Live local: The lowdown on neighborhood businesses

Raul and Olga Reyes, formerly of La Palapa Veracruzana, have opened Mesa (118 W. Jefferson, 214.941.4246). In contrast to La Palapa, Mesa has a full bar and a menu that is strictly authentic Veracruzana food … no Tex-Mex here, only authentic coastal cuisine. Raul Reyes has been working on the restaurant for almost a year now, creating practically everything for the newly elegant interior by himself. Through the use of reclaimed metal and wood, he built the bar, tables, chairs and wall décor. “For one hallway, we used discarded shields from NASA, gave them an acid wash and turned them into art,” Reyes says. The focus at Mesa is taking the freshest ingredients possible and applying them to tried-and-true family recipes, such as Olga Reyes’ mother’s special mole, on the menu as Mole de Mama Cata.

With summer finally here, it’s time to dive into summer activities for the kiddos. Summer camps are up and running at Oil and Cotton [1] (837 W. 7th, 214.797.8176), a creative exchange. This summer’s classes — half-day and full-day options — include songwriting, painting, drawing, sculpting, collage making, cartoons and comics, needlecrafts and more. Standouts include “Creative Careers”, a five-day camp that will explore ways in which students can pursue employment in the arts, and the “Yoga & Art” four-day camp for ages 6 to 10 that teaches yoga poses followed by parallel art lessons. At nearby Make Shop & Studio (313 N. Bishop, 214.256.3061, themakesite.com), the eclectic summer camp schedule has creative children, tweens and teens dabbling in fashion sketching, pattern making, handbag design, screen printing, styling, logo design, quilting, card making, mirror etching and more. Tuition includes all supplies, snacks and a lot of creative energy.

As always during the summer season, there’s a lot going on at the Belmont Hotel [2] (901 Fort Worth Ave., 866.870.8010). The Belmont pool — along with its awesome view — is open to the public Sundays from 1–5 p.m. BarBelmont will soon debut a new menu with a focus on a shared approach to dining and a new look similar to that of hotel restaurant Smoke.

Start Gallery Dallas [3] (1004 W. Page) recently opened with a bang, showing the work of local artists Martin R. Campos, Arthur Stephens and Patricia Rodriguez at its first group exhibition. Owned by 2010 SMU grad Veronika Tkachuck, this contemporary gallery uses a modular, steel rail hanging system for its works.

Next time you visit The Kessler Theater (1230 W. Davis, 214.272.8346), make sure to look around. In the upstairs gallery, The Kessler’s artistic director, Jeffrey Liles, has displayed late ’70s and early ’80s concert photography from well-known portrait photographer (and Liles’ childhood friend) Vern Evans. Evans, based in L.A., has shot everyone from Harrison Ford to Sugar Ray Leonard, but 35 years ago he and Liles were just J.J. Pearce High School students. They used fake IDs to sneak into concerts and snap photos with their 35mm cameras (photography was prohibited at the shows). Little did they know the shots would one day be iconic. Some of their photos are now on display at The Kessler: U2 opening for a wet T-shirt contest at a club on Northwest Highway; Joan Jett and The Runaways with The Ramones at Fort Worth’s Panther Hall; and Iggy Pop at the Agora Ballroom. The exhibit is on display until the first week of July and is free to the public. Evans’ photographs are priced between $900-$1,200.

It’s time again for Aunt Stelle’s Sno-Cones [4] (2002 W. Clarendon, 214.946.1431). Choose between flavors like bubble gum, cola, nectar, pink lady, root beer and more. Aunt Stelle’s is open Fridays-Sundays 2-9 p.m.

Do you know of a neighborhood business renovating, expanding, moving, launching, hosting an event, celebrating an anniversary, offering a special or something else noteworthy? Send the information to livelocal@advocatemag.com or call 214.292.0487.

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