The French Room, one of Dallas' most elegant restaurants, is closing until late 2016 or early 2017. It will host its last supper, for now, on Saturday, June 11.
Skeptics, know this: Its staff is "100 percent sure" the French Room will reopen once renovations are complete, says Tony Cournia, general manager of food & beverage operations at the Adolphus Hotel.
CultureMap reported the closure first.
The French Room is located inside the more-than-100-year-old Adolphus Hotel. A multimillion-dollar face lift to the historic Adolphus will result in hotel room makeovers; a redone ballroom on the 19th floor; new spa and fitness centers; and aesthetic upgrades to the French Room.
The French Room is "one of Dallas' greatest treasures," Dallas Morning News restaurant critic Leslie Brenner wrote in 2010. The gorgeous, gold-ceilinged space is a popular spot for anniversaries and celebrations, and it's one of the city's most upscale dining rooms. Unlike many other restaurants in town, the French Room still has a dress code.
After the French Room closes for at least half a year, it will reopen as a glitzier, but not entirely different, restaurant.
"The room will not undergo a lot of physical transformations," Cournia says. It will get new china and silver, new drapes and new paint. Structurally, however, the French Room will remain the restaurant Dallas diners have known for decades.
The reason the French Room is undergoing slight changes yet remaining closed until late 2016 or early 2017 is because other parts of the Adolphus Hotel's lobby will be renovated at the same time. Hotel executives do not want to reopen the French Room if the journey to the restaurant would be marked by temporary walls or other unfinished construction. That would not be the quintessential French Room experience, Cournia says.
All French Room chefs and servers have been offered positions within the hotel while the French Room is closed. Some have chosen to take a hiatus and return when the French Room will reopen; others may not return. It's unclear if current executive chef Marcos Segovia will return to his post, though he's been given the opportunity to, Cournia says.
The French Room will likely add some "tableside flourishes" such as cocktails mixed in front of guests when it reopens.
The menu will likely be updated but not overhauled.
Other restaurant and bar changes coming to the Adolphus Hotel:
- The existing bistro will be redone completely as a Mediterranean-style restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. It will have a new name that hasn't been decided yet.
- After the renovation, diners won't have to spend three hours to have a French Room experience. The French Room Bar and its adjoining salon will serve a menu of eight or so items that are "derivatives of the French Room," Cournia explains. It might take 45 minutes for dinner and cocktails instead of the several-hour commitment inside the fancier French Room.
- The Adolphus Hotel will eventually be home to a barber shop and a coffee shop. The coffee shop -- "a European-inspired coffee bar with sweet and savory grab-and-go items," Cournia says -- is expected to be open in spring or summer 2017.
In a three-star restaurant review of the French Room in 2010, Brenner challenged the staff to dream up a "more gastronomically engaging" menu, whether that meant classic French or something more cutting-edge. It's unclear if the French Room's menu will reflect a new vision -- and certainly it might also depend on whether the restaurant has a new chef.
Cournia used words like warm, gracious, intuitive and interactive to describe the reinvented French Room.
The Adolphus Hotel's renovations are expected to be completed in mid 2017. The French Room will likely reopen in an earlier phase, in late 2016 or early 2017, Cournia says.