Josh Florence has long been a live music curator in Dallas. As the owner of City Tavern, he's brought tunes to downtown for the last decade, and as co-owner of Club Dada, Off The Record bar and record store, and HomeGrown Music Festival, he's stretched his footprint throughout Deep Ellum.
So when Florence and partners Phil Coward, Bryan Austin and Tim Daniels were discussing their next venture, they decided to branch out. The four-piece is set to debut a European-inspired restaurant deemed Independent Bar and Kitchen this spring, and they're not going far -- just down Main Street in Deep Ellum to the space formerly Pepe's Ranch.
[UPDATE April 25 at 1:27 p.m.: Eater Dallas reports Independent Bar and Kitchen opened over the weekend.]
"One thing it's going to offer is an elevated version of bar food," Florence says, which is different than his other spots.
Think "European-inspired comfort food," he adds, such as Sheppard's Pie, bangers and mash, rabbit with pappardelle. There will also be traditional pub fare, such as burgers and sandwiches, for those who want to eat American.
Local foodies will be excited to hear chef Andrew Dilda, formerly of Barter, the Reata and Woodshed, is directing the kitchen.
The European theme also extends to libations. Independent Bar and Kitchen will have 20 draft taps alongside about 100 bottles of beer, featuring suds from across the pond as well as local and national favorites. Florence is also looking forward to elevating his cocktail game with the help of a yet-to-be-disclosed beverage director.
Once you grab a drink, where do you sit? The 5,000-square-foot space fits a comfortable 150 patrons between the dining room, bar, patio and "what we're referring to as a 'back room,'" says Florence, which houses a small stage for live music and may also double as a private event space in the future. And, no, he doesn't plan to charge a cover.
If you're wondering where the name comes from, it's pretty straight forward: "You don't get any more independent business owners than we are," says Florence, who started in the hospitality industry as a dishwasher. This is "not a big, flashy, corporate kind of place," he says. And if you had to peg one Dallas neighborhood that embodies that vibe, there's no better choice than Deep Ellum.
"It has in the last two years just exploded down there in such an exciting way," Florence says. "We're really happy that we're going to be part of the landscape."
Independent Bar and Kitchen will open this spring for dinner only, from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. seven days a week. Shortly thereafter, it will open for lunch and brunch.