A rendering of forthcoming restaurant and bar Royal 38

A rendering of forthcoming restaurant and bar Royal 38

Courtesy photo

So you're running/walking/biking down the Katy Trail in Dallas and feeling good about the workout you've done. So proud, you could reward yourself with a cocktail. And why not? You deserve it.

Soon there will be a new watering hole to satisfy your post-workout indulgence. Royal 38, a restaurant and cocktail lounge, is set to open in spring 2016 off the Katy Trail at Fitzhugh Avenue.

The restaurant is the brainchild of Mike Backlund, a retired technology executive who's been looking to jump into hospitality for several years. And he has big plans for the 3,700-square-foot space that will soon be Royal 38. Backlund worked with chef consultant Scott Gilkey for the last year-and-a-half to devise an upscale menu of American eats that focuses on shared plates.

"We're trying to establish a place where people go to socialize," Backlund says.

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In addition to appetizers such as fried chicken skins, charcuterie and braised veal cheeks, Royal 38 will have a list of sourdough toasts that come dressed with the chef's flavors of the week. Most shareables will be priced $10-$12, Backlund says -- he's going for refined but approachable. 

Same goes to the drink menu; Royal 38 won't be a beer place. Instead beverage director and sommelier Scott Jenkins will select a list of more than a dozen wines to be available on tap in addition to 30 cocktails. 

With a two-story building housing two bars, a dining area, lounge area and spacious patio, Backlund is trying to create an intimate atmosphere for friends and family to connect. That's also why Royal 38 won't have any televisions or live music. He calls it more of a "social environment."

Despite the upscale touches -- ahem, marble bar tops -- Backlund hopes Royal 38 will be a comfortable spot for those dipping in directly from the Katy Trail with their bikes and dogs. No dress code enforced, he promises.

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