Remember when we told you that the folks behind Uptown’s popular State and Allen Lounge were re-opening the shuttered 2900 as a Tex-Mex concept? Well, word comes that the resto is going to be called the Nodding Donkey (an homage to Texas oil wells, pictured here), and it will feature not only Tex-Mex, but other “Texas style fare.” Read on:
Says Calabrese (one of the chef/owners), “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 fifteen staple items, and then rotate others based on trends.”
Jump for the entire release. The Nodding Donkey is set to open this fall.
As was reported last month, the boys from 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). 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 fifteen 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!