Deep Ellum's food and drink saturation continues with two new restaurants opening this month: "modern American restaurant" IdleRye and Junction Craft Kitchen, which will turn a temporary restaurant concept into a full-time venture serving a fusion of Asian and Southern fare.
Kitchen LTO, Dallas' "permanent pop-up" restaurant, closed its Trinity Groves restaurant last year and reopened in Deep Ellum, where chef Josh Harmon took over the restaurant's first run. At first, Kitchen LTO stuck with its core concept: to swap out chefs, menus and artists every six months, effectively creating an entirely new restaurant in the same space.
But Harmon did so well at LTO, owner Casie Caldwell says, that she made him a partner and ditched the limited-time concept, opting to transform Kitchen LTO into Junction Craft Kitchen, opening Thursday at 2901 Elm St.
"I knew in the first week of opening Deep Ellum that I wanted to find a way to help Josh have a permanent restaurant space when he left LTO," Caldwell said in a press release. "After months of discussion, we decided to keep this great location and bid farewell to LTO."
Junction, which will initially be open for dinner and brunch service, will serve several of Harmon's staple LTO dishes (Brussel sprouts with fish sauce caramel, hot fried chicken and Korean duck leg), but Harmon will expand the menu with new offerings like "Korean-braised beef, boudin po bao and family-style miso pork belly served with steam buns and house-made sauces."
Leann Berry, formerly of Komali, will lead the bar program, and Junction will also host Cart #10, a "10-course chef tasting menu offered only by reservation on Saturday nights," according to the release. The menu will change weekly and dinners will be held at a communal table in the private dining room. Here's a look at Junction's menu:
Opening just down the street in late May: IdleRye, from the Smoke & Mortar restaurant group, will open at 2826 Elm St. This is the first restaurant for Smoke & Mortar, helmed by Bruce Wills, Daniel Wills, Ray Skradzinski and Tim Porter.
The menu will revolve around classic American burgers and sandwiches but will also "pull from each of the owners’ backgrounds – Skradzinski’s Polish heritage and the Wills brothers’ Louisiana roots – to create rich and colorful food with a global flair."
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IdleRye's menus, which you can see below, tout items like a crispy schnitzel sandwich, curried "lamb balls" and a brunch take on pierogies, the Eastern European potato dumplings that, while becoming increasingly popular in cities like Houston, haven't always been easy to find in Dallas.
The 3,400-square-foot restaurant will have a 900-square-foot patio and a courtyard behind the restaurant with cafe-style seating. The restaurant will launch serving lunch, dinner and brunch, serving food until midnight daily.