Once upon a time, Tristan Simon bought up the Barley House location, sketched out plans for a casual drinking spot serving pub fare called The Porch and set an opening date sometime toward the end of this year. But the usual delays kicked in, giving the Henderson Avenue impresario more time to ponder things. Now he's hired a well-known local chef--official announcement soon--and reinvented The Porch as an urban brasserie. In restaurateur parlance, that translates to a "casually upscale" (whatever that means) venue. When completed in April, the place will seat 200 and offer two patios and one large bar emphasizing traditional cocktails. Why the change from a beer garden to a new foodie venue? Well, Simon explains, "our concepts often finish at a different place than they started." In other words, he's turned a penchant for market research and a willingness to play it by ear into six establishments expected to generate $20 million in revenue annually. The Porch will be Simon's last venture on Henderson Avenue. His operation, Consilient Restaurants, already runs Cuba Libre, Hibiscus, Sense, Candle Room and Fireside Pies. Doesn't mean he's finished, though. A second Fireside Pies is set to open amidst the Shops at Legacy in Plano this spring, followed by a Highland Park location. He also has designs for a place in Grapevine.

Pyling it on: Stephan Pyles' namesake restaurant opens November 22. It's a gorgeous space on Ross Avenue with three dining rooms, a terrace, a wine room, ceviche bar, etc. He promises "a dining experience that Dallas has never seen." We're guessing either family-style Uzbek cuisine (mmm, that's good yak) or wildly original global fusion... Zubar hosts another art show November 30 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., this time featuring the work of native Texan and former model Renea Menzies...Speaking of Lower Greenville, Whisky Bar and Stout team up for something called Gobblepalooza November 23. Probably some sort of drinking binge with a holiday theme... Tim Tremoni, formerly of Al Biernat's, is the new front man for the after-hours club Seven...Now speaking of clubs, Willie Trimmer is expanding the 12 Inch Pimps Web site to include daily broadcasts of DJ driven sounds... Cool charity event: Celebrity Waiter Dinner benefiting the local Muscular Dystrophy Association. Takes place November 19 at the Frontiers of Flight Museum.

Cat sup: Wanna try something different? Order the catfish bites at Old Republic. Five bucks gets you four hunks of fried mud dweller set on cabbage and a wonton chip. There's an intense rush of several flavors, followed by saltiness and, finally, the soft, spicy kick of cucumber salsa. Not bad for bar food.

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Dave Faries
Contact: Dave Faries

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