the fully-outfitted kitchen that Wilcox calls his playroom.
The restaurant seats 215, but has two floors and multiple dining spaces that mask the number of seats. The bottom floor consists of the kitchen and a small formal dining room with a circular chef's table for special events. Upstairs, the dining areas are more casual, the pale gray wood paneling broken by friendly pops of color.
The second floor also holds the bar, a dark, masculine space where noted cocktail-ologist Jason Kosmas presides.
The kitchen has a number of seriously cool features that are one-of-a-kind, including a small, nearly-hidden wood-burning oven in the bowels of the kitchen and a hotel-style dumbwaiter for delivering food to the second floor.
The redesign also retained a piece of the building's original exterior: a small balcony that overlooks the lobby, sharing air space with a grand curved chandelier.
One of the most stunning aspects of the decor is the redesigned grand balcony that overlooks the entire shopping center. Literally a marquee bar, the edge is rimmed with glass, with the vintage building providing a backdrop of ornate Art Deco carving: ready for countless diners and moviegoers to stand atop and make the James Cameron/Titanic pronouncement that they are kings of the world.
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