For visitors to Dallas, the Deep Ellum Hostel is a more affordable place to crash for a night.
For people who eat in our city, its restaurant, Izkina, has been a solid destination for Spanish tapas and meals since it opened.
But as of this weekend, the restaurant will undergo a rebirth of sorts as the name changes to Booty’s and the menu looks worldwide.
“We’re completely rebranding,” chef Joel Orsini says. “We’re trying to stem away from the directly Spanish kind of feel and go toward the feel of what the hostel is: the global aspect.”
Orsini says Collin Ballard and Kent Roth, owners of the hostel, were inspired by Booty’s Street Food, a now-shuttered gastropub in New Orleans that served small plates, not dissimilar in feel to what we know as Izkina’s menu.
“It’s not going to be the direct concept; we’re just using their name and marketing,” Orsini says, noting Ballard and Roth are friends with the former owners of the New Orleans spot.
With the name change will come an evolution of the menu, a new physical entrance and a new face in charge behind the bar.
For those of us in love with the tapas available at Izkina, Orsini is doing his best to assure the new menu will still be approachable and welcoming to already-established fans.
“It’s still going to keep the same exact mind-set, we’re just opening up the spectrum to a bigger way,” he says. “Instead of focusing it to the Mediterranean and Spain in particular, we’re going to be doing foods from all over.”
For example, you’ll still get items such as the tortilla española, a tapas classic where eggs and potatoes are folded into a savory layer cake. But they’ll also look to the East for more Asian-influenced flavors. What keeps it the same is their method of execution.
“We look at what ingredients can we get here in the state, what fish can we get out of the Gulf?” he says. “I don’t buy citrus if I can’t get it.”
That’s an example of why Orsini is intentional with vinegars, fermentation and preservation of foods. All of that will remain, as will the rooftop garden and apiary, of course.
The interior has changed, too.
“There are plants in the boxes in front of our garage door windows; in the fall I’m going to transplant things. We did touch-ups,” he says. “It looks a little more comforting and warm, there’s a nicer feel to it.”
The front door, which was a small one on Elm Street straight into the restaurant, is now through the hostel. It’s actually a really cool door: When closed (from the hostel side), it looks like a bunch of stacked luggage.
Aesthetics aside, this also makes it feel a bit safer, reducing entrances, according to Orsini.
“We’re doing our best as possible to make sure our guest experience is a wonderful thing all the way around,” he says.
The final change we know about right now is Dylan Huddle, the new bar manager of Booty’s.
Huddle has plenty of experience, having worked at Black Swan in the same neighborhood for five years. He also worked with Orsini previously.
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“He worked with me at FT33 during the time that Matt (McCallister) went on the strict no-purchasing of anything outside of 300 miles,” he says. “At a bar, he had to go through seasons without lemon juice, lime juice, orange juice, any citrus whatsoever. He was able to manipulate things.”
Some menu items have already changed, the interior has seen some evolution and the name change will happen over this weekend.
Here’s to hoping this Deep Ellum gem is just expanding on what it’s created here.
Booty's, 2801 Elm St. (Deep Ellum)