Where Michael Martensen, Dallas' Mixologist-in-Chief, Drinks When He Drinks in Dallas

Categories: Interviews

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Find Martensen at the Windmill.
Even though he's spent the last seven years shaking up some of the city's best craft cocktails, Proof + Pantry's Michael Martensen is a man of pretty simple tastes. As Martensen mentioned in our interview earlier this week, the most important part of going to a bar is more about the experience than the drinks.

Needless to say, as a devout Miller High Life drinker, Martensen isn't interested in bars that are primarily staffed by "mustachioed assholes" -- his words, and mine. If you've fallen victim to that in the past, head to these five Martensen-approved joints for a much better boozing experience.

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Proof + Pantry's Michael Martensen Is Battling the "Pretentious Asshole Bartender" (Interview)

Categories: Interviews

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via Twitter
Michael Martensen opens Proof + Pantry today.
It's Drinking Week at City of Ate, which means even more stories than usual about our favorite pastime. Check back for more stories about craft beer, killer bartenders and more.

Even though it's been a relatively enduring trend in bars across the country for nearly a decade, Dallas has only recently caught on to the appeal of cocktails that are much more complex in both flavor and preparation than your average vodka cranberry. Fortunately for mixologists in our fair city, the trend has caught on like wildfire.

Which should be credited in large part to Michael Martensen, the expert mixologist who is opening up his very first concept, Proof + Pantry, today in One Arts Plaza. You'll probably remember Martensen from his stints mixing up some of the city's best libations at Cedars Social and The Mansion at Turtle Creek, but now he's struck out on his own to intensify his focus on making creative and high-quality cocktails. One day before his restaurant was scheduled to open, I sat down with a surprisingly calm Martensen to talk about the history of the craft cocktail trend, what boozers in Dallas like to drink, and what we can expect from his highly-focused cocktail menu at Proof + Pantry.

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Where Gemma Pastry Chef Stephanie Childress Eats Out in Dallas

Categories: Interviews

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Dive bar meets homemade pasta? Are we in heaven?
When she's not busy cranking out housemade sorbets and ice creams at Gemma, pastry chef Stephanie Childress, the subject of this week's chef interview, has to eat. Like most chefs, she's pretty particular about where she dines out, to the point that being at a less-than-great restaurant makes her a little anxious. "I see all of these details, things that could be fixed," she says. "And it drives me crazy."

Still, she finds time to make it out occasionally to check out what some of her favorite spots around the city. The team at Gemma all makes family dinner for each other, but when she's off work, Childress heads to these five Dallas establishments.

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At Gemma, Pastry Chef Stephanie Childress Is Keeping It Simple

Categories: Interviews

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Amy McCarthy
A pastry chef in her natural habitat.

Gemma has been adding a touch of freshness and California cool to Henderson Ave since opening earlier this year, and head pastry chef Stephanie Childress has proven herself a crucial part of the restaurant's success. Our own food critic raved about Childress' well-executed and offbeat dessert dishes, and diners have followed suit.

Working alongside chef-owner Stephen Rogers and front-of-house manager (and Rogers' wife) Alison Yoder has been an overwhelmingly positive experience for Childress, who made her home in Dallas after working in some of Las Vegas' most beloved kitchens. I sat down to talk with Childress about navigating the Dallas food world after working in Las Vegas, how she works with Chef Stephen Rogers for inspiration on both sides of the menu, and her best-in-town housemade ice cream program.


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An Interview with So & So's Chef Nick Amoriello, a Fan of Neither Bros nor Hummus

Categories: Interviews

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Steve Bither
A man with a large task in front of him: making Dallas love Uptown.
With its extensive craft cocktail menus and upscale food menus to go along, the gastropub trend shows no signs of slowing down. Especially not in Dallas. As diners increasingly seek out more casual fine dining experiences, gastropubs are happily stepping into the shoes once filled by stuffy and exclusive restaurants.

In Uptown Dallas, the vibe has always been more bourgie than elsewhere in the city, something that has earned the neighborhood a less-than-positive reputation with people who don't live inside the upscale bubble situated in between Downtown and Central Expressway. But at So & So's, Chef Nick Amoriello is working hard to change both the food and the culture of a neighborhood that restaurants seem to be fleeing in favor of hipper enclaves like Bishop Arts.

