Owners Alycen Cuellar, Felix Garcia and Paul Delgado renovated the 1920s building, which has a mid-century modern facade.
“You couldn’t even walk in here when we first got it,” Garcia says.
The building owners had been using it for storage, and it was full of office furniture. The floor was covered in ugly old carpet, and the building was segmented into offices. It has never been used as a restaurant before, so there was no kitchen, no vent-a-hood, no grease trap. Plus, there was no electricity and no running water. But somehow, Cuellar saw something there.
“We made a little something out of nothing,” she says.
The partners hired Ryan Chaney and 44 Build, the company that designed the interiors of Good 2 Go Taco, Goodfriend, 20 Foot Seafood Joint, It’ll Do and Mudsmith, among others. They salvaged as much as they could, including the original, weathered hardwood floors that were under all that ugly, as well as pinewood paneling, which they repurposed for ceilings.
“We really tried to keep the integrity of the building,” Cuellar says.
Cuellar lives in Bluffview, but she has a long history in Oak Cliff. Her dad, Frank Cuellar Jr., is a son of the family that started El Chico. Cuellar himself started La Calle Doce and El Ranchito. Alycen’s mom, Marcia Cuellar, is from Oak Cliff.
Alycen Cuellar’s background is in the arts. She worked for the Dallas Museum of Art, the Rachofsky House and Christie’s. But she grew up in the restaurant business.
“This has been a lifelong dream of mine,” she says.
The Local Oak will have 12 beers on tap, including five that are local, and a list of eight wines. The menu, designed by chef Aaron Courtney, is a mix of Cajun and Mexican flavors, as well as a burger, sandwiches, salads and bar bites.
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