Robotic Food Carts Invade Area Sidewalks, Anthony Bourdain Flips The Bird At John Tesar’s New Restaurant, Graham Dodds Resurfaces and More!
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.
There’s little doubt any longer: The war for our society’s future is definitely being fought on our sidewalks.
Think about it: While we’re already worried about being mowed down by fleets of motorized scooters and having our pathways blocked by hoards of unused bicycles, we now have to add robots to the list of things taking over city sidewalks.
That’s no joke, either. The San Francisco-based company Marble recently announced that it will soon be introducing its automated food cart delivery service to the Metroplex, according to reports.
These ice cream cart-sized bots will operate within a one-mile radius of their participating restaurants, topping out a speeds of around five miles per hour. Humans will be present during the project’s pilot phase, assisting them from no further than 20 feet away.
Already, Dallas City Council has approved a six-month trial period for these robot carts, although some council members have been sure to express concerns over our already overburdened pathways. As a bit of a compromise, the future will begin small, with participating companies are limited to 20 delivery robots each. Experts seem hopeful that, with smaller fleets to track, companies will be able to accrue real-time information and analytics about their successes and failures. In other words? It won’t be anything like the chaotic, structure-less bike program, authorities swear.
Look for the carts to debut around Dallas as soon as November 1.
While food delivery robots battling for space isn’t quite an issue — yet! — a slew of small business owners and caterers have been unexpectedly left without a space after Pilotworks closed its doors. The Brooklyn-based commercial kitchen company shut down all of its locations after failing to secure enough money to continue operations, GuideLive reports. The former Le Cordon Bleu space provided a home for many minority- and women-owned catering businesses, who were given as little as five days to remove their equipment and find new locations for ongoing ventures.
Meanwhile, a former Ace Hardware out in Desoto has been converted into an incubation space for black-owned businesses. Grow DeSoto Market Place debuted this past weekend, providing a space for local entrepreneurs to share their food, retail and other creative ventures with the community.
In other positive news, the team behind Bonton Farms is continuing its fight against South Dallas turning into a food desert by opening its long-anticipated market and cafe, which organizers hope, beyond being a place where residents can buy local produce, will also become something of a community center. The below documentary on the subject has more insights on this cool project.
Out in Plano, on the other hand, John Tesar plans to immortalize his late friend and culinary legend Anthony Bourdain at his new Knife Steakhouse outpost. Eater tells us that the chef has posted a drawn-from-life mural of Bourdain flipping the bird that will be an installation at the recently opened Shops At Willowbend restaurant. (The two chefs worked together for a stint during the early stages of their careers, and the mural is a way for Tesar to honor their friendship.)
Back in Downtown Dallas, The Statler now offers a property-wide happy hour. Mondays through Fridays from 4 to 6 p.m., all food and drinks are half-off at Fine China, Bourbon & Banter, Scout, Waterproof and Overeasy. These offerings come not long after executive culinary director Graham Dodds parted ways with the hotel, but who are we to judge a happy hour special?
Speaking of Graham Dodds: The farm-to-table chef is resurfacing later this month for a pop-up at Urbano Café on Monday, October 29. The event features a four-course meal with hors d’oeuvres for $75 a head, and a BYOB option. The menu will center around a European-meets-Southwestern theme, with a local emphasis.
In some coffee-related news: Denton stalwart Jupiter House plans to return to The Square early next year. The North Locust Street coffee shop was out of commission due to a fire that hit the Downtown Mini Mall next door around Christmas of last year. The shop was slated to open a few weeks after the fire, but it had to undergo extensive unexpected renovations to repair the damages, according to Eater. Look for an opening in January.
Shifting focus over to Carrollton, the third-party coffee supply company Parks Coffee has opened its first retail space. The shop allows visitors to get a behind-the-scenes look at the services it provides, such as into its roasting facility. The space also serves a range of espresso drinks, cold brew and cafe bites. Hours run daily from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Finally, let’s end off with some craft beer news, Deep Ellum Brewing Co. is re-releasing its Barrel-Aged Four Swords Belgian-Style Quad. The 10.5-percent ABV specialty brew will be available on draft and in 22-ounce bottles starting this Friday, October 26.