Chef John Tesar

Chef John Tesar’s Spoon Bar & Kitchen

Obviously, I was looking forward to the opening of Chef John Tesar's Spoon Bar & Kitchen in Preston Center for some time.

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Everyone knows John and I are buddies – (I have no financial interest in the
restaurant, however I have consulted on certain design elements).
Regardless, it is my opinion that Spoon is excellent and is another
important chapter in the renaissance of the Dallas dining scene.

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As the critics chime in (Dallas Observer, Modern Luxury, Dallas Morning News) the consensus has been extremely positive – I concur …and I get around. This place is good.
But critics are not always able to experience a restaurant with the depth afforded a devoted, food obsessed patron.

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With that in mind, I'll do what I do best – here are a bunch of
pictures from some of the many meals I've enjoyed at Spoon, along with my trademark sentence fragments:

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Spoon already has a crowd of devoted regulars and still sees its share
of curious customers looking for a glimpse of the deftly crafted
character Tesar has created and Top Chef promoted – "The Most Hated Chef
in Dallas."

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^Crudos

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^L: Oyster and Truffle Stew

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^L: Lobster Pot Pie

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^ Remarkable Smoked Sturgeon Head Cheese.

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Sommelier Sabrina Snodderley's wine program features interesting and nicely priced
selections that match wonderfully with the food. John and Sabrina
continue to add depth to the White Burgundy program – music to my ears.

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Tesar's passion and pedigree are reflected in the constantly evolving
menu of exceptional seafood dishes as well as other "Not Fish"
selections (not pictured, lol.)

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The recent addition of David Collier as pastry chef completes the meal in an artful manner – creative, whimsical and delicious:

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To be sure, Tesar has his fair share of haters, and now – many more devotees. He is without question an outstanding seafood chef.

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Spoon is easily one of the most important and exceptional new
Dallas restaurants to open in some time. The city's diners, critics, and even bloggers need to support and
encourage more of this passionate risk-taking and attention to detail –
not
less. …and the place also has a cool logo.

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Spoon Bar & Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Dallas’ John Tesar, Danyele McPherson, and Joshua Valentine on Top Chef Season 10 in Seattle. Let the fur fly!

The Bravo details:

http://www.bravotv.com/blogs/the-dish/top-chef-season-10-is-coming-your-way

 

“… is everybody in? The ceremony is about to begin.”

This is about to get crazy all up in here.

Chef John Tesar’s Premiere Dinner at The Table – Dallas

Check this out:

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JT knew what he was doing when he conceived a new use for this space adjoining his buzzing The Commissary at One Arts Plaza. Another magical room emerges in Dallas.

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^ Some friends gather for Chef John Tesar’s Premiere Dinner at The Table on May 2. As it was a Monday we were joined by the Uygur’s from Lucia, The Mansion‘s Bruno Davaillon and Michael Flynn, Tim Byres of Smoke, and One Arts Plaza neighbor Tei-An‘s Teiichi Sakurai (That’s a ghostly Scott Barber at right, doing somm duties this evening).

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^ a nod to a Tesar favorite, Mugaritz. …obviously we “submit.”

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The Table will feature canapés, 4 – 6 courses, cheese, pre-dessert, dessert, and candy cart. Tonight we were treated to 13 courses – I mean, how often do we get THIS group together for dinner…?

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^ canapés: fava bean and pecorino salad; Spicer’s pumpkin blossom with Paula’s riccotta; molten foie gras ball; seared tuna; clam consommé.

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^ bread from Empire Bakery; and the amuse-bouche – octopus salad.

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^ oyster consommé with american sturgeon caviar; and faux cuttle fish pasta with iberico pork and lemon fondue – raves.

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^ seared diver scallop and beef tongue with mint salsa verde; and little neck clam and honj meni mushroom risotto with fine herbs and clam emulsion.

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The Table concept is a reimaginning of Tesar’s Chef’s Table at The Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek – for a different time. Elegant, approachable – casual and fun. And priced at a discount.

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^ a mid course: fried duck egg in brown butter with white oregon truffles; and pork belly with uni, lardo, shiso and white oregon truffles.

