Plunk down on a bean-bag chair on a 2-acre playground with a pickle ball court and a 20-foot-wide TV nearby, and the hustle-bustle of the big city feels far away. And it is: This new food and drink development near Rockwall is in Heath, Texas, about 3 miles south of where Interstate 30 crosses Lake Ray Hubbard.
The expansive area is called SouthRidge. The whole project, which includes an office building, spans nearly 8 acres and is anchored by a restaurant called Standard Service. A restaurant by that same name closed in Rockwall recently so it could move out to shinier digs in owner Elias Pope’s hometown of Heath.
“The main reason we wanted this here is because we wanted a place where adults could go and have a great steak and glass of wine, but trust that kids could eat from food trucks and also be entertained,” Pope says. He also hopes it feels like the kind of place where you can stay while the kids play: “It always sucks when you go to a restaurant for and an hour and a half, but your kids want to go and you’re still enjoying the conversation.”
The backyard feels like a mix of Katy Trail Ice House, Truck Yard and the Lot, three Dallas establishments that have mastered outdoor drinkin’ in a laid-back setting. In Heath, the entire development is very kid-friendly — which was important to Pope, a father of five.
Pope is best known for his healthy-cool restaurant HG Sply Co, which has locations on Dallas’ Lower Greenville, in Fort Worth, and at a mega complex in Trophy Club. Pope operates Gung Ho on Greenville, too, and recently bought ownership in several more bars and restaurants on the block, one of which is expected to become a Standard Service this spring. His team also has Hero, Dallas’ biggest sports bar that flanks American Airlines Center in Victory Park.
In Trophy Club, Victory Park and, now, Heath, those restaurants are huge. Are more big restaurants in Pope’s future?
“It’s not one of those things where it’s part of the strategy,” he says. (His next two projects, the launch of Standard Service and a reconceptualizing of Leela’s, both on Greenville Avenue in Dallas, are a trim 3,200 square feet and 2,100 square feet, respectively.)
He doesn’t have a plan to continue opening oversized restaurants.
“Sometimes small is good, sometimes big is good,” he says.
The development’s selling point is its plethora of outdoor options. There’s cornhole, pingpong, cabanas with fire pits facing a live-music stage, shuffleboard, a pickle ball court, a 20-foot by 10-foot TV and those very comfortable outdoor beanbag chairs that basically beg you to stay put.
Eventually, food trucks can hook up in the middle of the turfed backyard. Pope plans to launch a farmers market on the weekends and hire live musicians to play in the evenings.
Inside, at the 4,400-square-foot restaurant Standard Service, it’s designed to feel like “everybody’s neighborhood staple,” Pope says. The walls are wood paneled — like in Grandma’s house — and murals on the walls by Haylee Ryan depict sweet-looking elderly folks.
The light blue and mustard yellow color scheme makes it “feel old, like you’ve been there before, but it definitely feels modern,” he says.
The menu was just redesigned by culinary director Danyele McPherson, a former Top Chef contestant. The eclectic variety includes a BLT sandwich, a chicken-fried chicken dish and a stir-fry bowl.
Those looking closely will notice menu items from Pope’s other restaurants, like crab rangoon dip from Gung Ho; a burger from the now-closed Remedy restaurant; and healthful bowls reminiscent of the options at HG Sply Co.
SouthRidge has been in the works for three years. The project is personal for Pope, who feels like he’s finally feeding his neighbors.
“This feels awesome,” he says on Jan. 29, opening day, as he stands on the property. “We served my friends today: That’s a big deal.”
Standard Service (at the SouthRidge complex) is open for lunch, dinner and brunch seven days a week. 4240 Ridge Road, Heath.
For more food news, follow Sarah Blaskovich on Twitter at @sblaskovich.
Source: Thanks https://www.dallasnews.com/food/restaurant-news/2020/01/30/worth-the-drive-restaurant-and-outdoor-playplace-standard-service-at-southridge-opens-in-heath-near-rockwall/