Revelers soaking up Fashion Houston’s after-parties were turned away from DORSIA Thursday night, as the new private restaurant and lounge contended with an eight-foot-deep hole in its parking lot.
Measuring three feet across and 40 feet in length, the massive trench was created to make way for a fire prevention system required by the Houston Fire Department. Before Friday’s scheduled 7 p.m. opening, the restaurant-lounge plans to remove tall piles of dirt and cover the hole with steel plates to eliminate the safety hazard.
“Neil Hamil [Fashion Houston creative director] called last night to bring a group of people here after the fashion shows,” says Kalon Joseph Reid McMahon, DORSIA’s vice president of business development. “It broke my heart to have to turn them away.”
“When one of our guests sips a glass of $1,600 wine, you don’t want to spill it on your $4,000 suit after a dancing twentysomething bumps into you,” McMahon says.
Since its soft preview opening several weeks ago, DORSIA has worked through the countless issues that arise in the early phases of opening a restaurant or lounge. Even today, McMahon says, construction workers will oversee a last-minute design revision to the bar area.
“The fire system installation was never scheduled with a specific date, so we didn’t know when the dig would happen,” says general manager Cory Graff. Earlier outdoor plumbing work went quickly, so the magnitude of this project came as a surprise to the owners.
“Our general contractor gets all this done,” Graff says. “Once they hook up the water, it could be a couple more weeks until the work’s approved by the city.”
For the time being, DORSIA will continue to waive it members-only policy in an effort to reach new patrons interested in a high-end, but low-key private club. Membership — which includes access to personalized chef-driven menus, state-of-the-art wine lockers, and exotic car rentals — is slated to take effect sometime in the next month.
“This is an establishment geared towards gentlemen aged 30 to 60,” McMahon explains, stressing that DORSIA will operate like a traditional members-only club or a supper club, not a dance club. “When one of our guests sips a glass of $1,600 wine, you don’t want to spill it on your $4,000 suit after a dancing twentysomething bumps into you.”