Restaurants / Openings

Chic New Arts District Restaurant — Led By Oprah’s Former Personal Chef — Serves a Nostalgic Taste of America

Ellie's, an Ode to Craig Hall's Late Mother, is the Heart of the New Hall Arts Hotel

BY // 01.27.20

With its sophisticated design and impressive collection of art, the new Hall Arts Hotel fits perfectly into the center of the Dallas Arts District. The hotel’s multiple dining and lounge venues have created opportunities for arts patrons to stop in for a pre-show bite or glass of Merlot (owners Kathryn and Craig Hall also own Hall Wines out of Napa Valley). But what’s really helped breathe new life into the District is the hotel’s beating heart: Ellie’s.

In keeping with the neighborhood’s artful focus, Ellie’s comes with view.

Named for Craig Hall’s late mother, the restaurant, designed by HKS Architects with interiors by Bentel & Bentel, merges fine dining with a sense of warmth — all inspired by a remarkable woman.

“She was a German immigrant, a strong-willed and powerful woman, an artist a teacher, one of the first women to enlist in the Navy in World War II, and in the years afterward, she was always the one to bring the family together for different occasions,” says executive chef Eric Dreyer, who spent hours speaking with the Hall family about Ellie, putting her stamp on everything in the restaurant, including the menu.

The chef has mastered no fewer than five of Ellie’s cookie recipes that were passed down through the family. Another menu item is inspired by Chicken in the Rough, one of the first fried chicken chains in the U.S. and a favorite of Ellie’s. Dreyer, a Texas native who was most recently personal chef to Oprah, has enjoyed putting a nostalgic spin on the elegant seasonal American menu.

Ellie’s hand made Pappardelle Pasta with asparagus, mint, and serrano peppers.

In addition to elevated takes on 1940s and 1950s dinnertime staples (dishes that count Campbell’s soup as a key ingredient) and a culinary spin on the TV dinner, more traditional dishes include handmade pappardelle pasta with asparagus, mint, and Serrano peppers; burrata and butter lettuce salad with La Quercia Iowa prosciutto, cherry tomato, basil pesto, and aged balsamic; and, for breakfast, Bubbie’s Benedict: poached eggs with shaved corned beef and crème fraîche, served atop a potato latke.

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