Actor turned restaurateur to bring a buzzy new restaurant to Tanglewood: A better Barnaby's?
"It's gonna be a cool little spot."
That's how Shepard Ross, the former actor turned restaurateur describes The Del. Set to open in next spring, The Del is the latest project from Ross's Studewood Hospitality Group, which is the same group that owns Glass Wall and Brooklyn Athletic Club (Ross is involved with other business partners for Pax Americana).
While the interior will be completely redone, Ross says he found the patio, which should seat about 65 people, particularly appealing.
Ross says the project came to fruition when his partners asked for a concept similar to those they had invested in for the neighborhood they live in. "They've been going to the same Carrabba's and Escalante forever," Ross says, and they're ready for something new.
Enter The Del, which will go into a spot that used to house Taste of Lebanon (as Eater Houston first reported). Ross describes the space as "a box with a patio we can work with." While the interior will be completely redone, Ross says he found the patio, which should seat about 65 people, particularly appealing.
Once the physical transformation is complete, the food and beverage programs will be designed to fill in what's missing in that part of Tanglewood and Memorial. "You have to take care of your neighborhood first," Ross says. "That model can help you survive economic ups and downs."
Ultimately, The Del will blend BAC's family friend atmosphere courtesy of a "rec deck" that offers games and Glass Wall's more upscale atmosphere. In an ideal world, future customers would feel equally comfortable bringing their kids in after soccer for burgers and bocce on Saturday afternoon and coming back that night on a date for steaks and wine.
The Del will also feature a solid wine selection and craft cocktails. "They want a good bar. That's the missing component over there," Ross explains. "The Palm is too stuffy."
As for the menu, Ross expects to bring some favorites from both BAC and Glass Wall, but the basic structure will be grounded in high quality ingredients and mostly familiar flavors. "We want to be like a better version of Barnaby's," Ross explains. "Our clientele that we've built has certain expectations regarding quality of ingredients and elevated techniques."
While Ross acknowledges that the concept doesn't really need a chef, he is considering bringing in a culinary director for the Studewood Hospitality Group who could oversee all three concepts and set the tone for whatever future projects the group may consider.
Tanglewood has long been prosperous. Now it's set to house a solid neighborhood restaurant. People of Memorial Area Trading, are you interested?