It seems Kitchen 1924 owner Shawn Horne (CV includes Star Canyon, Abacus, and York Street) has finally created the restaurant he set out to: the quintessential neighborhood spot. At a recent dinner, we spotted a flip-flop-wearing patron and her date, sipping Stellas and devouring grits she declared “divine.” In the booth behind us sat a distinguished couple, dressed in Sunday best. In the corner, a four-top was half kids who alternately poked and screamed at each other. At the bar, a tie-clad gentleman enjoyed a beer and a salad, solo.

Horne opened Kitchen 1924 in 2006 in the Lakewood Shopping Center. Items such as fried pork belly and Coca-Cola-braised carnitas from chef Edward Mendoza brought TV spots and articles in Food & Wine magazine. Then, last year, Mendoza packed up said carnitas and left. Now Horne has Shane Stone, formerly of Stephan Pyles, and the restaurant has settled into its groove. The food—starting with the gratis cups of ginger-laced consommé presented before you order—comforts, while nudging the envelope just a smidge. That said, it’s best to stick to the standards: meaty seared scallops, juicy pork chops, almond-crusted halibut. Mortal willpower is no match for sides like smoked Gouda grits, bow tie pasta mac and cheese, and blue cheese potato salad. Black-eyed pea hummus was a recent miss, with texture and taste reminiscent of refried beans, and too-salty beef tenderloin was on the small side and paired poorly with cold merlot demi-glace. However, Horne is the ultimate host (GM Michael Durkin is also lovely), and he’ll remember you after just one visit. And return you will.

Get contact information for Kitchen 1924.