Just a quick teaser—to flash doughnuts across your consciousness and then let them go dormant for a while. I spoke with Nick Badovinus earlier today, having heard that he had decided on names for the restaurants slated to go into the restored and revivified Magnolia Oil/KLIF building about which I wrote in January. He’s been busy opening Perfect Union Pizza Co. in the meantime, but indeed, he had.
The names—National Anthem, a more glamorous concept that will occupy the second floor and roof deck, and PMA All Day, a casual eatery that will fill a street-level alcove—could not be more representative of the optimistic Badovinus attitude that has almost become its own brand. Boisterous, fun, upbeat. Those are the spirit he hopes to convey with what is a first for his Flavorhook restaurant business. (PMA standing for “Positive Mental Attitude,” and all day having extra emphatic resonance as the term used by a kitchen brigade to punctuate an order.) The casual street-level spot will serve coffee, simple grab-and-go items, and doughnuts. “That first bite of doughnut …,” Badovinus says, entertaining a reverie about the maple bars and raspberry-filled doughnuts he and his family would get on Sundays when he was growing up in Montlake, near Seattle.
“National Anthem is going to stay in the premium New American vein,” says Badovinus. “With a premium protein commitment and lots of shellfish. Hopefully it becomes a definitive downtown, big-city bar and grill.”
“Coincidentally, if you took Town Hearth and placed it on the Magnolia building, the difference in the triangle is like two degrees of difference,” he says, jovially. So, yes, close to home.
With a rather grand entrance on street level, National Anthem will occupy the 6,000 square feet on the second floor, with access to the roof deck. The casual PMA All Day will occupy a more modest 900 square feet in one of the arched bays that form a distinctive part of the historic building’s architecture.
“You just don’t have the opportunity in newer cities like Dallas to get your hands on a set of bones like that: the concrete forms, the legitimate Chicago brick,” says Badovinus. “We’re going to make it super comfortable, a place where you want to spend time. The sightlines are really incredible: views of downtown you’re not used to seeing.”
Badovinus expects they’ll begin work on the structure in the fall.