Michael Martensen has announced that he and partner Sal Jafar II, co-founder of Driftwood in Oak Cliff, have taken over the One Arts space that used to hold The Greek. The barman responsible in part for Smyth and Cedars Social (he's since parted with both bars) plans to open Proof + Pantry this summer.
Martensen obviously has a handle on the proof side of things. His hasty departure from Smyth and Cedars Social has had cocktail snobs wondering where he would land for months. While the actual cocktails aren't mentioned, there is a reference to drink menu in the news release, indicating customers won't have to pontificate on spirit preferences and flavor profiles to order a cocktail as they did at Smyth.
The Pantry side of thinks looks a little more bare. Martensen hasn't released the name of the chef but he says we can expect a modern American menu and dishes will range from $10 to $30.
Martensen also says he's secured the entire staff from Smyth, according to the Eats Blog. It will be interesting how that crew, previously obsessed with handcrafted everything, translates in a new One Arts space, where many customers are often in a hurry. ("Could you muddle my mint a little more quickly, please? Curtain's in 10.")
Of course if this plan is going to work at all, Martensen and Jafar will have to draw in customers who are there for the Proof + Pantry experience on its own, as opposed to as a stop on the way down to the Arts District. And to do that, Martensen and Jafar could use a little help from the folks behind One Arts Plaza, who need to sign leases with tenants capable of turning the plaza into a real dining and drink destination. The space that used to house Café de Artistes is still open. Anyone?
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