March 25, 2017

New Friends

Design District, meet Wheelhouse. You’re going to love each other.  

Tucked away in Dallas’ Decorative Center (but visible from Oak Lawn Avenue), Wheelhouse is a new take on the modern pub. You may have seen the art unveiling at this week’s MTV RE:DEFINE patron preview. Now the doors are officially open. (A word about those doors, and worth remembering on pretty days: They run floor-to-ceiling and open, guillotine-style, onto an outdoor pavilion known as Center Court. The pulley-and-chain system is operated by massive wheels that give the restaurant hits name.)

The menu reflects its creators’ appreciation for pub fare, but their homage raises the bar. Classics like pretzels with Shiner mustard and smoked pork kielbasas are all made in house. Pastrami pork ribs are served with a kimchi slaw. We’d be remiss to discuss any menu without evaluating its burger. At Wheelhouse, The Standard is made with 44 Farms dry-aged beef, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, spiced pickles—all on a house-made sesame seed bun. It instantly earned a spot on our personal “Best Burger’ list.

Wheelhouse surprises with its lighter fare. A crudité plate with veggies from Comeback Creek Farms is served on ice with roasted tomato hummus and green goddess dressing. The soy-marinated yellowfin poke bowl features avocado, pickled shiitake mushrooms, and julienned veggies on a bed of brown rice. They’re delicate and unexpected offerings from a place with beers on tap and big screens for watching the game.

The drink menu is also diverse. Cocktails range from the spicy, verdant Kickstarter to a gin-spiked strawberry refresher named Sweet Relief. Many feel right for day-drinking, making Wheelhouse a good place for a Saturday lunch that lingers into evening. That said, it’ll be open late—a spot to congregate after gallery openings or get a nightcap following a show at American Airlines Center. It’s easy to imagine reasons to hang out.

 Two more restaurants—Sassetta and Go Go—will join Wheelhouse on Center Court in the next few months. All three are from Headington Companies, the team spurring the downtown dining scene with CBD Provisions, Americano, and Mirador. Good company to be in.

The Details: Wheelhouse is now open for lunch, dinner, and brunch. 1617 Hi Line Drive. For more, visit the site and follow @wheelhouse_dallas on Instagram.