When Meri Dahlke and Michael Hickey started planning to open a bar, they had no intention of making it a restaurant. “I didn’t want to do food; I just wanted a bar,” Dahlke says. But gaining city and state approval to open a bar is much easier if it has a kitchen. “We know that food is important to people here,” she says. “So if we were going to do food, we weren’t going to cut corners.” They hired a friend, chef Carlos Mancera, to create the menu. The owners had very little input into it, and their trust in Mancera has paid off. The pub, which opened in June 2012, has received very good reviews from food critics. The tavern’s hot wings even made the Robb Report, “the definitive authority on connoisseurship for ultra-affluent consumers.” The menu is small and simple: fish and chips, a burger, wings, sandwiches and cheese boards, plus Mancera’s daily specials. Dahlke grew up in Wisconsin, where her uncle owned a country tavern. A staple of such taverns is pickled eggs. When she asked Mancera to make pickled eggs for the bar, he balked initially, so Dahlke said she would make them herself. But then one day Mancera got creative and surprised her with pickled-egg concoctions including jalapeño and curry. They’ve proven to be popular bar snacks, Mancera says.
Ten Bells Tavern, 232 W. Seventh, 214.943.2677, tenbellstavern.com
Price range: $9-$14
Hours: Monday – Friday,3 P.M.-2 A.M.; Saturday and SUNDAY, 11 A.M.-2 A.M.
Did you know? Ten Bells recently hosted Chef Justin Holt’s after-midnight ramen pop-up shops
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