By Steven Doyle
Photos by Robert Bostick
Common Table received a lot of love from us this week and for a good reason. This little gastro-pub located on Fairmount at the old Lola location has done more than their fair share of changes as of late. Least of which is installing a new chef with some amazing credentials. Twomey Concepts has been busy and we like what we see.
Twomey has literally cleaned house by selling off Plano’s Loft 610 and are close to opening their latest concept Marquee that will be located in the Highland Park Village. Tre Wilcox will oversee the culinary program and Jason Kosmas (formerly of Bolsa) will tend to the very special beverage program. Both are busily hiring and planning their own special magic for Marquee.
Meanwhile, the very affable Common Table is about to celebrate their very successful first year in business and plan to do so with some bravado. Among those that enjoy great cocktails and even better beer, Common Table has become a term of endearment. There are a few features that local beer aficionados might want in the tiny pub. Perhaps it would be desirable to have a larger selection of beer and the addition of casks. Perhaps the food could be a little better and more consistent. But for the locals that can be found surrounding the bar and filling the tables each night Common Table has seen clear of these minor obstacles with charm and great service. Besides, we feel Common Table has done a really nice job of rotating in some fine beers with the assistance of their on-staff cicerone, Jeff Fryman.
That is until now. As part of an ambitious project Common Table will extend their patio and provide better parking. They have also hired a James Beard House recognized chef in Mike Smith.
“I grew up in a restaurant family and have always been around this industry. In ‘94 I was hired at the original Green Room to work behind the bar but it wasn’t long before I was invited to work in that kitchen as sous chef,” said Smith recently.
From there the self-taught chef made quite a name for himself working next at Arcodoro & Pomodoro, then as one of the owners of Thomas Avenue Beverage Company [TABC] and across the street 2900 where the chef received plenty of accolades including four stars, a great Zagat rating and an invitation to the James Beard House.
How Smith became chef at Common Table seems magical, especially for the owners who feel they made a major score in the chef. Smith agrees saying, “I really love this this place and I actually am eager to come to work each day.”
We already love what Smith has done with the kitchen (which will also get a make-over soon). Most of the menu items have been jacked up to suit the taste of the new chef, plus he has been adding new items including incredible daily specials. Their Sunday brunch has already boosted its following with its Creole-influenced menu.
The bar is also getting a fresh coat of paint as Common Table decides how to escalate their cocktail program. It should be noted that Jason Kosmas has been seen behind the bar there recently.
Common Table seems to be getting the love and attention it deserves and for a great reason: they deserve as much as they get.