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^ butter poached lobster with melted leeks, port syrup and raw foie gras; and whole roasted sweet breads with Spicer’s micros, shaved truffles and truffle vinaigrette.

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^ artisanal cheeses!

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^ Pastry chef Corey Thomson’s pre-dessert: strawberry panna cotta with roasted strawberries and strawberry foam; and dessert: yuzu and lime tart with green tea ice cream.

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Corey bagging candy to go.

Nice. The Table begins.

The Commissary: Chef John Tesar’s Burgers and More – Dallas

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The Commissary in One Arts Plaza opened on the 20th, so I ran by and took some snaps of the goods.

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^ My pal John Tesar makin’ it happen in The Commissary kitchen.

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^ Opening Night: they hit the ground running!

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Commence drooling.

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^ The Farmer: fried duck egg and speck on brioche bun with eschire butter and white Vermont cheddar. This is so stupid good – resistance is futile.

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^ The Dallas: roasted poblanos and pepper jack cheese and BBQ sauce on a sesame seed bun; ^ The Rib braised short rib, collard greens horseradish mayo on brioche bun.

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^ The Magic Burger: aged cheddar, apple wood smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, red onion and pickles on a toasted English muffin.

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^ The Tail End: braised pigs tail, ground pork, ground beef, and topped with roasted pork belly, green tomato chutney and jalapeño mayonnaise on a brioche bun; and the ^ The BIG TEX: ancho chili rubbed, salsa cruda, avocado relish and pickled jalapeños with chipotle mayo on a sesame seed bun.

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^ Tempura Onion Rings; ^ Jalapeño Fries – Disco Style (big hit with our table).

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Another ^ Dallas; and ^ Big Tex.

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^ West Coast: lettuce, tomato, avocado, jack cheese and bacon with Special Sauce on a sesame seed bun; and another ^ The Farmer – just because it’s so awesome.

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^ Yes, please.

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^ KOBE Beef Hot Dog with chili, cheese, onions and sauerkraut; and the ^ Commissary Grilled Cheese: chiabta bread, mezzo seco, cave aged gruyere and fromage blanc fines herbs.

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^ Classic Caesar with Parmesan crouton; ^ Paula Lambert mozzarella, vine ripe tomato, basil pesto, and Spicer arugula.

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^ Guac; and ^ Parmesan Popcorn.

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^ Corn meal fried Oysters; ^ JT’s Mac & Cheese.

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^ Tartare Tostada; ^ White Lasagna with fried eggplant and Paula’s ricotta cheese. 

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^ Mortadella Spuma with grilled Tuscan bread crostini; and a Salumi Plate.

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Pastry Chef Corey Thomson’s ^ Lemon Tart with Toasted Meringue & Lemon Ice Cream; and ^ Pistachio & Strawberry Financier with Strawberry Ice Cream. (also a Chocolate & Hazelnut tart with Caramelized Bananas & Chocolate Sorbet in the BG.)

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^ some of Sommelier Scott Barber’s selections.

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^ The kitchen is open Late Night; and a look at “The Table,” Tesar’s Chef’s Room – coming in May.

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This place rocks… One Arts Plaza‘s brilliant Tei-An has a cool new neighbor.

The Commissary - Dallas on Urbanspoon

Chef John Tesar’s The Commissary “Industry” Preview – Dallas

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Life returns to the once dormant corner of One Arts Plaza as The Commissary is born.

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The space is open and bright in daylight.

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^ Barman extraordinaire Michael Martensen has created Wine Cocktails, Sangrias and Punch Bowls. Here he whips up a new concoction featuring some of these excellent selections.

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^ Martensen and consulting sommelier Scott Barber enjoy a sip; "Industry" types enjoy their Monday off (Lucia's David Uygur with Michael Flynn and Bruno Davaillon of The Mansion.)

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^ Friends and Family.

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^ JT offers a bite of Kobe Hot Dog.

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^ Sliders and Dogs were enjoyed by all.

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^ Free Tap Wine and Beer flowed all evening as guests enjoyed the weather and beautiful patio settings.

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^ Martensen's outstanding White Tea Sangria – get some!

