Spork, a chef-driven roadside eatery opens tonight in North Dallas. A funky place for burgers, salads, sandwiches, cocktails, shakes and malts (both boozy and virgin), Spork is a fast-casual, design-forward hangout. What started out as a daydream for chef Eric Justice (formerly of Mexican Sugar), has become a reality thanks to a band of spirited restaurateurs including James Beard award-winner chef Tim Byres, creative director Christopher Jeffers, Christopher Zielke and Karen Schultz all of Turn the Tables Hospitality and friends Sean Conner of Pie 2.14, Katherine Clapner of Dude, Sweet Chocolate, and Brad Borchardt of Expanding Palates.
Loosely inspired by the now shuttered Taylor’s Refresher in Napa Valley, Spork’s creative direction spawned from Christopher Jeffers. Jeffers is responsible for some of the city’s most unique spaces including SMOKE Plano, Chicken Scratch, The Foundry, and Bar Belmont in the Belmont Hotel. While the exterior of Spork still resembles the shell of a Sonic Drive-In, the neon has doubled as has the fun. Space-themed murals line the exterior walls and give way to the eatertainment aura that awaits inside. The restaurant has 82 seats inside with 150 seats on the outdoor patio. The patio will open in four weeks, weather permitting, and has a 10-player foosball table, bocce ball court, putting green and ping pong tables. Coeval Studios and Lou-Verne’s Marisa Dukowitz and Christy Black collaborated with Jeffers on the layout and fine-tuning of the design of the space including the deck area, which is situated under the old Sonic burger stand carport.
The menu, curated and directed by Byres, includes American classics with Asian influence and allows Byres to exercise his range from fine dining to fast casual. Melding on the collaboration with Justce’s P.F. Chang’s and Pei Wei background, the menu vibe is “a message from space,” and features an unorthodox mix of fresh, fun and adaptable offerings. Signature items include bulgolgi kimchi fries, pretzel-crusted chicken tenders, and a California Korean dog. Spork will surely be known for the build-your-own burger and sandwich bar. Guests begin with a main (sirloin and brisket burger, buffalo burger, black bean & veggie burger, fresh fish, citrus-brined chicken, hot dog, grilled cheese, smoked bacon or roasted pork carnitas), and build their sandwich from 14 different cheeses and 13 house-made sauces such as banana pepper & hot yellow mustard, tamarind ketchup, lemon dill & tarragon and roasted tomato salsa. Unexpected options include dry cured American ham, red chile & cabbage kimchi, pickled shitake mushrooms, and Hatch green chile & dill pickle relish. All meats are ground in-house daily and all sauces are made from scratch.
“To me, Spork has that great 70s or 80s funky neighborhood garage-bar vibe or the free spirit of the odd independent restaurants we would go to in the summer as a kid on the way to the lake,” says Byres. “It’s an amusing, low-pressure place where everyone can just come and hang out, regardless of age.”
The cocktail menu, curated by Sean Conner, incorporates Sonic’s iconic soda fountain and boasts an array of shakes, malts, draft cocktails, floats, and agua frescas featuring Sonic’s famous crushed ice.
“We’re wanting to offer a place where kids can horse around and adults can sit idly by enjoying a beer,” says Justice. “The name [Spork] epitomizes what we’re going for – it’s a funny, utilitarian name that goes perfectly with the Jetson-like atmosphere. We encourage community meet ups by offering a nightly $2 off wine, beer, and cocktails happy hour from 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. and the same incentive to join in the fun for the hospitality industry beginning at 10 p.m.”
Spork is located at 6110 Frankford Road, Dallas, Texas 75252. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, Monday thru Thursday from 11am to 11pm, and Friday and Saturday from 11am until 12pm, and Sunday brunch is served from 11am until 10pm.