It's been more than a year since news first came out that Grape chef-owner Brian Luscher planned to open an eponymous restaurant in East Dallas. In July of last year, Luscher announced that he'd signed a lease on a building that previously housed a corner store on Gaston Avenue. Luscher promised his own Post Oak Red Hots right across the street from the Elbow Room. People were freaking. Then the mustard hit the fan.
The parking restrictions that delayed the opening of La Banqueta on Carroll Avenue completely crippled Luscher's plans and the project folded in April of this year, with Luscher vowing to find a new spot. Luscher has been pensive about discussion a new timeline for time line for his hot dog joint. "I've had my heart broken a couple of times," he said.
Now he has his space. Luscher's Chicago Style Hot Dog Joint will open some time in in the late fall, if Luscher has his way, on Commerce Street in Deep Ellum. "I'm hoping for November, but you know, we're still in the permitting process," he said. He sounded a little sad. I asked him about the menu instead.
"What we're doing is a kind of taste of Texas, Chicago-style joint," he said. Luscher pointed to the hot dog he serves most weekends at White Rock Local Market. In Chicago hot dogs are bought in bulk, steamed, and topped with condiments including a neon-green relish. Lusher grills his hand-made dogs instead, a step that adds new layers of flavor, and then uses house-made relish and other condiments that actually taste good.
Take the same mindset and apply it to Chicago's famous Italian Beef sandwiches. Luscher plans to roast wagyu beef and collect the drippings to make gravy. Then he'll serve the beef in locally sourced rolls with house-made giardiniera (spicy please) and douse the whole sandwich in the gravy. Imagine a meat sandwich you eat with your hands that's soaking in thin, flavorful gravy. This place already has promise, no?
It gets better. Luscher may be the first guy to make gyros on sight as well. Imagine that: in one fell swoop, the guy will render every single Greek restaurant in Dallas completely useless. That's a lot of power for one sandwich, but we've still got some time to wait.
So for now we'll all sit, tapping our fingers and toes. They actually put the sandwich into the gravy. The whole thing.
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