We’ve joked before that we’d like to see Dallas chef John Tesar — the man behind Knife and the recently closed Spoon — open a comfort-food restaurant called Spork. But some Dallas chefs have beaten him to it.
Spork, described as a “chef-driven roadside eatery,” opens Thursday night inside an old Sonic in north Dallas. It has a whopping pedigree that belies its easygoing fast-casual menu: Chef Eric Justice, formerly of Plano’s Mexican Sugar; chef Tim Byres of Smoke and Chicken Scratch and Christopher Jeffers, the creative director for both those restaurants and more; Christopher Zielke and Karen Schultz of Turn the Tables Hospitality (which also includes Jeffers; Sean Conner of Lewisville’s Pie 314; Katherine Clapner of Dude, Sweet Chocolate; and Brad Borchardt of Expanding Palates.
Loosely inspired by the now-closed Taylor’s Refresher in Napa Valley, Spork still resembles the shell of a Sonic Drive-In, but space-themed murals line the exterior walls. The interior has 82 seats; the nearly twice-as-large patio is expected to open in about four weeks. Expect a rec-room atmosphere, with Foosball and ping-pong tables, a bocce-ball court and a putting green. Jeffers collaborated with Coeval Studios and Lou-Verne’s Marisa Dukowitz and Christy Black on the design.
The menu, which you can check out here, has one of the most ambitious build-your-own burger sections we’ve ever seen, along with a classic-sandwich portion and apps that reflect some of Justice’s Asian-restaurant background (which includes P.F. Chang’s and Pei Wei): Bulgogi kimchi fries and a Californian Korean dog are mixed in with the more American classics. The menu also includes shakes as well as cocktails and other alcoholic beverages and soft drinks that incorporate the Sonic soda fountain.
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“We’re wanting to offer a place where kids can horse around and adults can sit idly by enjoying a beer,” Justice says in a press release. “The name [Spork] epitomizes what we’re going for – it’s a funny, utilitarian name that goes perfectly with the Jetson-like atmosphere.”
Spork is lat 6110 Frankford Road, Dallas, near the intersection of Frankford and Preston Road, a little bit south of the President George Bush Turnpike. Hours are 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Mon-Thu, 11 a.m.-midnight Fri-Sat, 11 a.m.-10 pm. Sun with brunch served all day. 214-643-6871; sporkdallas.com.