More Cat Cafes Are Coming, And Luscher's And Small Brewpub Are Among America's Best.

Welcome to The Spread, our weekly feature that aims to share all the area restaurant, food and beverage industry news that's fit to print. Except, this is the Internet, so space isn't a concern. Also: Good thing, because this is Dallas and this town always has breaking restaurant news going down like whoa.

Following up on the news of Justin Box's departure from Cafe Momentum, the chef gave us a little more insight this week behind what he considers “the absolutely hardest decision of [his] career.”

Says Box: “It was primarily to focus on my family, and has a lot to do with achieving those short-term goals, but Cafe Momentum and I have a good rapport. I hope that there could be plans to partner up for future endeavors. I'd love to hire the old interns.”

While it was difficult for Box to leave the crew he now considers his family, he assures us: “It's all love.”

Meanwhile, two Dallas restaurants have been nominated as some of America's Best New Restaurants 2015. Small Brewpub and Luscher's Red Hots join the list of 50 nominees nationwide to compete for a spot in the Bon Appétit Hot 10. The winners will be announced Tuesday, August 18.

Speaking of attention-grabbing restaurants, Charming Cat Cafe in Lewisville is looking to gain support by launching a $30 thousand Kickstarter campaign. While the suburban, cat-centric coffee shop isn't the only one planning to come to the region, it's farther along in the planning stages than its competition, as the funds raised will go to building and equipment costs. At this Lewisville one, patrons will be able to enjoy coffee, tea and snacks, with a separate “cat lounge” and adoptable felines located on site. Depending on funding, North Texas could get its first cat cafe within the next couple of months.

In other eccentric concepts, KISS members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley are opening a location of their Rock & Brews restaurant chain in The Colony. Playing on its name, the 9,000-square-foot venue will feature dozens of craft brews, plus dishes like fish tacos and hamburgers. A grand opening is planned for 2016. Per the DMN, that opening will also serve as a benefit for active military personnel and wounded veterans.

More interesting still is the concept coming to East Dallas, where the owners behind Bowlounge are opening a place called The Goat Ranch. The concept combines a driving range with a dive bar and beer garden. Food will be served from a “proprietary food truck,” with offerings similar to the Bowlounge menu.

Elsewhere in East Dallas, the folks behind The Blind Butcher and Goodfriend Beer Garden & Burger House are opening a package store. The store will be something of a convenience store and deli hybrid, with items like sandwiches, meats, cheeses and beer sold to-go. The space on Peavy is currently under construction, with no details on a name or opening date available at this time.

Moving on, yet another option for popsicles has surfaced with the opening of Berrynaked in Inwood Village. The shop uses all natural and organic ingredients, with flavors ranging from basic offerings to healthier options made with chia seeds, all for less than $5 each.

Not a health nut? West Oak Coffee Bar in Denton now offers a mini pie flight. The offer comes with all of the house flavors, with a special surprise pie included.

In craft beer news: The Whole Foods Market slated to hit Uptown next month will be home to an in-store taproom. The store will feature 24 taps of craft beer, wine and coffee, and will be the first to serve Whole Foods' house-brewed beer, Post Oak Pale Ale.

Meanwhile, in the Design District, Noble Rey Brewing Co. is now open and serving beer from its taproom four days a week. The taps will feature a rotating selection from local brewers like Community Beer Co. and Bishop Cider Co., as well as the debut of Noble Rey's own Steampunk lager starting today at 4 p.m. Also cool? The first 50 people to buy a pint receive a free commemorative glass. The taproom is open from 4 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, on Fridays from 4 to 10 p.m. and from noon to 10 p.m. on Saturdays.

Finally this week, some cool news for the budding home brewer: Eastfield College now offers a brewing class. Serious beer geeks with $3,600 to spare can join the six-week, 177-hour course and earn a “Journeyman Brewer Certificate,” learning the skills brewers look for in new employees. The course is supported by local brewing companies such as Rabbit Hole Brewing, Grapevine Craft Brewery, Lakewood Brewing and more. Classes starts August 31.

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