A North Dallas Turkish restaurant is establishing an outpost in North Oak Cliff next month. The owners of Selda Mediterranean Kitchen & Bar will open Mayor’s House by Selda Dec. 8 at the giant white house at 635 N. Zang Blvd.
The property has seen its fair share of owners and restaurant attempts. It was home to George Sergeant, mayor of Dallas from 1935 to 1937, until his death in 1971. In 2011, developer Jim Lake bought the property and rezoned it to be a restaurant called the Mayor’s House. For years, anticipation built as restaurateurs AJ Gilbert and Martha Madison (of Luna Park in San Francisco, New York City, and Los Angeles) partnered with chef Graham Dodds to open a farm-to-table restaurant serving Dodds’ favorite dishes, such as fish and chips and a Sunday English roast.
The restaurant never opened. CultureMap says the project stalled, the pandemic happened, and Lake put the house back on the market stalled the project. (The Mayor’s House website and most of the social media pages are still up.) Jim Lake Companies did not respond to a request to comment.
Becky and Mert Tezkol are ready to bring life back into the house. They’re working with fellow Selda co-owner Habip Kargin, who will man the kitchen, to open the Turkish restaurant. Selda is located in North Dallas at the intersection of Preston and Belt Line Roads. Becky says Mert spent about two years looking for a place north of the existing restaurant to expand, but then he found the Mayor’s House.
“The second he walked into it with a realtor, he was like, ‘I want this. I want to sign the lease,’” Becky says. “I think they really lucked out with the Mayor’s House. You know, everything happens for a reason.”
When Mert signed for the house, Becky says they had to agree to keep the name “Mayor’s House” for the restaurant “at the request of Jim Lake.” She believes it was for historical reasons, and they were fine with that. They decided to call it Mayor’s House by Selda.
The house was essentially turnkey ready (it was supposed to be a restaurant, after all), but there were a few things Mert and Habip wanted to add, such as colorful Turkish lights and new furniture. Habip gave me a quick tour of the place when I showed up two weeks ago. It’s clear the house has good bones. Good, big bones: Habip told me the restaurant can hold about 200 people.
It’s impressive. The house is sprawling, with two stories, a huge kitchen, a patio on the front and side of the home, and a balcony with views of the Dallas skyline in the distance. In the outdoor spaces, lights are strung above. It’s a mostly white house, with a bright red door. There will be two full-service bars, one downstairs and one upstairs, and at least six separate indoor dining rooms.
The restaurant is just a few blocks from the Bishop Arts District, and it’ll likely be a popular late-night spot once the patio turns into a hookah space. In Mediterranean cuisine, it’ll join Paradiso, La Bodega, and Nora Restaurant and Bar—all of which are in Bishop Arts.
A menu wasn’t available, but Becky says it’ll be quite similar to the Selda menu, which means more kebabs, lamb shank, and saksuka for the neighborhood. And that’s a good thing.
“There’s a lot of Mediterranean-style food in Dallas, but a lot of it isn’t like he had experience in his home country of Turkey,” Becky says. “That’s the kind of food that they want to bring to people.”
Mayor’s House by Selda will open December 8 at 635 N. Zang Blvd.