Nearly a year after Mudhen Meat and Greens flew the coop, Hurdy Gurdy is preparing to open at the anchor location at the Dallas Farmers Market. If you’re familiar with the Scottish singer-songwriter Donovan or have an interest in folk instruments, the name may sound familiar.
For those who aren’t: a hurdy-gurdy is an instrument with multiple drone strings that give a constant pitch accompaniment to the melody played on the other strings. The name isn't just a reference — it's an inspiration. Co-owners Charles Nelson and David Herrera, who also operate The 2nd Tap in the Farmers Market, seek to strike a different, more constant tone than the previous occupant.
“Most of the restaurants around here close by 7 p.m. during the week. We operate a taproom in the Farmers Market but are unable to serve food there, and many of our customers there were disappointed they couldn’t get a bite to eat in the evening,” Nelson says.
Despite the significant growth of the Farmers Market area since 2013 — there are dozens of new shops and restaurants and now more than 2,200 apartment units — the area still struggles to cater to residents who aren’t able to use the many offerings during the day.
If the Farmers Market can be thought of as a symphony, then the people behind Hurdy Gurdy seek to play the role of the restaurant's namesake, anchoring the ups and downs of the various players with a steady tone.
The men behind Hurdy Gurdy envision it to be a communal space for the neighborhood where people can gather, eat and drink at almost any hour of the day.
To that end, their hours — whenever they are able to fully open — will be longer than those of prior tenants. Their menu is designed ignore divisions between breakfast, lunch and dinner. Plates are primarily meant to be shared.
Ultimately, the food and drink is secondary to the purpose of Hurdy Gurdy as a gathering space.
“We don’t want people to think that mealtime is the only reason you would come here,” Nelson says. “We want this to feel like an extension of your home.”
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Although the COVID-19 makes scheduling shaky, Hurdy Gurdy is planning to open around October, at the very least with delivery and takeout orders. Prior to their grand opening, they also plan to hold a number of soft-opening events for the local apartment building residents.
“We want to focus on the residents who live here seven days a week, not just the folks that come in on the weekends,” Nelson says.
Hurdy Gurdy, 900 S. Harwood St. (Dallas Farmers Market). Planned to open in October.