Cedar and Vine: ‘There will always be something new to try’

Cedar and Vine owners Jimmy Cannon, Brandon Carter and Sam Howard

What happens when a bunch of Lake Highlands graduates in their mid-thirties return to the neighborhood after finishing college and traveling the world to settle down and raise families of their own?

They open Cedar & Vine.

Cedar & Vine Community Kitchen + Cocktails is in the space once occupied by Neighbors Casual Kitchen and Highlands Café at Walnut Hill and Audelia. I sat down for a chat with former Moss Haven classmates Brandon Carter and Jimmy Cannon – Carter is the numbers guy and Cannon handles staff – and with Scofield grad Sam Howard, the foodie.  (LHHS 2002 grads Feild and Natalie Patten, owners of Patten Custom Homes and builders on the project, were with us in spirit.)

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The guys say they know Lake Highlands is ready for something new, and they’re working hard to ensure loyal customers won’t tire of returning to C&V for repeat visits.

“There will always be something new to try,” says Howard. “We’re using a fresh fish wholesaler in Lake Highlands, and we’ll have rotating flatbreads, homemade pastas and other things on the menu that will keep people guessing. We’re not Seasons 52, but we will have seasonal ingredients, like this month’s butternut squash soup and peas and asparagus in the spring.”

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Cocktails and beers will rotate, too, including infused liquors, drink specials and beers on tap.

You can check out their complete food menu here and drink menu here.

“People our age are eating in all these restaurants in Uptown, downtown and Lower Greenville,” says Carter, “and they’re going to really cool bars and asking, ‘where is that around here?’ It just didn’t exist, so we created it.”

Friends their age also have kids, and Howard says dealing with “the kid issue” was something the group took seriously.

“We spent a lot of time talking about ‘What is kid-friendly?’ In order to be in this neighborhood we have to be kid-friendly, and we will be – we have a play area in the front and we’ll have a kid’s menu, high chairs and changing station. We want families to feel comfortable coming here, but we also want empty nesters in the neighborhood to feel just as comfortable coming for date night.”

“MiCocina at Lakewood is a great example,” agrees Carter. “At 5:15 the place is full of families. By 7:30 it transforms into a date night place. It’s a completely different vibe.”

“We also want to be a place people can stop off on their way home from dinner at another location,” says Cannon. “They can have dessert or one last drink close to home.”

It’s important to them, too, to give back.

“Since we’re all from here, we want to be a part of the community,” says Carter. “We plan to have Spirit Nights and events, similar to what Tom Goodale at Atomic Pie has done. In fact, we’ve spoken to him about partnerships, and we’re hoping to host a pre-party or post-party for [Exchange Club of Lake Highlands] Oktoberfest. We want to give back.”

When sitting down to formulate their plan, the group admits they reminisced a bit about their old haunts.

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“I had my 12th birthday at Picasso’s,” recalls Cannon, clarifying that the Picasso’s of his youth was the restaurant’s original location, north of LBJ. The friends also frequented the original Chili’s on Greenville, Sweet Temptations, Tiger Bull’s, Joe Willy’s, Olympic Pizza, Mother Mesquite’s, Bobo China, Houston’s and Gershwin’s. They spent some time, too, at the recently shuttered Taco Bueno at Whitehurst and Skillman, “but more for the parking lot teen scene than for the food.”

I asked if the planned Lakeridge Village across Audelia will work for – or against them.

“You can’t eat at Cedar & Vine every day of the week,” says Cannon. “You need other options in the neighborhood, and the more business we can bring to the area, the better. We want to keep dollars in Lake Highlands. We want to get people who live outside of Lake Highlands coming in. We want to make Lake Highlands the dining scene. “

Cedar & Vine is open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week in Lake Highlands Plaza, 9661 Audelia.

Cedar and Vine bar
Cedar and Vine outdoor play area
Cedar and Vine restaurant
Cedar and Vine patio
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  • Rick Radford

    Must say I completely agree with Tommy Vo and Logical Observer as to their comments. NOTHING is more off-putting than going to a restaurant and having to contend with OTHER PEOPLE’S ILL-MANNERED children. If I had behaved like a lot of kids do today, I would simply have been left at home with a sitter. Sorry to be David downer, but when your children are rude, loud, and disruptive, they are NOT cute or special, or anything else but rude, loud and disruptive.

    As to poorly trained staff. Dallas has one of the most difficult to succeed in restaurant markets in America. You have to be on top of your game open to close. Using myself as a guide, I don’t care if you have the best food in the world, if your staff is unable or unwilling to represent your restaurant in the best possible light, we won’t be back. I don’t expect perfection, but is it too much to ask for competence and concern for the patron? I realize that those same patrons can be a real pain in the rear end and sometimes it is necessary to fire those customers. Yes it is a two-way street, but you have to be on your game.

    Good luck to the new venture, I hope it is a great success.

  • vburnette

    We are looking forward to another meal at C & V !!!!! Blessings to you! Joe and Ginny/Gram

  • Tommy Wo

    Please avoid the curse of bad customer service that seems to afflict nearly every restaurant in Lake Highlands. It’s a shame that so many venues in this neighborhood serve great food, only to be sabotaged by substandard wait staff. I’m not railing against high school students at all, but if you’re going to employ them please make sure that they are fully trained and motivated enough to effectively engage their customers. Nor is this trend limited to teenagers; there seem to be a lot of first-time wait staff that works in this neighborhood. Visit any decent restaurant in Dallas (especially those that have been around for years) and you’ll quickly see that their service is at the high end of the totem pole.

  • LogicalObserver

    This place looks awesome. Please guys. Do yourselves and your patrons a favor and DO NOT ALLOW screaming kids to run around unattended. Several people I know are actually avoiding going to Shadys now for this reason.
    We tried to eat there with our family on a recent Thursday and kids were running around in and outside of the restaurant climbing and almost snapping the small trees out front and running rampant through the parking lot while their oblivious neighborhood parents sat enjoying THEIR meals and drinks while the entire rest of the establishment suffered.
    This was several families w kids who had the kids sit separately from them so that THEY could relax.
    Again. Several people that I know who also have kids and DO NOT ALLOW THEM TO RUIN OTHERS’ meals, are now avoid going there.
    Am hoping people read this post. Pleade be adults and monitor your kids and teach them basic restaurant manners.