Dish drags up its decor with Lady Bunny

I spoke this afternoon with Tim McEnery, owner of  Dish restaurant at the ilume, and he informed me of some changes set to take place there soon.

If you’ve been to the hit eatery in the gayborhood, you have have noticed the recessed, elevated dining area which looks like it could be a stage. Well, McEnery noticed that, too, and that’s what it could become. Plans are in place to add a semi-opaque curtain to run the length of the area that would filter about 70 percent of visibility, making it ideal for private dining and mixers. But it also makes it a great space as a stage for late-night entertainment.

Starting soon, on Friday and Saturday nights from about 11 p.m. to 2 a.m., that space will give way to drag shows, DJs and the like. The dining crowd usually slows down by then, so it seems like a good fit, McEnery says, as Dish remains open with a full bar as well as waiter service to the tables. Already booked to fill the space is The Lady Bunny, pictured — not the flat bread, which is delicious there — who will play there Pride weekend.

And they are already looking forward to sometime in the next two or three weeks opening up the patio once the weather cools down.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: Logo’s ‘Bump’ highlights Dallas

Wednesday night (and again Thursday morning), Logo aired an episode of the travel series Bump! that profiled Dallas. And Dallas looked damn good in it. Of course, anything near host Charlie David is bound to bask in his reflected beauty, but still.

The episode, which was filmed during last year’s Pride Weekend, painted the well-rounded portrait of gay Dallas we know to be the reality. Yes, they hit the Round-Up Saloon with the two-stepping queerboys, but we also got interviews with drag diva Wayne Smith and mayoral chief of staff Chris Heinbaugh; a scrimmage with gay rugby players the Dallas Diablos, pictured; and a session with NOH8 creator Adam Bouska, who picked Dallas as his first locale outside California. Plus there were scenes of the parade, a stop by Blythe Beck’s kitchen at Central 214 and other things that set Dallas apart. (The ep was actually screened at a preview party last week at the ilume, which got plenty of good press as well.)

The episode is set to re-air next week. Take a look, and see how gay America sees Big D.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Beyond the Box to become pizzeria; developer says closure not a sign that ilume is struggling

Owner Doug Brown is shown inside Beyond the Box on the day it opened in early December.

Beyond the Box, an upscale deli/restaurant/convenience store that was one of three retailers at ilume on Cedar Springs, closed last week about eight months after opening.

Luke Crosland, chairman and CEO of ilume developer the Crosland Group, said Beyond the Box likely will be replaced in the near future by a “unique pizzeria.”

Beyond the Box just wasn’t the right fit, Crosland said, and the closure shouldn’t be viewed as any indication that the posh mixed-use development is struggling.

“I want to be positive about it because [Beyond the Box owner] Doug [Brown] is a great chef, and he’s the executive chef at Dish,” Crosland said.

“We’re going to use most of the items in the restaurant, and I think we’re going to have a better-for-the-neighborhood operation,” he added. “When you’ve got Kroger across the street, and you don’t have to drive, maybe the idea of having prepared food rather than served food was not the right component.”

Crosland said a sushi lounge is slated to open at ilume sometime in September. Also in the works are a restaurant from the executive chef at Coyote Cafe in Santa Fe, N.M.; and a salon/nail and facial spa.

Crosland said residential units at ilume are now 90 percent occupied, with only about 29 units remaining.

“We’re doing extremely well,” he said. “I’m real excited about the formula we’ve got there.”

The Crosland Group also plans another development, ilume TOO, across Cedar Springs at the site of the old Douglas Park and 4242 Cedar Springs apartments. Crosland said the company is working to obtain financing for ilume TOO.

—  John Wright

Sushi coming to the Cedar Springs strip, as ilume announces another retail tenant

The Crosland Group, developer of ilume, has formally announced a fourth retail tenant at the new mixed-used complex on Cedar Springs Road.

Fin Sushi, a Japanese fusion restaurant, will occupy 4,000 square feet on the southeast corner of ilume, according to a press release we just received. (The Voice first reported that Fin Sushi was coming to ilume in February.)

Fin Sushi, expected to open in September, will join Red Mango, Beyond the Box and Dish, all three of which have already opened. The press release states that Fin Sushi, offering a menu of sushi and sashimi, is a new concept from the owners of Sushi Axiom, which has three locations in North Texas. Existing Sushi Axiom restaurants are in Fort Worth, Burleson, and on Henderson Avenue in East Dallas.

