Dallas Restaurant Odd Couple Brings a New Bar to the Medical District — and Tex-Mex and Coffee Could be Next
A Dive Bar for Future Doctors? This Place is Ready to Take OffBY Megan Ziots // 01.30.19
Jonathan Calabrese (pictured) and Tony Winkler met playing basketball and quickly restaurant bonded.
The duo always owns the nearby Social Pie.
Jonathan Calabrese and Tony Winkler have been in the Dallas restaurant business since 2003. They’ve opened hotspots State & Allen, Ross & Hall, The Nodding Donkey, Social Pie and Savory Catering over the past 15 years.
Now, they’re adding a new bar to their repertoire called Maple Landing.
“We always knew we would eventually open a bar,” Calabrese tells PaperCity. “There aren’t too many restaurants and bars in the Medical District.” A lot of UT Southwestern students view Social Pie as the local spot to grab a bite or drink after classes.
Tentatively set to open the week of February 11, Maple Landing will be located at 5855 Maple Avenue, directly adjacent to Social Pie. CultureMap first reported the bar was coming.
Calabrese and Winkler tell PaperCity the bar came about because they already owned the 18,000 square foot space. The duo had previously taken over the old Feed Store that had been owned by a local family for 30 years. They needed to do something with the empty space.
“We want Maple Landing to be about local beer, brisket, and burgers,” Calabrese says. “Love Field is an up and coming area. We’d love to eventually be the local dive bar.”
Calabrese says that the new spot will pay homage to Southwest Airlines. “We’re going to have an airplane theme.” There will be an abstract charcoal mural by architect Mark Hopper inside and a mural of Herb Kelleher, the former CEO of Southwest who recently passed away, by muralist Alli Koch on the exterior of the building.
The industrial building has stayed intact, but Calabrese says that they’ve given it a new skin.
The Southwest connection comes from Calabrese and Winkler’s experience catering to the airline company
“We’ve been friends with people from Southwest for over 10 years,” Calabrese notes. “I have some friends where our daughters go to school together.”
The smokehouse-themed restaurant will serve everything from sliced brisket to brisket melts, to kimchi burgers, to a seared tuna salad. The executive chef will be Rhett Dukes, who currently runs Social Pie’s kitchen. The menu is still in the works of being finalized, but there will for sure be a lot of bourbon and whiskey.
For local beers, Calabrese says that they’ll have a bit of everything, but definitely Peticolas. “It’s my own mandate that we have Peticolas.” And of course, “there’s always Revolver.”
The Maple Landing Duo
Business partners Calabrese and Winkler have been doing this for a long time. Calabrese jokes that sometimes they ask themselves why they went into this crazy business, but they love it.
The two met playing basketball at a recreation center in Plano in 1995.
“We almost got into fist fights,” jokes Calabrese. Winkler is from the East Coast and Calabrese grew up in Chicago so they felt a camaraderie about being newbies in Texas.
“We’re kind of like brothers,” says Calabrese.
They fell in love with their new state and bringing good eats to different pockets of Dallas. After being in Uptown for almost 20 years, they wanted to also do their thing in the Medical District. They opened Social Pie in 2016 and, even with the addition of Maple Landing, want to expand further.
“I’d like to have a coffee shop or Tex-Mex restaurant in the area,” Calabrese says.
Maple Landing will aim to achieve Green Certification, like Social Pie, and has the same goal as all of Calabrese and Winkler’s other restaurants. Along with being a good-service neighborhood restaurant and bar, they “want to employ as many people as possible and support families.”
That’s part of their business culture. They’ll be closing all of their restaurants early on February 10 for a big employee appreciation party.