The Porch’s regulars — and there are many — won’t notice much change at the renovated Henderson Avenue restaurant when it reopens on March 6, 2023, in Dallas. The facelift was purposefully subtle: new booths; a better bar; and some reincarnated dishes moved over from the menu at Wheelhouse, a related restaurant in the Dallas Design District that closed during the pandemic.
The Porch remains a popular place for brunch, lunch and dinner – as it has been in Dallas for 15 years.
The most significant update while the restaurant was closed for eight weeks is the cocktail menu, which was redesigned by bartender Gabe Sanchez. The Porch’s parent company Headington hired Sanchez in 2021 after the Black Swan Saloon closed. Cocktails at The Porch range from “no proof” to “low proof” to iced teas and full-spirit cocktails.
And as everyone seems to do, The Porch focuses on its martinis. Here, it’s half-price martinis ($8) all day on Tuesdays, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
They also sell giant pretzels, made at the Commissary in downtown Dallas, served with sweet honey and beer mustard. The pretzels were loved at the Wheelhouse.
To promote the idea that The Porch can be a drinking den, they give out free late-night popcorn at the bar on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays after 6pm. 10 p.m. The kitchen will stay open until midnight as an aid to those who hang around at bars nearby on Henderson Avenue.
As for the food, when we asked Coner Seargeant, director of culinary and concepts for Headington, what was kicked off the menu, his answer was “not much.” A section of “classics” shows favorites such as Beef Stroganoff. Throughout the menu, the famous spinach parmesan dip, roasted tomato soup, four-cheese grilled cheese and smoked mac and cheese have returned.
“We want something for everyone,” says Seargeant.
It’s a take-your-mother kind of place. And so does Seargeant.
Executive Chef Dalia Rivera and her team added chili and tortilla soup to the menu. The tortilla soup is thick, smoky and spicy – not thin and brothy.
A main course of roasted salmon with carrot puree has a new salsa verde on it.
Boardroom favorites abound on The Porch’s menu, with Trout Dip, Brisket Tacos and the Standard Burger – a double double with “fancy sauce” on a poppy seed bun. That burger replaced The Porch’s Stodg, a cheeseburger with bacon and a fried egg that seemed too over the top in the new version of the restaurant.
And why the playback to Wheelhouse? The Headington staff loved the menu. While the team has no immediate plans to reopen Wheelhouse elsewhere, it’s not off the table one day, says Headington marketing manager Jeny Bania.
The Veranda has been closed since January 9, 2023, and Bania says employees were paid while the restaurant was closed. Servers attended cocktail classes with Sanchez while Seargeant’s team redesigned the food menu.
The porch has also received a new porch, but it is not the most notable part of the exterior. It has a new outdoor seating area on the side of the building, facing the Tei Tei Robata Bar. It’s the bit of sidewalk you’d use if you parked behind the building or crossed from the M streets and probably wondered “am I in the right place?”
Now this area is much more comfortable and acts as a new front door.
“I’m ready to live up to our name and have the best front porch in Dallas again,” says General Manager Dominique Jafari.
Many brunch warriors will turn to the cocktail list first. Of course there are mimosas, available by the glass or carafe. There’s also a $30 option called the Snooze Button: four mini espresso martinis that will either send Dallasites down the street to more bars or home for a nap.
The Porch is at 2912 N. Henderson Ave., Dallas. It was closed from 9 January 2023 to 6 March 2023. Open seven days a week. Food also available to go.