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…and finally some after hours shenanigans…

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"It's a celebration, bitchez!"

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^ Patrons express themselves. Welcome to The Commissary.

Chef John Tesar tours The Commissary and The Table at One Arts Plaza, Dallas

My 200th post:

Check out this peek at chef John Tesar’s new digs at One Arts Plaza: The Commissary.


 

The Commissary will feature gourmet burgers, small and large plates, wines by the bottle and glass, tap wine, beers, Michael Martensen’s sangria bowls, artisan sodas and a retail wine program.

Included is a look at the separate tasting room “The Table,” and some toys in the kitchen. The place should be open in a week or so. See you there!

Disclaimer: Friends and followers of my blog are no doubt aware that Tesar and I are buddies. As the concept for The Commissary developed, we collaborated on certain design elements including the logo and signage. I do not do criticism on my blog – but rather champion excellence. My opinion of Tesar as an excellent chef is shared by most anyone who has tasted his food. In that spirit, you will see additional posts about what is going on at this establishment – as you will for many other restaurants I feel strongly about. So, there. Go forth and eat, and support the food you love!

Martensen, Williams, Chef John Tesar Create Magic at The Cedars Social, Dallas

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At the corner of Belleview and South Lamar, something special is going on: The Cedars Social.

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^ Michael Martensen and crew prepare impeccably crafted “Golden Era”  and “Tribute” cocktails.

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^ In the kitchen, Chef John Tesar has created a menu unlike any other in Dallas – inspired by late night chef destinations like NYC’s Blue Ribbon Brasserie and The Spotted Pig.

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^ Tuna Crudo w/ Green Apple, Jalapeño, Avocado; ^ Grilled Braised Short Rib Sliders – Collard Greens, Horseradish Mayonnaise on Brioche Rolls.

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^ Chicken & Yeast Waffles with Maple-Black Pepper Reduction; ^ Lollipop Lamb Chops – Bleu Cheese Butter, Roquefort, Red Wine/Lamb Stock.

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^ Nola Style Grilled Fisher Island Oysters with Garlic Butter, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino; ^ Diver Scallops with Salsa Verde on Creamy Polenta.

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^ Sweet and Sour Sausage & Peppers with Grilled Tuscan Garlic Bread and Rustic Tomato Sauce.

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^ Grilled Braised Octopus with Avocado, Garlic Aioli, Garlic Puree and a Warm Salad of Chorizo and Celery Hearts. (F’ing amazing.)

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^ Butter Poached Deadliest Catch King Crab with Garlic Foam and Parsley Puree; ^ Sous Vide Hanger Steak with Creamy Mashed Potatoes and Bordelaise Sauce.

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^ Hand-Rolled Penne with Spicy Bolognese.

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^ Fresh Fruit Crisp; ^ a clean reduction.

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^ Crispy Braised Pork Belly with Collard Greens and Pork Jus.

^ Tesar has been in the kitchen nightly for the past two months. He will hand off daily duties to his accomplished staff as he opens his new One Arts Plaza wine, burger, and chef’s table venture – The Commissary – in early April.

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^ Back at the bar; ^ Don’t mind the Veuve – it’s a cool shot! Consulting sommelier D’Lynn Proctor offers splits of Krug – to much rejoicing.

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^ Classic Mac & Cheese; ^ Hamachi Ribs (inspired by Teiichi Sakurai of Tei-An) with Jalapeño Oil and Fin Herbs.

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^ Pig’s Ear Milanese with Duck Egg; ^ and an amazing Tripe Parmesan.

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^ Sliced Pork Belly; and the pièce de résistance: Tempura Sweetbreads with Thai Chile Mayonnaise.

For more pics of the space itself, please see my previous posts on Cedars’ pre-opening Supper Bowl dinners by Tim Byres and JT.

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^ This says it all – Owner Brian Williams (L) hosts our motley crew at the Cedars Social patio fire-pit, 1:45am. Magic.

