This is just speculation on my part but it may be something a lot like Denver's Cucina Colore. A couple months ago, I got an email wondering if I had any opinions on how the Heights would react to a new restaurant going in to the "dry area" around 19th. Of course, I have opinions but aside from my own, I asked around. I would say 90% of the people I spoke with were very open, some even excited about the idea. I passed this information on and then just a couple months later, I find the TABC permit for a private club in the very window that was asked about: the former Grateful Images building at 1801 Yale.
Grateful Images was one of my 1st company profiles and they will always have a special place in my heart for that (cue sentimental music
), but I am excited that there will be a restaurant in this location. I think the Cucina Colore concept could be a good one in this space. It sort of reminds me of what California Pizza Kitchen would be like if it was actually any good (Disclaimer: I take my kids to CPK a lot).
Again, this is total speculation on my part. Emails to the possible business owner have not been returned and, frankly, I am no good at researching TABC licenses. But if anyone else is, Club Down House is the applicant for the Private Club License. Let us know what you find out!
For anyone wondering the how and why of the Private Club and dry area, here is a very simple explaination: You can serve alcohol in the dry section of the Heights (or anywhere) if you are a private club. Patrons have to become "members" to order adult beverages. If you've ever been to Shade and had a cocktail or wine, you know how this goes. They ask for your ID and ring it up in some little TABC machine and viola, you are a member. There is no cost (at least not if the establishment is smart) and you are a member for some period of time, probably a year. That's all.
People like to complain that it's too hard to be a "private club" and that no restaurants will ever open where it's dry. Well, we have plenty of BYOB establishments that prove it doesn't necessarily take liquor sales to make a successful eatery. Also, one of the biggest "restaurant rows" in Dallas is in a dry area. Oh, and there is that little place Shade that I mentioned, which does pretty well.
I am strongly in favor of keeping the dry area as such, but I think if we have a few people who are willing to go the private club route, the 19th Street area can use more businesses that attract an evening crowd to the vicinity. Otherwise, it's plenty wet up and down Studewood.