Sketches of Spain opened at the end of January, weeks before the coronavirus hit Dallas.
The restaurant was conceived as a pinchos bar, serving snacks that are the Basque region’s version of tapas. After restaurants were closed for dine-in service in March, Sketches of Spain began offering more substantial meals. On the menu are four types of paella, along with appetizers of ham or chicken croquettes, Spanish tortilla, salt-cod stuffed piquillo peppers and roasted eggplant.
There’s also a large selection of Spanish wines and two nightly dinner specials.
“For a restaurant that’s open a month and a half, we’re doing great.”
The “tasting package for two” contains two bottles of wine, salmorejo (a cold soup that’s a puree of tomato and bread), octopus a feira, ham croquettes, Spanish tortilla and cheesecake.
The dinner for two comes with paella, cheesecake and a bottle of wine.
Chef Iñaki Betran moved to Dallas just to work at Sketches of Spain. Betran got his start cooking at Arzak, the Michelin three-star restaurant in San Sebastian, Spain, that elevated Basque cuisine.
Co-owner Javier Garcia del Moral says the bank gave them a break on their mortgage payments following the recent crisis.
The restaurant is making enough money to pay the chef and keep the lights on.
“It’s not a disaster. For a restaurant that’s open a month and a half, we’re doing great, considering the circumstances and the context,” he says. “If you look at the numbers in the long term, it’s a loss. It’s very sensitive, but we can’t really complain.”
Garcia and his partners also own The Wild Detectives, the bookstore/coffee shop/bar/event space that has elevated the culture of Bishop Arts since it opened in 2014.
That business stayed afloat during the pandemic thanks to customers who purchased books, records and gift certificates while it was closed.
For years after The Wild Detectives opened, Garcia kept his fulltime job as a civil engineer. But when Sketches of Spain opened, he had to give that up.
“It’s more time consuming than the bookstore,” he says. “We’ve been very happy with how it’s going so far.”
Sketches of Spain
Hours: 5-8:30 p.m.
Sunday, closed Monday