Welcome to the Scene Report, a column in which Eater captures the vibe of a Dallas restaurant or bar at a specific moment in time.
Regulars noticed when The Porch, a Henderson Avenue staple for 15 years, closed in January. But fortunately, the closure was only temporary to give the restaurant and bar a facelift. The spruced-up space reopened in March with a climate-controlled front porch, a new beer garden running along the side of the building, and a couple interior updates. More noticeable is the bar menu, which got a revamp from Midnight Rambler’s Gabe Sanchez (both concepts are owned by Headington Companies), and the food menu, which features a handful of new items alongside plenty of old favorites.
I swung by on a rainy Tuesday to check out the revitalized space, sample the menu, and take advantage of ‘Tini Tuesday, in which the bar’s freezer martini is just $2.
Walking into the space feels familiar but with more pops of color courtesy of the Porch’s new booths — green in the dining room, and orange horseshoe-shaped numbers opposite the bar. On this particular Tuesday, the restaurant was about one-third full, with couples cozied into booths, a few tables of friend groups, and several people seated at the bar. It was quieter than expected, but it’s safe to assume the rain kept some potential customers from venturing out of the house.
Some diners were dressed up, but most of the clientele was casual. The atmosphere is unpretentious but nice enough to stop in after work or for a dressier night out on the weekend. A playlist spun modern pop and rock at a modest volume that kept conversation easy.
On the menu
The all-day menu is a hit parade of comfort foods, with starters including spinach-parmesan dip, tortilla soup, and a giant pretzel served with whipped butter and beer mustard. That focus carries over to the larger plates: a couple of burgers, a club sandwich, chicken fried steak, and short rib stroganoff with pappardelle, to name a few.
The pretzel is soft and pillowy, an ideal companion to cold beer. The Porch burger is classic and satisfying, cooked to your desired temp and topped with cheese and fresh veggies. The stroganoff leans rich and hearty, and is perhaps better shared than as a solo dish. And the surprise standout is the grilled salmon bowl. A bed of coconut citrus rice is topped with perfectly cooked salmon, edamame, pickled carrots, cucumber, radish, scallion, mango pico, and avocado nori aioli.
What to drink
Get the martini. It’s made with gin, blanc vermouth, and Salers, a gentian root-laced French aperitif. It’s a fine martini at its regular, not-Tuesday price of $16. But for $2, it’s the best martini in town. Since it’s available all day on Tuesdays, you could reasonably rekindle the Mad Men-era three-martini lunch, although that’s only recommended if you have nothing else to do that day.
If martinis aren’t your thing, the cocktail menu is stocked with classics like an Old Fashioned, Negroni, and margarita, plus a few originals, and the pepper smash, a callback to the same-named gin and red bell pepper cocktail served at the dearly departed Victor Tangos, which once lived across the street. The menu also features five mocktails, plus a solid wine selection.
Best seat in the house
Couples and groups will be comfortable in the booths. Solo diners should post up at the long bar, where they can watch a game or chat with the friendly bartenders between bites.
Go here for
$2 martinis on Tuesdays. It might not be as quiet every Tuesday as it was on this rainy day, but even if it is, you get a comfortable and potentially overlooked spot to sip martinis on a weeknight. Otherwise, the revamped Porch is an amenable spot for all occasions. You can just as easily take your mom to brunch as you can take a date out for dinner and drinks.