Downtown Dallas dwellers and workers often lament the lack of interesting, affordable lunch options on the south end of the Central Business District. There's Subway, McDonald's, another Subway ... you get the idea.
When large events kick off at Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, like the 27,000-person Mary Kay Convention, the demand skyrockets. The three existing restaurants at the city-owned Omni Dallas hotel nearby aren't enough.
Plus, travelers like options. Hotels in Las Vegas have helped set a standard for what vacation can look like: a foodie's paradise, with a variety of restaurants a few steps from the elevator. The Omni Dallas has been able to attract those "leisure travelers," explains Ed Netzhammer, general manager at the 1,000-room Omni Dallas. But they want options.
The first of four coming-soon restaurants, Biergarten on Lamar, opened Nov. 2.
[UPDATE: The Biergarten was slated to open Oct. 27, but the owner pushed the opening date back to Nov. 2.]
Dallas restaurateur Joseph Palladino jumped at the chance to nab two of the four restaurant spaces. Palladino is co-owner of Dallas restaurants Coal Vines, Nick & Sam's Grill and Nick & Sam's Steakhouse.
His Biergarten on Lamar is a new concept he's been planning for two years. It's part German restaurant, part bar, with a 190-person wraparound patio that looks out toward downtown.
Walking in, patrons will see "Hallo schatz" -- that's "Hello, darling" in German. On the way out, it's "Gute nacht schatz," or "Goodnight, darling."
The decor goes big on the German theme, with a 40-foot Bavarian flag hanging from the ceiling and 32-ounce steins of beer.
Expect some "kitchen theater," too, as is common in Palladino's restaurants. Patrons can watch chefs make their corned beef brisket and wurst sausage sandwiches inside a glass-walled kitchen in the middle of the room. Chefs are prepared to dodge bouncing ping pong balls from the nearby tables. (It's expected to be a spirited place.)
Sandwiches will cost about $10-$12 and will be ordered at the counter during lunch to get conventioneers and local workers in and out quickly.
Some of the other menu items include bratwurst, knockwurst, hot pastrami, and a Philly cheesesteak on a baked pretzel. Palladino hopes to debut a "brat cart" on the patio: similar to a hot dog cart but for quick German food.
Opening next at the Omni: pizza joint Coal Vines.
Then: sushi restaurant Little Katana and Herrera's Tex-Mex.
At Coal Vines, patrons will be able to order personal-sized pizzas from quick, order-at-the-counter service. Coal Vines is expected to open in November; Little Katana could open around the same time.
[UPDATE at 11:50 a.m. Nov. 30: Coal Vines will no longer open Nov. 30. No new opening date has been set yet.]
All four restaurants are expected to be open by December, Netzhammer says.
Biergarten on Lamar: Open for lunch and dinner, 7 days a week, beginning Oct. 27. The bar will remain open until 2 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Located in front of Omni Dallas, 665 S. Lamar St., Suite 1, Dallas. biergartenonlamar.com.
Karen Robinson-Jacobs contributed to this story.