Food News

Casual Fare and 'Approachable' Prices: Taylor Kearney Launches a Neighborhood Hang on Cedar Springs

Cedar Springs Road's newest restaurant, Cedar Grove, is taking over the location that was formerly home to Dish, but the executive chef says this Oak Lawn spot will be radically changed.

“It’s night and day in difference from what it was, and that’s a very good thing. I don’t think we wanted to leave any remnants of the Dish mindset,” says Taylor Kearney, who is also the executive chef of the Front Room Tavern in the Hotel Lumen. “We want to do something different. We want to be a neighborhood spot, where I think Dish was pegged as almost too fancy.”

Kearney aims for Cedar Grove to be approachable and comfortable. Sitting down hours before the restaurant unlocked its doors for the soft opening, the space still smelled of cedar, staff worked to get things in place — like the iPad for the restaurant's photo booth — and Kearney was fairly at ease.

“We want to get perfect in the way we’re cooking, the technique we’re using, the plating we’re doing. … I want to make sure every cook knows this is the way we want it done,” he says. “It’s last-minute tweaks on temperatures of our pizza oven, tweaks on all the breads. We’ve made thousands of rolls, hundreds of loaves of bread just to perfect what we think is best.”
Kearney also shows no worry in acting as executive chef of both restaurants at the same time.

“As long as you have a great support staff, it’s easy. I’ve been very lucky with my hiring and been very selective in who we hire, and we have great talent behind me and next to me, and I’m very fortunate in that they make my life a lot easier,” he says.

Dish Preston Hollow, Cedar Grove and the Front Room are operated by Tim McEnery, CEO of NL Group.

Kearney, 27, is originally from Garland and landed back in Dallas after working at different restaurants, including notable establishments in Las Vegas, Charlie Palmer at the Joule Hotel — where he was sous chef — and Nick and Sam’s.

“Working for Charlie Palmer and his style of cuisine, very classical, simple, French technique, has really struck home with me,” he says.

On this menu, Kearney says he’s most excited about the charcuterie and the hot chicken sandwich. The price point for the menu will be “approachable,” he says.

“In seeing what Dish did before and where I think the restaurant was lacking a little bit, just for this neighborhood, I think we’re giving them exactly what they want,” he said. “And what the trend is now, it seems to be a lot more simple food, simple cuisine, approachable price point with a few quirky things thrown in.”

Cedar Grove, 4123 Cedar Springs Road

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Taylor Adams has written about the restaurant industry for the Dallas Observer since 2016. Now the Observer's food editor, she attended Southern Methodist University before covering local news at The Dallas Morning News.