“We’re pleased to welcome such a well established restaurant operator as the newest commercial tenant to ilume,” said Luke Crosland, chairman and CEO of The Crosland Group. “Fin Sushi is another step in our commitment to bringing the finest that Dallas has to offer to the heart of the Oak Lawn community.”

—  John Wright

Get wet at the ilume this Memorial Day weekend

It might not say so on the solar calendar, but we all know Memorial Day weekend is the unofficially official start of summer — and that means bathing suit season. Hey, I’ve been eating like crazy but  still know how to suck in my gut for the pool, and the ilume is amping up the pressure this weekend. The very gay development on Cedar Springs is hosting its first-ever Wet Party on Sunday from noon to 7. Tammie Brown from RuPaul’s Drag Race will emcee the event, then later in the evening she’ll be at the Rose Room for a show. There’s a $10 cover that benefits the AIDS LifeWalk Purple Team and ilume’s DragOns softball team. You must be 21 to attend.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

ilume plans expansion at site of old Douglas Park, 4242 Cedar Springs apartments

Ilume has acquired the large vacant lot across Cedar Springs to the north and west, which once was home to the Douglas Park and 4242 Cedar Springs apartment complexes. According to the press release that I’ve posted after the jump, ilume developer the Crosland Group plans a 240-unit expansion on the 3.88 acres. We’ll have more in Friday’s Voice.

—  John Wright

Carlos Saenz at ilume Friday night

I went to check out Carlos Saenz’s CD release party in the Great Room at the ilume Friday night and it was quite the scene. A hefty crowd turned out for the Voice of Pride top 10 finalist as he celebrated the release of his single, “Elaborate Lives.” It didn’t hurt that Bar 10 was there doling out the free drinks.

His vocals sounded good but the sound wavered off a bit by the end. The mike issue went unnoticed however, and he turned in a decent gig with covers of Erasure, The Doors and even Journey by way of Glee. Backup singers included other VOP finalists Mel Arizpe, Juliana Jeffrey and Robert Olivas. There was even an “awww” moment when he introduced his family who had come up from Brownsville to see his show.

Looking at this now, it’s a whole lot darker than I figured on. D’oh! But you should get the idea of the show.

—  Rich Lopez

The Petropolitan and ilume team up; Eatzi's expands with second location

ilume has been blooming with the openings of Red Mango, Beyond the Box and Dish. Now they got resident pets in sight. According to ilume’s Facebook, they announced today that they are teaming up with The Petropolitan (you know, the guys who sponsor our Pet of the Week) to offer pet services starting right now. So if Fido is starting to look a little scraggly, the Purr and Fur Lounge is now open to snip and groom him back to pedigreed perfection.

In other business news, NBC 5 reported last night that Eatzi’s is opening a second location in February in the Lovers Lane/Tollway area. After closing up many of their other shops a few years back, it sounds like the food market is embracing the idea of expansion again. But really, we dig how reporter Ellen Goldberg says “Eatzi’s on Oak Lawn in Dallas has a cult-like following.”

—  Rich Lopez

Ladies' Lunch loves a good 'Box'

A hearty 'Box' lunch.
A hearty ‘Box’ lunch.

The Ladies’ Lunch gang apologizes for the lack of reports. Timing just hasn’t been on anyone’s side. But today, the gang was back in action and I jumped at the chance to join in for new ilume resident, Beyond the Box. Glad to say, it was a good decision for this cold day.

I made my way over there earlier this week and had some pretty fantastic and way spicy tortilla soup. Although it was more puree than chunky, the flavors worked nicely. Being that it was piping hot only made it better for the dropping temps. This time, the three of us took stabs at the sandwich options. But I couldn’t resist another soup serving. But before I get to mine, here’s LL regular Chris’ take on lunch.

—  Rich Lopez

Another new retailer opens at ilume

BeyondTheBox

Beyond the Box, an upscale deli/restaurant/convenience store, today became the third retail business to open at ilume. Beyond the Box, which also has a smaller location downtown, features everything from soups, salads and sandwiches to beer and wine and even organic dog food. Owner Doug Brown, shown above, describes it as follows: “Beyond the Box is to 7-11 what Whole Foods is to Kroger.”

—  John Wright