Shine your shoes for the opening of Horne & Dekker tomorrow at 4 p.m. on the button. Featuring a casual, contemporary atmosphere, this new Dallas resto will showcase gourmet comfort food, classic cocktails and an indoor-outdoor environment complete with a patio overlooking bustling Henderson Avenue. Sounds hot!
But wait a minute.
Fancy comfort food? On Henderson Avenue? With a primo patio? Sounds a lot like this place. Or this place. Or even this (other) hot place that just opened a branch up the street. Before you cry "Been there, done that," though, let’s dig a little deeper into the Horne & Dekker concept.
We sat down with the restaurant’s namesakes last Friday, just hours before a giant preview dinner for friends and family members. Here’s what we managed to make out over the din of a full house of staffers readying for the event.
The first half of the team behind Horne & Dekker is a name well-known to Dallas dining aficionados. Shawn Horne, most recently of DISH, boasts a resume that reads like a who’s who of our local restaurant scene. He’s managed and consulted for the likes of Stephan Pyles, Kent Rathbun and Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck, just to name a few.
H&D marks Horne’s ninth area restaurant opening. Of the new concept, the notoriously outspoken host asserts, “This is a culmination of my career here in Dallas, Texas.”
The second half of the dynamic duo may not be as familiar to foodies, but he’s arguably the ideal yin to Horne’s yang. Or something like that.
Flynn Dekker, a native of the Midwest with a soft spot for North Texas, brings a big-business marketing background to the table. And we do mean big - think Blockbuster, FedEx/Kinko’s and EMI Music Distribution. No stranger to the restaurant game as well, Dekker’s just off a gig as Chief Marketing Officer for Brazilian steak house concept Fogo de Chão.
Given this impressive pedigree, we have to wonder whether it was Dekker’s doing that so many of the elements at H&D are comfortingly familiar. Like a strategic ad campaign engineered to evoke the ideal combination of nostalgia and individuality, this restaurant blends old and new just so.
Dishes straight from Horne’s late, great Kitchen 1924 in Lakewood will be resurrected, for starters. Add to those a “Grape & Grub” chef’s menu concept, which pays homage to the famed “Feed Me, Wine Me” dinners at The Green Room, another of Horne’s old haunts.
Toss in the fact that the restaurant’s very space is little changed from its most recent occupant, Urbino Pizza e Pasta, and you’ve got yourself something new. But not too new. And that’s not such a bad thing.
As Horne puts it, “In this economy, people are looking for more things they can identify with, especially when they go out to spend any kind of revenue they may have. …We are truly trying to…make people feel right at home, not only with our food, but with the education of our wine lists, with our beers.”
Dekker adds that the pair hopes to “expand people’s horizons, but start with the basics they’re familiar with.”
Considering the fact that we know more than a few folks who would sell their firstborns for another plate of Kitchen’s famed deviled eggs, this could be quite a meal ticket, indeed. A version of those picnic staples will be on the menu, as well as crowd-pleasers like Dr. Pepper Braised Pork Shoulder, “Big Fat” Ribeye Steaks and Cedar Plank Salmon. Rounding out the lineup of familiar faves are several kinds of wood-fired pizzas.
All this will be served by highly-trained staffers in retro plaid camp shirts, atop tables decorated in Horne & Dekker “brand” canned veggies. Down home chic, indeed.
Horne & Dekker debuts Tuesday, June 22nd at 4 p.m. at 2323 N. Henderson Avenue, Suite 102, Dallas. Open only in the evening for now, the restaurant plans to introduce a Sunday Hangover Brunch in the future. For more information, visit HorneandDekker.com.