foodRestaurant News

The Grape on Greenville Avenue in Dallas will become a new restaurant

Chas Martin, operator of The Charles in the Design District, is working on plans now.

Nearly 50 years after The Grape opened in Dallas, the now-closed restaurant space will get new life. Chas Martin, who operates upscale Italian restaurant The Charles in the Dallas Design District, is working on a new restaurant in East Dallas that’s expected to open in 2021.

Martin’s coming-soon restaurant doesn’t have a name or a menu yet. It won’t be The Charles 2.0, he says. And it won’t be a reincarnation of The Grape.

Restaurateur Chas Martin, right, is opening a new restaurant on Greenville Avenue, where The Grape was. Martin operates The Charles alongside chef J. Chastain.
Restaurateur Chas Martin, right, is opening a new restaurant on Greenville Avenue, where The Grape was. Martin operates The Charles alongside chef J. Chastain.(Carly Geraci / Staff Photographer)

“I think it’ll have the DNA of The Charles,” Martin says, meaning it might have some Italian dishes. But it’ll have more of a neighborhood vibe, whereas The Charles tends to be a spot that caters to the “expense account diner” — the man or woman entertaining business associates and showing off some of the glitzier parts of Dallas.

“This gives us an opportunity to tap into East Dallas,” Martin says. He notes that the deal “felt right,” and that it came together during the pandemic.

The Grape operated for 47 years on Lower Greenville and was lauded for its wine by the glass selection, its date-night charm and its good food. The burger was named one of the state’s best burgers by Texas Monthly, and the mushroom soup was an untouchable recipe. (The Grape’s chef and second co-owner Brian Luscher tried to change it — and “people did not like that!” joked Charlotte Parker, The Grape’s original co-owner.)

The closure of The Grape in late 2019 was a big deal to many Dallasites: It was the end of an era for a happy, little bistro that helped define the neighborhood.

Here's a look at The Grape in fall 2019, just before it closed. When Chas Martin opens a restaurant in its place, it'll look totally different, he says.
Here's a look at The Grape in fall 2019, just before it closed. When Chas Martin opens a restaurant in its place, it'll look totally different, he says.(Jason Janik / Special Contributor)

The building on Greenville Avenue has since been purchased, and Martin says significant changes will be made to the interior before his team begins the restaurant build-out.

Luscher is pleased that Martin is swooping in.

“We’ve always known how special it is, and to see somebody come in and give it the love it deserves is pretty cool,” he says.

There’s crossover between the two restaurant groups, too: Sarah Snow was Luscher’s chef de cuisine at The Grape. She’s now Sarah Chastain; her husband J. Chastain is The Charles' chef.

“The whole circle feels absolutely right,” Luscher says.

Martin says a more detailed timeline for the restaurant is not yet set. For now, he’s working on hiring a chef and solidifying the vision.

“I think to myself, is it going to be a brother or a sister [to The Charles]? A cousin? A distant cousin? Will there be some Italianish stuff? Yeah, probably. That would be a natural transition for us. We’re figuring out what fires us up.”

For more food news, follow Sarah Blaskovich on Twitter at @sblaskovich.

Sarah Blaskovich, food writer. Sarah writes about restaurants, bars and culture in Dallas. She also appears on NBC5 twice a week. Follow @sblaskovich and ask her what to do, where to eat or where to drink in your 'hood.

sblaskovich@dallasnews.com /sarah.blaskovich @sblaskovich Instagram Icon@sarahblaskovich
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