Veteran restaurateur opens chef-run steakhouse in Design District

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There is steak and sushi in the Design District of Dallas: Called the mind, this is a new restaurant concept focused on steak, seafood and sushi from Dallas hotel group Apheleia Restaurant Group, which is home to concepts such as El Bolero, Hawthorn and Pakpao Thai.

The restaurant will open at 1628 Oak Lawn Ave., in the space previously occupied by Oak, with an acclaimed chef in the house: Aaron Redlitz, who has worked at a variety of restaurants on the West Coast. According to a statement, it will open in early November.

In a statement, owner Richard Ellman said following the pandemic it seemed like the right time to redesign a restaurant he first opened in 2012.

“We want to keep it simple and focus on finding flawless execution with high quality ingredients,” said Ellman. “The space, which showcases a variety of provocative and interesting art and design elements, is dynamic and high-energy and the goal is to create a fun, social and uplifting dining and drinking experience. “

Redlitz’s pedigree includes culinary roles with Los Angeles-based Boa and Katana, and he has also worked with renowned chefs such as Eric Ripert and Roland Passot La Folie in San Francisco.

“I can’t wait to use my experience to build a world-class steakhouse that offers the classics but also offers plenty of surprises,” he says. “My goal is for every guest to have a positive and memorable experience.”

Ellman opened Oak at a time when the Design District was not yet on the restaurant radar, followed by restaurants such as FT33, Sassetta and WheelHouse, all of which have since closed. The neighborhood is seeing a new wave of concepts like Carbone, the Italian-American restaurant in New York, set to open in the fall.

Over the years, Oak has hosted many famous chefs, including opening chef Jason Maddy, Richard Gras, Brian Zenner, pastry queen Lucia Merino and even John Tesar, who briefly consulted.

But Apheleia has endured the same hardships as all restaurants in Dallas since COVID-19, especially struggles to find reliable employees. Ellman had previously tried to move Oak in the direction of the steakhouse, but eventually had to shut it down in July.

Wits takes its name from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, often referred to as Wits University.

“I was born in South Africa, and my mom went to school there,” says Ellman. “Witwatersrand is the site of one of the largest gold mines in history and this plays a role in the theme and setting of the concept.”

Ellman also recently opened Hawthorn Sushi, Seafood & Steak in the AT&T Discovery District in downtown Dallas.


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