Here is the latest restaurant to open in the Henderson area. This space was formerly Fish City Grill and is a few doors down from Veritas. The press release says it all. Photos courtesy of Kevin Marple.
Dallas’ newest restaurant created by husband and wife duo, Allison Yoder and Stephen Rogers will open December 26th 2013 for dinner. Located at 2323 Henderson Avenue, Gemma promises to offer a fresh and modern American seasonal menu with ethnic influences in a welcoming and comfortable setting.
Allison Yoder will act as general manager, while her chef husband Stephen Rogers will run the kitchen. Rogers says his food is “simple, uncomplicated, rustic but refined”. He manipulates recipes from all different regions and countries around the globe to bring a simple yet boldly flavorful experience. Taking inspiration from Asian, Italian, Mediterranean, French cultures and more, Rogers says, “ I am not trying to reinvent the wheel. I want to showcase the ingredients of my recipes and deliver a product that our guests will crave.” Rogers purchases his proteins and veggies from small American farmers and producers and works a great deal with vegetables as an accompaniment.
Meanwhile, Yoder will work the front of house in this intimate restaurant with 55 seats inside and 30 for the patio. She explains, “ I want to create that special neighborhood environment for our guests. One of my favorite things about this business is the people I get to meet. I look forward to building a small community of guests and friends through Stephen’s cooking and my nightly presence in the front.”
Yoder painstakingly created the wine list that she says is, “an international list with friendly markups. It’s a very balanced list with old world and new world… something for everyone.” The cocktails, like the food menu, are seasonal, simple, fresh and classic. Twenty bottled beers are available in a mix of local and craft selections.
Gemma will offer a late night “supper menu” for the times of 10pm – 1am every night. Yoder and Rogers feel it important to offer a fine dining option for guests interested in a late-night dining experience that is hard to find in Dallas.
Inspired by the Hamptons, the design combines new and old elements. Specially made wood “farmhouse” tables and blue-gray painted wood chairs fill the dining room among comfortable banquette seating along the west side perimeter wall. Three large mirrors hang slightly slanted above the banquettes, while solid dark wood beams on the ceiling help create warmth. The bar is solid white with a grey marble counter.
Richard Graff, who most recently held the executive chef position at Cook Hall, will act as executive sous chef. Graff graduated from El Centro College’s culinary school and immediately began working for George Restaurant as a prep and line cook but also assisted with menu development. He then moved on to work at Tom Colicchio’s renowned restaurant, Craft, here in Dallas. During his 6-year tenure, Graff advanced from chef de partie to sous chef and then to catering chef, before Craft shuttered and he was named executive chef of Cook Hall (the restaurant that replaced Craft inside the W Dallas-Victory Hotel.
Michael Lawson, sous chef, moved to New York from Texas, with his wife Emery to follow his passion for cooking, and attended The Culinary Institute of America. While there, he had the opportunity to intern at the famed Eleven Madison Park under chef Daniel Humm. After graduating from Culinary Institute of America, Michael stayed on as a teaching assistant at Caterina Di Medici, the Italian restaurant on the CIA campus. The couple later moved to Las Vegas where Michael worked at several casinos and restaurants, most notably in the front of the house at China Poblano and as a sous chef for Mario Batali at B&B Ristorante. But Texas was always calling and with the birth of their second child, Michael and his wife decided to move back to be closer to family and joined the team at Gemma.
Stephanie Childress, pastry chef for Gemma, was raised in Kerrville, Texas. Childress moved to New York to attend The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park where she earned both Associate and Bachelor degrees. After graduation, Childress moved to Las Vegas where she worked as pastry sous chef for Mario Batali’s B&B, Enoteca and Otto. She most recently served as pastry chef tournant for the Michelin Star, Forbes Four Star-rated Bradley Ogden in Las Vegas.
Sabrina Snodderly will act as sommelier and assisted Yoder on the wine list.
The couple recently moved from California to Dallas (Rogers grew up in Dallas), where they both worked at one of Napa Valley’s top dining destinations, PRESS. Rogers was executive chef. Yoder was general manager. Customers lauded the food and service. San Francisco’s esteemed food critic Michael Bauer gave the restaurant three out of four stars – twice – and called it “…the perfect marriage between food and wine.” For an encore, she and Rogers decided it was time to go solo, and open their own restaurant. In Latin, gemma means the bud of a plant; in Italian, “the precious one.”
“It’s our first restaurant, and we want it to be a little gem,” Yoder says.
Check out the menu: Gemma Dinner Menu