Photography by Kathy Tran

Customers can expect a new food experience each time they visit Carver Park. 

The restaurant nestled in an office building in Vickery Meadow serves a variety of dishes, sides, salads, pastas and sandwiches, but is not anchored to just one cuisine. 

Owner and chef James Rowland’s aims for Carver Park to be a new presentation of various fine dining dishes, but with a more affordable price tag. Rowland specializes in roasted and braised meats and crafted sauces. 

The restaurant offers a new menu daily. Some of the most popular options among customers have been salads, briskets and Latin foods. Ethiopian meals, inspired by Rowland’s Ethiopian wife, are also popular with Carver Park’s pop ups around Dallas.

“It’s a good little theater of food,” he says. “When you stick to a cuisine, per say, you’re kind of locked in.”

Rowland did not attend culinary school, but he cooked his way through college by serving a variety of families. He then moved to Dallas to figure out his next step after graduating college in 1981.

“When I came down here, I got to work with probably some of the most dynamic chefs that there were at the time,” he says.

He was a chef across Europe, the U.S. and Dallas, including with the Dallas Nationals and The Crescent.

“What I bring to Carver is a huge amount of experience,” he says.

The opportunity to open Carver Park came along in 2014 after he was cooking for the Miami Heat.

Rowland had options to open the restaurant in northern Dallas suburbs, but he wanted Carver Park to be more centrally located. Even better, the space he chose along Rambler Road was ripe for growth.

“There were fields when I started, and now you see all these really nice living dwellings, apartments and condominiums popping up relatively quickly,” Rowland says.

Creating a shared experience with customers is key. The clientele often decides what becomes a signature menu item.

“It’s as easy as discussing with your guests as they’re coming in,” he says. “You build up that trust and that really starts showcasing things.”

The greens that accompany Carver Parks’s main dishes are essential. Rowland says he gets his freshest ingredients from Chef’s Produce, a Dallas wholesaler.

“The vegetable sides and the salad sides of what we do and how we handle lettuce still becomes one of the hallmarks of what our food is about,” he says. “Meat is meat, fish is a little bit more passionate to cook with, but really the integral part is being able to balance meals together.”

The pandemic caused Rowland to take a step back and think of new experiences to offer clientele. Carver Park started recently opening for brunch and is working toward opening for dinner.

The chef says he will continue to pull from his previous experiences to inspire more changes and upgrades to Carver Park.

“Whatever I’ve done in my past always influences what I do as early as tomorrow and certainly what I’m doing in two weeks,” Rowland says.

Carver Park, 7557 Rambler Road, 214.363.1201, www.carverdfw.com