The Cedars Social on Urbanspoon

Chef John Tesar Dinner @ The Cedars Social Cocktail Den – Supper Bowl #2, Dallas

Cedars Social owner Brian Williams got a kick out of my post featuring Tim Byres’ (of the freshly 4 starred restaurant Smoke) Supper Bowl dinner, but begs me remind everyone that this place is a cocktail joint with modern comfort food. There has been allot of attention surrounding the pre-opening Supper Bowl dinners… which I will now add to here! But first:

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^ Just look at that… Michael Martensen‘s lust-worthy back bar. A major cocktail story to come – but in the meanwhile, I’ll have a Compass Box Oak Cross whisky, one rock, please:

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^ The view from the bar.

And now – more food! Some of Tesar’s passed hors d’oeuvres:

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^ Sommeliers Scott Barber and D’Lynn Proctor chat wine; ^ The menu and pairings.

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^ A Tesar classic: Butter poached King Crab with Parsley Puree and Garlic Foam.

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^ Chef Tesar and his ridonculous prawns!

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^ The Roasted Gulf Prawns with Finocchiona, Avocado and Lemon Garlic Aioli.

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^ Penne Bolognese with aged Pecorino Cheese; ^ and a new classic: Whole Roasted Sweetbreads with Creamer Potatoes, Oyster Mushrooms, Truffle Vinaigrette, and Spicer’s Greens.

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Pastry Chef Corey Thompson’s Hazelnut, Milk Chocolate and Banana Torte.

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JT greeting the room of diners who had braved the ice storm to make this another warm and wonderful evening at The Cedars Social.

Chef John Tesar & Tim Byres Kick-off The Cedars Social – Supper Bowl #1, Dallas

I’ve endured tales of the eminent debut of The Cedars Social for the better part of a year – and even walking through the space a week ago one needed allot of imagination and a good deal of faith in one’s proprietor pals to see the potential. Now it’s all real. Welcome to The Cedars Social.

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^ In my opinion – this is by far the most satisfying use of the space, at 1326 S. Lamar, that has previously housed Amuse and Sala. It’s warm, retro, alive – it feels like hanging out in a friend’s living room – from a simpler time. Oh, and there’s kick-ass cocktails and bad-ass food.

This place is ALL about cocktails and hanging out – they call it “a cocktail den and comfort food kitchen.” But before they open the doors for reals – we get a preview of the space this week during the run up to Super Bowl XLV, thanks to the 5 Supper Bowl dinners. Last night’s dinner was the first service at Cedars and featured chef Tim Byres of Smoke.

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^ But first some hors d’ oeuvres by chef John Tesar, who created the Cedars menu for owner (and former Green Bay Packers linebacker) Brian Williams. Tesar will open the kitchen at Cedars and be cooking nightly for the next few weeks – ahead of the debut of his One Arts Plaza joint, The Commissary.

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^ We all immediately fell in love with the room.

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^ Consulting Sommelier D’Lynn Proctor steals a sip from his private stash; as Tim Byres and John Tesar explain the evening’s menu.

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^ Byres’ clever and delicious Boudin Balls & Brick Roux Gumbo with Smoked Chicken & Sausage.

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^ The guys prepping Tim’s Smoked Pheasant & Rio Star Grapefruit Salad with Sprouts, Radicchio & Almonds. (The cylinder is removed prior to service.)

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^ The dramatic open pit fireplace is comfortable and welcoming in the space.

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^ Sweetbreads and Oxtail – featuring a winning spin on German Potato Salad.

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Former Mansion Pastry Sous Chef Corey Thompson’s Citrus Panna Cotta: and homemade pies by Tracy Tesar. (Trace – that Buttermilk Pie just ain’t right! OMG!)

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^ Peeps facebooking the meal, no doubt.

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^ Tim and friends.

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^ Cool.

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^ after… more cocktails; and conversation in the library. A major part of this concept is Michael Martensen‘s cocktail program. I’ll have much more to say about this once the place is officially open.

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^ Nice to have JT back in the kitchen – his Supper Bowl dinner is Feb 1, but you can try his Cedars menu after things settle down next week; ^ Owner Brian Williams, happy to have the first night in the history books.

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^ Get over to The Cedars Social and explore its many delights. Nice job, guys.