This is not a restaurant in our neighborhood, but it is one that wouldn’t exist without Oak Cliff. Tim Byres was once obsessed with perfection. It was an obsession that propelled him to the White House and beyond, but one that ultimately left him feeling empty and creatively uninspired.
“If my sole purpose is to make a better brisket, well, then I’m an asshole,” he says. He considered walking away from the culinary scene to hand-make soaps and sell it at farmers markets.
His now business partners offered the chance to develop a signature culinary flair to the rebirth at the Belmont Hotel. He wanted to build a place that highlighted what he calls the “spirit of hospitality,” that x-factor that makes you want to linger somewhere.
“That was going to be my last stand,” he says. “If we flamed out, who cares? We were in West Dallas in the middle of nowhere.”
But as you already know, Byres’ Smoke helped set Oak Cliff’s food scene on fire. It became the talk of the town, and caught the attention of the NorthPark Center, which was looking for a new restaurateur to bring some culinary flare to the chain-based mall’s eatery options. It was a different community from laid back Oak Cliff, a chance for Byres to explore a new side of his eclectic personality.
“It’s all about creating an atmosphere, an energy,” says chef/owner Byres. “We set up the story of the place and then fill in the details of the menu.”
That story was built around larger than life historical figure Teddy Roosevelt. With its dark-paneled bar, over-stuffed blue velvet armchairs and hunting-inspired décor, The Theodore looks like somewhere Roosevelt would hang out.
You’ll find dishes that Byres describes as “the classic American food story,” including pot pies, beef tenderloin and a plethora of pizzas. Cocktails are crafted from fresh fruit and herbs, each named for different national park in honor of Roosevelt’s work.
“I really like the idea of smells when you first walk in so that’s where the bakery comes in,” Byres says of the attached full-production bakery.
The restaurant opens like Pandora’s box to expose space after space, from a private dining room tucked into a hidden bookshelf to the hand-painted celestial room.
8687 North Central Expressway,
Ambiance: Sleek and vintage
Price Range: $15-$30
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m.-11p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Did you know: The black and white bow-pattern in the hallway was hand-drawn with Sharpie, lots and lots of Sharpies.