A new day for an old favorite
Jeffrey Kollinger and Ricky Tillman worked together under Dean Fearing at the Mansion on Turtle Creek.
They were friends.
Tillman, born and reared in Oak Cliff, went on to follow his dream, creating Tillman’s Corner in the neighborhood now known as the Bishop Arts District, in 1992. Tillman died of cancer in 1997, but his wife, Sara Tillman, carried on. She partnered with event planner Todd Fiscus to launch a revamped version, Tillman’s Roadhouse, in 2007.
Tillman’s Roadhouse now is coming into its third era.
Sara retired recently and sold the restaurant to Kollinger and his brother, Ross. The Kollinger brothers started Spice of Life catering together in 1995.
Tillman’s 3.0, as Jeffrey Kollinger sometimes calls it, has a brand-new bar near the entry, complete with an experienced mixologist and a USB outlet for each seat.
Michael Morabito is executive chef, and the menu is Texas gourmet. Or Texas chic. Texas glamour food. Kollinger hasn’t invented just the right buzzword for it yet.
Whatever you call it, their menu exudes creativity plus decades of experience.
Take the grilled Texas quail, marinated in a pomegranate pinot noir sauce and served with a dirty-rice filled crepe slathered with lemon beurre blanc. “I’ll put it up against any other quail dish in Texas,” Kollinger says.
The chicken-fried steak is a 44 Farms filet mignon served with charred-poblano gravy. Shrimp and grits has andouille sausage, lobster butter and fried-green-tomato croutons. A pecan-crusted okra appetizer comes with a green-olive remoulade.
Tillman’s signature tableside s’mores are still on the menu alongside new desserts such as key-lime and cactus-pear cheesecake.
An all-new cocktail menu features a blood-orange margarita and the stone-fruit old fashioned, which is made with nectarine-infused rye.
Kollinger, whose clients have included Pat and Emmitt Smith and Hillary Clinton, says he’s been asked to open dozens of restaurants. He could’ve chosen Preston Center and likely done quite well. But he says Tillman’s inspired him more than anything else.
“It’s a new beginning for this restaurant,” he says. “We want to do stuff no one else is doing.”
Did you know? The Kollinger brothers are third-generation Dallasites, and their mother was born and reared in Oak Cliff.
Ambiance: Texas chic
Hours: 5 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday, closed Monday