Sharon Van Meter recently closed the doors at the Milestone Culinary Arts Center located on McKinney just south of Knox. The multi-purpose kitchen and event venue has hosted hundreds if not thousands of wonderful parties and charity events over the years. But do not feel sad for Chef Van Meter as she is outing the final touches on her new vision which will be located in Trinity Groves located in West Dallas just across the new Santiago Calatrava-designed bridge that was formerly said to be the bridge to nowhere.
No doubt restaurateur Phil Romano giggled to himself when he heard that this would be a bridge to nowhere as he quietly snapped up all the not-so-prime real estate by the acre and is quickly turning into a virtual culinary Disneyland that will be replete with dozens of incubator restaurants, retail shops a concert venue and so much more.
Van Meter was quick to jump aboard what will soon prove to be one of the most exciting areas for Dallas as tenants jump aboard. Van Meter is already a busy woman, running the production company for the Food Network with her company called Svm Productions.
The feisty chef studied at the Cordon Bleu in France when there were few women, if any. It was a challenge to exercise her way through the cooking school, but her talent and determination carried her through. This is probably the same determination that took her to the 1972 Olympics in Munich where she represented the United States in gymnastics. She has also commanded kitchens world-wide.
Van Meter gave craveDFW an exclusive walk through of the new venue that will be ready for its first party August 17, 2012. As we walked through there was plenty of concrete and wiring exposed, but Van Meter insists that although it will not be 100% operational, the party will be not know the difference.
In addition to the giant 5,000 square foot venue Van Meter has a little chunk of an adjacent building that will feature a bar and restaurant.
The restaurant is called the Beignet Bridge Club. “The Bridge Club is going to feature French beignets. It will be breakfast and light lunch featuring fresh country French. It is part of a vision I had in Chicago years ago,’ said Van Meter.
Immediately adjacent to Van Meters space will be a clubby bar called The Sanctuary owned by first timer Brigdon Fair who first met Van Meter at the bridge opening. The two hit it off so well she convinced Fair into opening the space.
“The Sanctuary will be kind of like a high end hotel lobby that has a bar and food. All the art work on the walls will be for sale. It will be high end contemporary art,” said Fair.
Look for The Sanctuary to open closer to the end of the year.
Van Meter continued to walk us through the property and was truly excited as she pointed out unique features of the building. The massive building where the restaurants, shops and an amphitheater are located (across from Van Meter’s culinary center) features a massive concrete slab that will act as a giant patio for the restaurants. Phil Romano saw the space and ordered it to be even larger, adding at least one-third to the patio. The area is definitely meant to entertain extremely large crowds.
Just across the street there are a few houses and a bus station that will be demolished to make way for a city park and is the very beginning of the Katy Trail. The Continental Bridge will be turned into a pedestrian bridge, giving access to cyclists wanting to cross over for a day of fun in Trinity Groves.
Even with the light demolitions, Trinity Groves is staying true to the original architecture and neighborhood. The master plan is not to create another strip center full of the usual suspects. No chains of any sort will be allowed, only original concepts.
Across the road is another giant venue which will house Babb Brother BBQ and Blues. The enormous restaurant will also house another party venue for concerts.
We will continue to monitor the spaces in Trinity Groves giving up-to-the-minute reports as leases are signed.