The West End has plenty of passionate individuals advocating for the success of this corner of downtown, such as Jeremy Scott of Tutta’s, Chase Headley of 1001 Wine & Spirits and Joe Groves of Ellen’s. Another voice of positivity is so optimistic about this section of the 75202 ZIP code, he’s opening up his third business there.
3Eleven Kitchen and Cocktails is now serving drinks and plates on Market Street, in the space Hoffbrau Steaks occupied for 23 years until closing at the end of 2016. Jay Khan, owner of RJ Mexican Cuisine down the street, is the owner and brains behind the new restaurant, where he aims to offer “American cuisine, healthy, modern food.” The Facebook page also uses trendy phrases such as “chef-driven” and “farm-to-market.”
But don’t let that worry you.
What Khan has working with general and bar manager Ruben Michael Chavez and chef John Moore is something West End is lucky to have.
“I’ve been thinking about this for a couple of years, to be honest. … This is a first of its kind in West End,” he says, with a big bar and lounge area on the patio. For example, while you can get a great dinner at Ellen’s, your options for an after-dinner drink in the neighborhood have been limited.
The formerly dark space of the long-running steak chain has been brightened up with fresh decor and paint that still smells new. The overbearing awnings have been taken down. And when you first walk in, you can’t miss the large wall of bottles that makes up the long bar.
If there’s a wait for your table, consider yourself fortunate to get to sit at that bar. Chavez is organizing a beverage program that has a lot of heart and intention behind it.
“It’s just part of the movement, the rebirth of this area. … We’re just trying to create the tone around here,” he says. “I’m not the bar whisperer. … I want it to be the spot — not even jumping in an Uber, but walking home. I think the tourists will pay the bills, but we want this to be the neighborhood bar.”
Cocktails take a bit of time and look extravagant. But they average around $9 each (sadly, not a shockingly high price these days in Dallas) and go up to $13.
“I don’t want to batch anything,” Chavez says. “[The customers] can see there’s a lot of love.”
After working for businesses such as Wolfgang Puck Catering and AT&T Performing Arts Center, Chavez, 37, has more than two decades in the field and is still looking for new ways to create.
While the drinks are worth checking out at 3Eleven, you’ll do yourself a favor if you stay for a meal. Moore, 35, is a genuine chef wanting to provide the food in Khan’s concept in a way that people enjoy. The chef got a culinary degree from the Art Institute of Dallas after college and has worked with Kahn for six years.
“Jay had an idea of doing something modern, leaning towards healthy, but high end,” Chavez says. “Healthy was a stretch for me at first. I talked to nutritionists, and they said to control portions and make it a balanced meal. … It’s shockingly simple.
“Everything has a purpose," he says. "We don’t have anything on the plate that doesn’t make the dish better.”
Sitting on the patio on an afternoon during the restaurant’s slow opening, Khan waved to people walking by, most of whom he knew.
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“I’m very dedicated and loyal to West End,” says Khan, who lives in Farmers Branch and has operated businesses in West End for 14 years. “We’re inviting more restaurants to come here. We just want to be ahead of it.”
Those working or living downtown have their regular watering holes, including that beautiful, dark-walled bar next to the French Room, Bourbon and Banter, the Woolworth, City Tavern and the One-Eyed Penguin, depending on your mood (and attire). For people who want another go-to within walking distance, 3Eleven is a welcome addition.
3Eleven Kitchen and Cocktails, 311 N. Market St. Serves lunch and dinner during its soft open and plans to add weekend brunch in mid- to late-February.