Chef Aaron Staudenmaier, a local chef with 25+ years in the food and beverage industry has been named Chef Partner for The District in Addison – a beloved Northern California neighborhood restaurant and bar set to open its first Texas location this fall at 5100 Belt Line Road (Village on the Parkway). Staudenmaier will bring his culinary expertise to the globally inspired concept as he oversees sourcing ingredients, creating the menu and a polished yet approachable culinary experience for guests.
Staudenmaier boasts an impressive culinary background, but he had humble beginnings in the restaurant industry as a graveyard shift dishwasher at a truck top in Fargo, North Dakota at age 14. He moved on to an apprenticeship at age 15 and began to learn about cooking and life on the line. His path led him through some of the finest restaurants in the country including sous chef positions at establishments such as The Mansion on Turtle Creek and the Inn at Little Washington. Staudenmaier opened Abacus with Kent Rathbun in 1999, creating an iconic Dallas restaurant. Continuing the success of Abacus, Staudenmaier worked to create the next Rathbun concept, Jasper’s.
Parting ways with Rathbun, Staudenmaier dove into farm-to-table cooking with time at Boot Ranch, an ultra-luxury property in Fredericksburg, Texas. It was at Boot Ranch that he developed a following for his ultra-local Hill Country Farm Cuisine. Staudenmaier returned to Dallas where he opened Lovers Seafood and later moved on to become Concept chef at Whiskey Cake Kitchen and Bar. Staudenmaier joined the District in January 2021 in his new role as Chef Partner.
Staudenmaier says “I am thrilled to be part of the team bringing District to Dallas. The concept truly speaks to me with its ingredient focused, food driven kitchens. That attention to culinary detail matched with a polished, casual, local pub kind of feel is the best of both worlds for me. It’s great food, wine & whiskey, craft cocktails, and a great experience in a place that feels like an extension of your home.”
Johnny Carros, Operating Partner for the Dallas area expansion explains, “I knew of only one guy in this city who would be a perfect match for this team and Chef Aaron was it. His knowledge and background fit perfectly with what we are building here with District as well as the basis of the concept’s heart and soul.”
Set to open for lunch and dinner, the rustic yet refined concept pairs a menu of globally inspired shareable plates with an extensive and diverse wine and whiskey program. The result is an experience that guests can share with friends and family in a vibrant and communal setting.
District’s founding mission goes beyond the core offering of wine, whiskey and shareable plates. It encompasses the entire experience, including service and the overall vibe set by the design, music and their guests. While the menu changes often based upon the seasons and availability of product, sample or core food menu items will include the likes of: Fontina and Spinach Arancini with smoked tomato sauce; Lamb Meatballs made with house ground lamb & pork, chermoula tomato sauce and manchego cheese; Tempura Avocado with jalapeño-lime aioli and sweet ‘n spicy sea salt; Grilled Spanish Octopus with inked bomba rice, saffron aioli, olive oil poached tomato and fennel; Calabrian Sausage Pizza with Calabrian chili sauce, arugula, cippolini onion, pecorino; Zucchini Blossom Flatbread with baby squashes and herbs, truffled ricotta, Texas sweets; Diver Scallops with Cali caviar, leak & salsify soubise, tempura mushroom, citrus sea foam; Smoked Lamb Chops with pistachio-parmesan polenta frita, Castelvetrano lamb jus, minted salsa verde and more.
As for the bar program, District offers both new and old-world wines as well as a heavy selection of Whiskeys focused on high-quality and small batch production. Draft beers will be sourced from local breweries such as Tupps Brewery and Peticolas Brewing Company. The cocktail menu features classic recipes with a modern twist while using fresh herbs, fresh squeezed juices and house made syrups. A few standouts will include the Sazerac Barrel Aged Old Fashion and Lavender Tom Collins made with gin, house made lavender syrup, lemon juice and topped with soda.
The 3,800 square foot space will offer interior seating for 94 (including bar), and patio seating for 40. District’s design can be described as a blend between rustic and contemporary. D’Angelica says, “In Addison, the ‘bones’ of the space pay tribute to the historic brick & timber warehouse spaces we occupy in our home base of Northern California. The interior is filled with rich woods, rustic chandeliers and contemporary accents that are right in line with our design philosophy.” A combination of lounge seating, hi-top tables and banquettes, all surrounding a large centerpiece bar, will provide customers with a variety of seating experiences.
District was founded in San Francisco in 2007. It is run by founding partners Ryan Vance and Jon D’Angelica. Ryan and Jon were friends who met each other in San Francisco in 2000. Ryan’s background is in hospitality and marketing. Jon received his MBA at NYU and worked on Wall Street until 2000 when he moved to the Bay Area to pursue his dream of opening a wine bar and restaurant. Dallas Restaurant Veteran, Johnny Carros (formerly of Chamberlain’s Steak and Chop House, Jasper’s, Sugarbacon Proper Kitchen and Frontburner Restaurant Group) is Operating Partner for the Dallas area expansion.
District currently has three locations all in California. Addison marks the 4th location for the group and first outside of California.