When the Crescent complex opened in Uptown Dallas 30 years ago, the neighborhood was decidedly different. The formerly commercial district has become more residential, and as a consequence, an epicenter for bars and nightlife.
What does that mean for local socialites? In short, new bars and restaurants, and not the type of highfalutin businesses you'd expect to find in an ornate, Renaissance-era looking development that's also home to Stanley Korshak.
The new offerings include Ascension Coffee, Shake Shack, and Moxie's Grill and Bar.
Tuesday, we took a tour of the new spots, some of which are open while others are soon-to-come. Here's what you can look forward to.
Ascension Coffee (now open)
Whether it's coffee, wine, beer or spirits, patrons can find their preferred buzz under one roof at this local business, which opened in May. Ascension at the Crescent is the shop's second location behind the original, which debuted in the Dallas Design District in 2012. Owner Russel Hayward says it's been a long time coming -- he was in talks with the Crescent just six months after opening.
"Initially I said, 'No, not a chance.' Then they showed me the vision project and that was it," Hayward says of the Crescent's long-term plan for development. "It's so beautiful and there's nothing like it in Dallas."
Ascension's new shop inhabits 2,900 square feet facing the interior of the Crescent complex, plus an adjacent patio. The concept remained largely the same -- longtime fans will find espresso drinks made from beans purchased directly from the source, roasted locally and many times blended in-house. Ascension also retained its Kyoto drip coffee systems, which look like something out of a chemistry lab.
After 12 to 16 hours in the drip system, the coffee "tastes like whiskey, brandy, bourbon, all different things," Hayward says.
Hayward learned a few lessons from his first Ascension experience, and changed things accordingly. For example, the kitchen at the Crescent is substantially larger -- food ended up being a corner stone of the shop, he says.
Visitors will also see new additions to the menu, like Pane Aria, a unique sandwich bread that Hayward spent months researching and developing a proprietary recipe for. It's used in Ascension's sandwiches, and he says you won't find it anywhere outside Southern Europe.
Ascension Coffee at the Crescent opens Monday through Friday at 7 a.m., and Saturday and Sunday at 8 a.m. Closing times vary. See our listing for more details.
Shake Shack (coming fall 2016)
[UPDATE Aug. 25 at 10 a.m.: It's official -- Shake Shack opens Sept. 1. Deets.]
Perhaps the biggest talker of the new and improved Crescent is Shake Shack, the no-frills burger and milkshake joint founded in New York. Expected to open in September, Shake Shack will mark the first North Texas location and it's a BFD y'all. (Another is expected summer 2017 at the Legacy West development in Plano.)
Shake Shack's 2,700-square-foot building stands alone near the corner of Pearl Street and McKinney Avenue under 30-year-old live oak trees. It will have indoor and outdoor seating, and plans for the surrounding green space include park-like amenities such as bocce ball.
The design is similar to Shake Shack's original kiosk in Madison Square Park, according to John Zogg, Crescent Real Estate Equities' managing director, but more modern. The exterior is like a mirror, so you can catch a reflection of the Crescent from the back side.
Moxie's Grill and Bar (coming fall 2016)
Shortly after Shake Shack moves into its Uptown digs, Moxie's Grill and Bar will open its first location in America nearby. The Canadian chain, which is owned by Dallas Stars owner Tom Gaglardi, will inhabit the ground-level space formerly Arcodoro and Pomodoro. That restaurant closed in 2014 after 26 years in business.
Zogg pegged Moxie's as a "mid-level, more casual dining experience" for customers. The menu runs the gamut from pizza and pasta to burgers, steaks and sushi. The restaurant is expect to open in late-September or October.
Eater has 10 crazy (if unflattering) things to say about the branches in Canada.