The best way to beat the Dallas restaurant smoking ban is to pay homage to it with bricks and mortar. Build yourself a smoking bunker; seal if off from the rest of the dining guests. Make sure those prone to long stints in nicotine fog pass from bunker to restaurant through an air lock, get hosed down with decontaminant and maybe have their heads shaved to eradicate every last trace of Marlboro Lights virulence. You can never be too safe when it comes to the life threats of secondhand smoke. That's why Jaden's Restaurant & Bar will have a hermetically sealed bar building. You have to pass through the patio to enter the two-story dining space. Yet Jaden's is so much more than a lit Camel in the eye of a city ordinance. It's also "one of Dallas' newest hotspot dining experiences for Uptown clientele" with "open space and earthy tones...to create an atmosphere that is unpretentious, yet elegant enough to appease a more discerning crowd." Plus, it has a menu stuffed with modern American cuisine prepared by former Green Room chef James Pitzer. What's modern American? It's "avoiding all of the cliquey clichéd fusion stuff...getting back to the more pared down," says Jaden director of marketing Sasha Bailey. No smoke there. Yet certain things must remain cliquey. Jaden has VIP memberships (who doesn't?) ranging from $500 (preferred) to $10,000 (titanium). Happy-hour specials are limited to bellinis, appletinis and cosmos: powerful sports-bar repellents. "We're definitely not pushing the 'come watch the game on your giant TVs in the bar' kind of thing," Bailey says. Load the torpedo tubes with kiwi-peach daiquiris during the Bud Bowl, just to be double-plus safe. Jaden is managed by Zenon Oprysk (remember him from Tiberon on Lower Greenville and The Bistro on Lovers and Inwood?) and is owned by brothers Mark and Dirk Kelcher of Jack's Pub and the Top Rail Ballroom. Look for Jaden's to light up in the Knox Promenade Center in November.
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Not all fusion restaurants are clichéd fuss-ups. Prime example: Cretia's, a restaurant, full-service bar, bakery and upscale men and women's clothing store serving pastas, pizzas, sandwiches, pork tenderloin, steak, fried green tomato lasagna and silk shirts to spill it all on. Cretia's, on the corner of McKinney and Armstrong, is owned by Cretia Dryland of Cretia's Flour & Flowers in Duncanville... Avner Samuel has poached Mignon executive chef Jon Stevens to be Aurora's chef de cuisine. "I was starting to get a little stagnant at Mignon," Stevens says. "I think Avner and I are really on the same wavelength." Can a city contain more than one Avner frequency? Mignon owner Nick Natour has not appointed a replacement as of this writing.