The team behind Armoury D.E. is opening its second restaurant in the same neighborhood that’s already shown them some love.
Peter Novotny and Dan Murry plan to open Ruins in April, taking the former Luscher’s Red Hots restaurant on Commerce Street and adding on the adjacent space.
“We wanted to blend a lot of different things together,” Novotny says of Ruins.
The two of them, along with Armoury chef Abram Vargas, took a trip to Oaxaca, exploring the food and culture. The trip ended up leading them to what will soon be their second restaurant.
“We went to learn about mescal, and that’s where it began,” he says. “There’s a lot of tradition involved, the process of it, the culture. … We really like everything about it, and we thought maybe we could bring some of that there, but blend it with some other areas of Central and South America.”
While Vargas oversees the Armoury kitchen, he’ll also take lead in the kitchen of Ruins, serving a different style.
“For Armoury, he had to learn Hungarian cuisine — that definitely wasn’t something he had worked with in the past, so I think he’s a little more comfortable with what we’re doing here,” Novotny says. “There will be classic Mexican dishes, and then he’s wanting to do just like local favorites, regional favorites — not just Mexico, but all over the islands, Central and South America.”
As far as the beverage program goes, there will be plenty of cocktails with mezcal, but rum is making a comeback here, too.
“I think [rum’s] gaining a bigger and bigger following. A lot of people are getting into it these days, and they’re understanding the differences of the regions, and that make rum so specific to that area,” Novotny says. “There’s a lot of varieties I think people don’t know about, but I think if it’s explained in detail, there’s complexities in every spirit. With mescal and rum, there’s so many varieties.”
“Ruins” may have you thinking tiki — and with the rum drinks, that might not be off base — but the name comes from a different part of the world.
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“The name Ruins was basically from these European bars in Hungary, in Budapest, and they’re just like old bombed-out, dilapidated places that have bullet holes, and they turn them into beer gardens,” Novotny says.
And because this spot is going in Deep Ellum, there will of course be a place for live music. They plan to have an even larger program than what they have at Armoury, which is why they also took over the adjacent space to where Luscher’s was.
Novotny, who lives in Deep Ellum, is optimistic about the concept that’s going on Commerce Street, and is positive now’s the right time to have it in the neighborhood.
“We saw that spot was still available; it’s right in the middle of everything,” he says. “You just see where it’s trending, you see all the residential moving in, the quality of businesses that are down there, I think it’s fun to be a part of, there’s a lot of character, it’s very dynamic. I’m excited about where everything’s going in; it’s hard to even keep track. It’s just fun to be a part of it.”