Amoriello, a Culinary Institute of America grad who has worked at Nobu, Driftwood, and Central 214, joined So & So's after an unexpected exit from Chef Ian Tate. Since joining the restaurant, he has brought upscale dishes to a menu that was in serious need of a little refinement, and a kitchen in desperate need of leadership. I sat down to talk with Amoriello about how the transition went, whether or not the stereotypes that we all have about Uptown are true, and whether or not the traditionally stodgy neighborhood is prepared for cuisine that is a little more experimental.

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Stock & Barrel Chef Jon Stevens' Seven Favorite Dallas Restaurants

Categories: Interviews

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Nicholas McWhirter
Magic, by Omar Flores.

In the lengthy and sometimes stressful process of opening his Bishop Arts restaurant Stock and Barrel, Chef Jon Stevens spent a lot of time eating out at Dallas restaurants. Ever the chef, Stevens tends to frequent places that most of us would consider a foodie splurge, even if they aren't all that expensive.

Stevens has been working in Dallas for years, and anyone with a culinary background like his is bound to offer up some good recommendations for dinner. Dine like Chef Jon at these eight Dallas restaurants.

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Stock & Barrel's Jon Stevens on Building His Dream and Responsibly Growing Bishop Arts

Categories: Interviews

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Joy Zhang (via the restaurant)
Does this look like a man who's living the dream?

As Dallas transforms into a bona fide dining destination, more and more chefs are packing their knives and attempting to strike out on their own. The world of chef-ownership is tough to navigate, evidenced by the fact that only about 43 percent of independently owned restaurants make it past their third birthday.

In Bishop Arts, chef Jon Stevens is doing his best to avoid becoming a statistic. Stock and Barrel, Stevens' barely 2-month-old Americana restaurant, looks as if it might be beating the odds with its combination of excellent food, prime location in an up-and-coming neighborhood and overwhelming support from the locals. I sat down to talk with Stevens about the process of making his lifelong dream come true, what it takes to create a long-lasting restaurant in Dallas and how he thinks restaurants can improve Bishop Arts without turning into a commercial wasteland.


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Where the Creators of Scotch & Sausage Eat When They Eat Out in Dallas

Categories: Interviews

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Catherine Downes
Scotch & Sausage chef Trevor Ball.
Anyone who's ever owned or worked in a restaurant knows that it's easy to grow tired of your own food. You can only eat so much of anything, no matter how good it is, before you get burned out and start craving something new.

Trevor Ball and Dylan Elchami, the minds behind Oak Lawn's Scotch & Sausage and the subject of our recent interview, have only been in the sausage business for a short while, but they still need a break from the tube meats from time to time. When they're not twisting up sausages and serving up scotch, you'll find them at these six Dallas spots.

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How Scotch & Sausage Came to Be (Interview)

Categories: Interviews

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via Dylan Elchami
Two dudes who love serving sausage. And scotch.
It seems as if someone is opening a new restaurant every couple of days in Dallas, and the city's rapidly evolving culinary scene is attracting some talented restaurant pros tow town. Sometimes, though, the city's old-school culinary fixtures are doing the innovating, like Phil Romano's Trinity Grove.

The same is true for Scotch & Sausage, Oak Lawn's shiny new singular-focus concept that opened its doors last week. I sat down with owner and concept whiz Dylan Elchami and Chef Trevor Ball, of Kuby's Sausage House stock, to talk about what goes into doing such a specific concept, how the first day at Scotch & Sausage went, and what it's like to usher 19 generations of sausage-making into a brand new culinary era.

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Where Chef Matt McCallister Eats In Dallas

Categories: Interviews

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When he's not gently placing foraged herbs on one side of a plate at FT33, Matt McCallister has to rest his tweezing hands and take a break from cooking some of the city's best food. You won't find him eating any trendy dishes drizzled with truffle oil or pulling into any of the area's many Jack In The Box drive-thrus, but even a chef like McCallister has to eat somewhere outside of his own kitchen.

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