Thursday, June 14, 2012
Jack Mac’s Swill & Grill to open in North Dallas in early July
From former Press Box owner Jack MacDonald and his wife.
DALLAS The rather ripely-titled Jack Mac's Swill & Grill is about to open in the space that was (and still is, for now) Tiramisu, a down-on-its-luck Italian place on Preston south of the George Bush Turnpike in the same center as Sushi Yokahama and Lavendou.
"Jack Mac" is Jack MacDonald, the colorful Boston native who previously owned Press Box in downtown Dallas, and who was also involved with Iron Cactus, Romano's Macaroni Grill, and, way back when, Sam's Cafes.
MacDonald sold Press Box in 2007 and most recently was living in Cambridge, England, with his wife and co-owner Amy, a consultant who got hired for a one-year contract to work there.
"I'd been looking for a spot for about six months and we liked the layout [at Tiramisu], and like where it's at," he said.
The layout (pictured in progress here) is kindof two-sided, with two rooms divided by a bar, which MacDonald is using to do dual concept combining a grill with pizza-to-go.
"The main dining room is the 'Swill & Grill,' with an American pub menu, projection screens, our house grind will be a chuck-and-brisket mix," he said. "I'm cooking food I enjoy and got introduced to in the last year, like Moroccan meatballs, with a curry on the meatballs, sandwiches, paninis. The other side is 'Jack's Pie On The Side,' on the side of the building, where all my takeout will go. We've got a huge selection of New York-style pizzas, 14- and 16-inch, for pickup only."
One of the big advantages of the space was the oven left behind.
"The previous owner had a double-deck Blodgett here -- I walked in and saw that, and I was like, 'Now I know what I can do'," MacDonald said. "I had a good friend from New Jersey who owned a couple pizzerias, he walked me through the way he did dough."
He's following the same strategy he took at Press Box where he began with a small menu and let it evolve as time went on. But cognizant of the beer revolution that Dallas has experienced, he's committed to craft beer, and hopes to have about a dozen taps.
"The bar is so tiny, but we'll definitely do that, and we'll do all Texas beers on tap," he said. "And wine, too -- we'll probably have 12 to 14 wines by the glass, and at least half will be Texas."
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