East Downtown is on the rise. Already home to a mix of intriguing bars, restaurants, and breweries that are luring diners from across the city, new establishments are arriving that are aimed at making the neighborhood a more comfortable place to live.
Leeland House is one such establishment. Recently-opened in the space that formerly housed Arlo’s Ballroom, the neighborhood cafe is the latest project by restaurateur Cheryl Crider’s Neighborhood Hospitality, the bar and restaurant group behind Bar 5015, Down The Street, and Leeland’s neighbor Around The Corner.
“It’s a neighborhood bistro and bar where we serve handcrafted food,” manager Ashley Apple tells CultureMap. “Everything is made in-house. We have a really intimate feeling here.”
That intimate feeling starts with the cafe’s size, which only has room for about 40 diners, and continues with the design. All vestiges of Arlo’s (r.i.p., giant mirrorball) have been replaced with a cozy, Southern-inspired feel. A screened-in patio (still under construction) will provide space for both additional dining in nice weather and a space for private events.
Currently, the cafe is open for breakfast and lunch during the week and brunch on the weekends. Both the breakfast and lunch menus skew classic with options like creme brulee French toast and shrimp and grits in the morning and a selection of salads and sandwiches at lunch.
Beginning in a couple of weeks, Apple says that Leeland House will roll out a happy hour menu of shareable items like charcuterie boards and fondue that are designed to highlight the cafe’s wine offerings. Chef Hoffman is working on heartier options for dinner.
Being located next to Around the Corner would seem to put the two concepts in competition with each other, but Apple says they’re intended to be symbiotic. For example, a diner could go to Leeland House after work for a glass of wine and then walk next door for steak night. Ultimately, the company sees an opportunity for events that unite the two concepts — think movie nights or live music in the space between them — but for now, the focus is on making sure Leeland House develops its own identity.
“I think they serve different purposes in the neighborhood,” Apple says. “Around the Corner is your kind of relaxing hangout bar for steak night. It’s more of a bar’s bar, whereas (Leeland House) is more restaurant, bistro, coffee. You can come here with your laptop, relax, work here if you need to.”
Leeland House, 2119 Leeland St.; Monday through Friday 6:30 am to 2 pm; Saturday and Sunday 8 am to 3 pm