Openings and Closings

The Commisary's John Tesar on a Few New Restaurants and One Double-Decker Burger Bus

Last week we got word of John Tesar's trifecta of plans for 2012.

First, he's sold his share of The Commissary to co-owner Lucy Billingsley and plans to open other two other independent Commissaries; one at Northwest Highway and Midway and the other in cowtown at the Museum Place.

Then, in April he'll be operating a London-style double-decker bus, which will serve hamburgers and street fare. The "Burger Bus" has a second floor lounge and, obviously, can be in a different place every day. Imagine the permit process for that. (If there isn't one, give'm time. Some one is probably writing a new code right now.)

And finally, he's opening a new spot called Spoon Bar & Kitchen in the former 24-Hour Fitness spot on Westchester Drive and Luther Blvd in Preston Center. It's scheduled to open in July and will be a modern American bistro in a neighborhood setting with a menu that is half land and half sea.

Tesar feels like there's a gap in our landlocked seafood market and, being from the east coast, is ready to tap into it. Spoon will have a raw bar built into it, with seasonal oysters, shellfish, crudos and other sustainable fish cuts from around the world.

"It's going to have things that you can't find anywhere in Dallas," Tesar told me last week. "The Spoon is a neighborhood restaurant that will be hopefully busy every night, and small and personal enough to maintain and something that Dallas hasn't seen yet."

In terms of the new Commissaries, Tesar is ready for a fresh start outside of One Arts Plaza, where he said a sporadic crowd and tight space were at times confining.

"It took us nine months, but we've figured it out," Tesar said. "We're building these new spaces from scratch since we've learned a little about the logistics of it. And the desire for the hamburger in Dallas is there, it might be a little overexposed, but we do it differently."

Moving forward, Tesar looks to customize each of his new spots specific to the neighborhoods they're in.

"I have no desire to own 25 restaurants," he said. "When I tell people I want to own more Commissaries, I don't want them to think it's like In-and-Out Burger all of a sudden. It's really all about the hamburger and fine wine experience and each one will change with the neighborhood. That and one boutique restaurant [Spoon] are really my aspirations right now."

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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.