In July, when we announced restaurateur Shannon Wynne’s plans to open Lark on the Park, we also uncovered the name of the investor behind the “official” restaurant to operate at the park which will officially open October 27 with a Polyphonic Spree concert. John Muse, partner and chairman of HM Capital Partners and a member of the Woodall Rogers Park Foundation, is partnering with chef John Coleman, formerly the executive chef and director of food and beverage at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Dallas, to create and operate Savor.
Savor won’t be open for at least six months, but in late October or early November, Coleman will debut Relish, a food truck dedicated to solving the “common burger problem” by creating burger combinations with the ingredients mixed into the patty and grilled. Relish will eventually evolve into the park’s permanent, casual-food kiosk which is scheduled to open in mid-2013.
Muse and Coleman decided Savor would be a gastropub with “emphasis on fresh food and a shared experience.” The restaurant’s revenue will help support the operation of the Park. The exterior of 6,000-square foot restaurant pavilion and the performance pavillion, constructed through private donations, was designed by architect Thomas Phifer. Bill Johnson of The Johnson Studios in Atlanta is designing the restaurant’s interior which will include floor-to-ceiling glass walls, skylights to capture the changing light, and a sculpted ceiling designed to give the appearance of “sitting lightly” on the walls. Savor will have 320 seats, some of which will be in the covered patio.
This morning I spoke with John Coleman, an avid hiker and rock climber, to get some details on the food vibe of the project.
Coleman, 45, has spent 23 years with Ritz-Carlton hotels. “I was on the pre-opening team of the Ritz here in Dallas and have been there for five and a half years,” he said. “So far I’ve opened 14 to 18 hotels across the United States and also worked F&B in Tokyo and the Middle East.”
Coleman’s wife, Kat, is an interior designer. She worked with John Muse’s wife. The two John’s knew each other for several years before Muse submitted Coleman’s name to the park’s restaurant committee. Muse recused himself from the voting. Happy ending: Coleman was tapped with the job and is now in the process of opening his first independent restaurant.
“I hate the term kiosk, but when Relish becomes permanent, I would like to create a space like Café du Monde where people can sit outside with coffee and pastry and have a nice morning,” Coleman said. Until then, Relish, the food truck, will serve relish burgers: Coleman mixes varieties of relish or chow chow into the meat, grills them, and serves them in a bun baked by Village Baking Company.
After Coleman told me Savor would seat 320 diners and special event space, I asked if the crazy comings and goings of restaurants in the nearby One Arts Plaza concerned him. “I think they were ahead of their time,” Coleman said. “And our place has a different setting. We have a green space and we anchor Uptown.”
The menu for Savor is still in the vetting process. Coleman spent a lot of time traveling through Europe when he was younger and he spent a lot of time in pubs. “I understand a pub is a community space,” Coleman said. “I love to create with an innkeepers mindset. It’s about creating a social center At Savor you come in and have fun. It will be the living room of the community.”
Savor is under construction and is scheduled to open “in about six months.”
UPPITY DATE: First problem I see with the name of the restaurant. Savor. Dallas. Hmmm.