One of 2021’s best new restaurants will soon add a second location. Garden Oaks restaurant d’Alba Craft Kitchen & Cocktails is coming to Midtown.
Opened last September by hospitality veteran Daut Elshani and chef Geoff Hundt (Local Foods, Benjy’s), d’Alba’s eclectic menu and welcoming atmosphere have made it a hit, including winning Best New Restaurant in the 2022 CultureMap Tastemaker Awards.
When the opportunity presented itself to add a second location in the space currently occupied by Beer Market Co. (3004 Milam), Elshani says he realized it made sense.
As for Beer Market, the craft beer-oriented sports bar and restaurant will have its last day of service this Sunday, July 31. After a series of renovations, Elshani plans to open the new d’Alba in November.
Midtown is a neighborhood Elshani knows well. Prior to going out on his own to open both d’Alba and downtown’s Underground Hall, he held a partnership in the group that operated bars such as Beer Market, Pub Fiction, and Third Floor. He sees a lot of opportunity in serving area residents, particularly the young professionals who live in Midtown, Montrose, and downtown.
“I’m quite familiar with Midtown from previous concepts there,” he says. “[The nightlife crowd] is only more noticeable on the weekends. During the week, dining is very sought after, especially if you’re delivering great service and fresh cuisine. I think it will be a hit.”
Diners can expect a similar atmosphere to d’Alba’s existing location, with an expansive patio and an environment that’s flexible enough to accommodate both family dinners and more intimate date nights. Renovations will include removing almost all of the TVs as well as creating a semi-private dining area that Elshani hopes will serve as a venue for business lunches and dinners.
The menu will be essentially identical to what Hundt offers in Garden Oaks. A meal at d’Alba may start with shareable items such as spinach and artichoke dip, roasted cauliflower, and campechana. Entrees include pizzas, pastas, salads, and heartier entrees such as blackened salmon, steak with salsa verde, and confit chicken thighs.
Overall, Elshani expresses optimism about the opening. He notes that Midtown has a higher population density than Garden Oaks and sees the success of area staples such as Weights + Measure and Traveler’s Table as proof that casual restaurants with first-rate food will find a following. It could be the start of more to come.
“We’ve built a strong team,” Elshani says. “We’re continuing to add on more members to our operations. We’ll see where we take on with this next adventure.”