Hillside Tavern is one of those neighborhood spots that feels like it's been there for ages.
"There's a little bit of Dallas history in here," says Bradley Anderson, a practicing lawyer and restaurateur who is opening Hillside Tavern with his brother, Brooks Anderson, also a practicing lawyer and restaurateur, and chef Nathan Tate.
The tables at Hillside Tavern came from FT33, the now-shuttered Design District restaurant from chef Matt McCallister. And some of the chairs are from Smoke Plano, chef Tim Byres' former spot.
But Hillside Tavern, located at Mockingbird Lane and Abrams Road in Lakewood, hasn't been there for ages. It opens Monday, April 8 at 4 p.m.
The restaurant will feature a menu designed by Tate, with items like a burger, a patty melt, a muffaletta and more. Its owners hope Hillside Tavern feels like a casual neighborhood bar. Drinks include 12 beers on tap, mostly from Texas; wines by the glass and bottle; and 20 to 30 beers in bottles or cans. Anyone who just wants to watch a game on one of the five TVs and drink Miller Lite (or Coors or Bud) will find a cold supply, and no side-eye from the bartender, says General Manager Craig Spavadove.
He has worked at Blind Butcher, HG Sply Co, Avanti and more. His cocktail menu at Hillside features plenty of classics, like the simple, bright Bee's Knees: gin, lemon and honey syrup.
There's a Ms. Pac-Man tabletop in one corner, and the Andersons plan to hang a dart board soon. The bar is dressed with copper light fixtures, a cow skull and a taxidermied African wildebeest wearing a straw hat. They aren't collecting dust since they were hung only a few days ago, but some are slightly askew, like wall hangings tend to do at watering holes with history.
"Nothing here is manufactured," says Alexa Conomos, the former WFAA-TV anchor and wife of Bradley. She points to the dozens of photos on the wall, showing family members, employees' families and patrons of the Andersons' other businesses. The Andersons also operate Veritas Wine Room on Henderson Avenue; Boulevardier in the Bishop Arts District; and Rapscallion on Lower Greenville. "Everything here is completely unique," Conomos says, "and really personal." Her grandfather is in one of the black-and-white photos, smiling inside a restaurant in Pittsburgh.
Hillside Tavern fills a void for a beer joint after Lakewood's First & 10 closed earlier this year. (Although, Lakewood Growler is located nearby, across Mockingbird Lane.) Hillside Tavern joins existing restaurants in Hillside Village such as Manny's Uptown Tex Mex, Olivella's Neo Pizza Napoletana and Dream Cafe, plus White Rock Coffee.
Eventually, Hillside Tavern will serve patrons on the patio, but they haven't finished that part yet. Ditto brunch: It's coming, once the chefs feel ready.
The Andersons say kids are welcome, and Tate has created a kids' menu — though it's also a drinking spot for the 21-and-up crowd. Come as you are, they say:
"Go do Pilates, go do yoga and come on in," Brooks says of two businesses within walking distance of Hillside Tavern. "You don't have to change. We're a super neighborhood spot. We're here for Lakewood."
Hillside Tavern is located at 6465 E. Mockingbird Lane, Dallas. It's open seven days a week, starting April 8, 2019, and opens at 4 p.m.