In the first few weeks after opening its doors, District 9 Draught Haus smells new. The owners haven’t quite figured out what height to keep the blinds to block the sun, but that hasn’t stopped a small crowd of regulars from finding their bar stools by 4 p.m.
The bar is a Thompson family affair. On a Wednesday afternoon, Andy is cooking on the line. Dana greets customers and sweeps the floor. Their son pours pints behind the bar, and their daughter helps where she can. It’s a different lifestyle than Andy experienced in his younger years as a member of The Buck Pets, an alt band in the late ’80s. Andy and Dana wanted something they could do as a family.
DID YOU KNOW: Customers should order food and drink at the bar and it will be brought out to their table.
Their first family venture was a country store in Virginia where Andy perfected his bratwurst recipe. That is also where they created their Reuben sandwich, a recipe with a cult following that they brought to Dallas with them.
“In Virginia we had a pretty big meat counter business. That’s when Andy started developing his own recipe for bratwurst,” Dana says.
Since then, brats have developed a special place in the Thompson family.
“Brat is like bread and butter on the table. It’s so common that I don’t think of it as special. You have to have it on the table.”
The couple almost bought a spot in Deep Ellum but decided against it.
“We want to be in the neighborhood,” Dana says. “District 9 Draught Haus seems to be very much a place where you can come have conversations with neighbors and talk about what’s going on. That’s what we wanted, and it seems like that’s what’s happening.”
Dana had a little advice for those on New Year’s diets who might shy away from fatty meat and beer: “A little sausage never hurt anybody. I think happiness is more important than the scale. There’s something so valuable in just being happy. This sort of food and this beer, that’s what it brings you, happiness.”
TRY THIS: The Reuben sandwich, with sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing and Swiss cheese is a favorite.