It’s hard to say what namesake Teddy Roosevelt would think of The Theodore, but it certainly looks like somewhere he’d hang out. With its dark-paneled bar, over-stuffed blue velvet arm chairs and hunting-inspired décor, it’s a bit like stepping back in time.
“It’s all about creating an atmosphere, an energy,” says chef/owner Tim Byres. “We set up the story of the place and then fill in the details of the menu.”
Byres is one of Dallas’ wunderkind chefs who has cooked at the White House and seems to have the Midas touch with his Smoke barbecue brand in Oak Cliff and Plano. But it wasn’t always that way. Before Smoke, he was divorced and had just shuttered his restaurants Standard and Standard 2706. He was disenchanted.
“I decided I was either going to be a food stylist, or I’d make soap and sell it at the farmers market,” he laughs. But then he felt the spark of his childhood passion for what he calls “the spirit of hospitality,” the reason he became a chef.
“I wanted to make a place where people could just hang out,” he says. And so he and some partners built his rustic and well-reviewed Smoke, where meat is cooked over an open flame.
His success there had the folks at NorthPark Center calling. They were looking for a new restaurateur to bring some culinary flair to the chain-based mall’s eatery options. It was a different community from laid-back Oak Cliff, a chance for Byres to explore a new side of his eclectic personality.
You’ll find dishes that Byres describes as “the classic American food story,” including pot pies, beef tenderloin and a plethora of pizzas. Cocktails are crafted from fresh fruit and herbs, each named for different national park in honor of Roosevelt’s work.
The restaurant opens like Pandora’s box to expose space after space, from a private dining room tucked into a hidden bookshelf to the gold-dusted celestial room. Nearly everything you see on the walls was hand-painted with painstaking attention to detail.
“I really like the idea of smells when you first walk in, so that’s where the bakery comes in,” Byres says of the attached full-production bakery.
Ambiance: Sleek and vintage
Price Range: $15-$30
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m.-11p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Did you know: The black and white bow-pattern in the hallway was hand-drawn with Sharpie, lots and lots of Sharpies.