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News Bites

News Bites: Garden Cafe Is Finally Back and Sharon Van Meter’s Wine Bar Opens

SideDish’s weekly digest of need-to-know dining happenings in Dallas.
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Leah Clausen

Welcome to SideDish’s weekly dispatch of need-to-know News Bites, from quiet closures to opening updates and everything in between

Garden Cafe Makes Its Welcome Return

The Old East Dallas gem is open again after a lengthy hiatus. It shuttered at the start of the pandemic last year, but after staffing up, securing an updated liquor license—you no longer have to bring your own wine!—and many months of general refreshing, Garden Cafe is back. And by the headlines it’s making (Dallas Morning News, Lakewood Advocate, Dallas CultureMap), people are rightly stoked about it. Owner Mark Wootton had built a staple of the neighborhood, a place for morning sustenance and afternoon respite. With its comeback, the cafe now serves dinner with libations to go along with the likes of braised beef cheeks and seared red snapper. “Beer, kombucha, and wine-based cocktails are available too — there’s a real-deal little bar inside — which is a milestone for Wootton that’s ten years in the making,” wrote Nick Rallo for DMN. It’s nice to see a restaurant like Garden Cafe make its reemergence with gusto.

Beckley 1115 Now Pouring Wine

It’s a fine time for fine wine—heck, it’s Texas wine month after all—so the arrival of chef Sharon Van Meter’s wine bar is an opportune one. It opened on October 12  in the former Victor Hugo’s space at 1115 Beckley Avenue (hence the name). Beckley 1115, reports DMN, aims to be an ultra-casual eatery where one might find a glass of wine for as low as five bucks. Affordable yet delicious is what chef and owner Van Meter, one Dallas’ great culinary leaders, wants the Oak Cliff spot to deliver. Details beyond that (like the chef who will be helming the wine “barstaurant”) appear to be scant as of right now.

Mi Cocina On The Park at Klyde Warren

D CEO has a first look at Mi Cocina’s new park restaurant, which opens next Monday, October 18. It’s the 22nd location for the restaurant but there’s only one quite like it. The 11,000 square-foot location will feature three spaces: a Mi Cocina dining area, an upscale bar dubbed The Bar on the Park, and a kiosk facing Pearl Street called La Parada. In all three, CEO Edgar Guevara hopes to balance Mi Cocina touches with “an essence of Mexico” while embracing renowned architect Thomas Pfifer’s structural work, which sets the restaurant over Woodall Rodgers Freeway.

After Years in the Making, Nick Badovinus Finally Opens National Anthem

O’ say can you see, by the dawn’s early light… that restaurateur Nick Badovinus has opened his latest dining destination. On the edges of downtown, or the East Quarter as developer Todd Interests has branded it, National Anthem debuted on October 6. It has been in the works since 2018, as SideDish reported then. Now, per DMN, “the restaurant is in an odd and iconic building, a triangular-shaped spot at 2130 Commerce Street. It’s been home to KLIF radio and was previously in the middle of Automobile Row — which restaurant operator Nick Badovinus says gives the space a “rock and roll” vibe.” National Anthem, you might be able to surmise, adheres to a broadly (very broadly) interpretation of American food, from smashburgers to cheese enchiladas with New Mexico red salsa to New England-style spicy mussels.

Lada Is Now Nada

As in nothing, as in the North Dallas restaurant, which opened late last year with chef-driven enchiladas, is closed as of October 10. Dallas CultureMap reports that opening chef Michael Ehlert (formerly at Mirador and The French Room) left in June and that customers were perhaps hoping for a sit-down option rather than Lada’s fast-casual setup.

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