The lowdown on what’s up with neighborhood businesses

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Is it here yet? Is it here yet?

The Dallas Arboretum is preparing for the grand opening of its $56 million children’s science garden, which will occupy eight acres of the arboretum’s north end near the amphitheater overlooking White Rock Lake. “Nowhere in the world is there anything like this. There are lots of children’s gardens, but we took it so many steps further,” says Dallas Arboretum vice president of education Maria Conroy. The Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden is in its final stages, according to a letter from head of construction John Armstrong. “Once construction is complete, the Arboretum’s horticultural staff will begin a period of additional horticultural embellishment.” He says 1,150 new trees have been planted in the children’s garden alone. Arboretum officials say they hope the garden will be complete by May, but uncooperative weather could push the date back until June, or possibly as late as September.
Dallas Arboretum, 8525 Garland, 214.515.6500

White Rock area readies for new transit-oriented development

Businesses are moving around at West Lawther and Northwest Highway, where plans are in the works to build a 350-unit apartment and/or condo development alongside the DART White Rock Station. North of Northwest Highway, Duncan’s liquor and beverage stores have closed, but, according to signage in the window, will take the business across the street and rename it Liquor Depot Express. The new liquor store will inhabit a building between Dallas Bike Works and Lake House restaurant. Casey’s, the lawn equipment store, also has vacated the property, but, as a spray painted board on the fence reads, they have relocated to 11426 E. Northwest.
Liquor Depot Express, 4881 W. Lawther

Lawyer plans White Rock-area wine bistro

It didn’t take long for someone to snatch up the White Rock-area restaurant space following the February closing of Café Lago, after its owner Gabriela Kovacic announced her retirement from the dining business. Jennifer Rodriguez, an attorney with longtime aspirations to open a wine garden, signed a lease the following weekend. She plans to open Urban Vines Wine Bistro in the Garland Road venue. “I love the wine-bar concept. I enjoy going to [wine bars], and I’ve always thought, ‘one day I’d like to do that.’ This was the ideal location,” she says. “After hearing about the opportunity, I thought, ‘it’s now or never’. It all happened very fast.” As for food, Rodriguez plans to sublease the kitchen to two women who run a successful catering business.
Urban Vines Wine Bistro, 9219 Garland Road

Easier access to nearby beer and burgers

The Lot, a new bar-and-grill concept south of White Rock Lake, which replaces the Backyard Beach Bar, opened in February. The place, which features a menu by local-celebrity chef Sharon Hage, will soon be accessible from the Santa Fe Trail, owner John McBride says, meaning one could ride a bike from Lake Highlands to The Lot via the White Rock Trail to Santa Fe Trail.
The Lot, 7530 East Grand, 214.321.1990

Looks like success is in the bag

Cykochik handbags

Cykochik handbags

Lake Highlands-based designer Nikki Duong Koenig is the chick in Cykochik, her custom-made, socially and environmentally responsible handbag-and-accessory business that recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. But the SMU alumna doesn’t always think up her bizarre and brilliant designs solo. She employs the collaboration of local artists as well as social media interaction, bringing in a team of uber-creative contributors to submit samples and allowing Cykochik Facebook fans to vote for their favorites. For her next line — Artist Series 3 — Koenig is running a Kickstarter campaign in hopes of taking her business to the next level.