OK. So 5 months ago I made an impassioned plea for why we were closing on Tuesday. Having re-read the blog I still agree with all the good points contained therein. However, the cold hard reality of the restaurant business has proven my calculations woefully naive so with some humility and a tinge of sadness I tuck into a delicious slice of this week’s special, humble pie. Beginning next week we will be open again for dinner service on Tuesday’s beginning at 5 PM.
Dressel’s has been a fixture in the West End for thirty-eight years. We’ve rolled through a lot of changes and seen a lot of places come and go but in all that time I’ve never felt the weight of history and change more than today. It’s a fiercely competitive scene and no amount of longevity is enough to rest on your laurels. Dressel’s is the longest standing continually family owned and operated pub/restaurant in the CWE. The Halloween parties of the 80’s, street blockades, five different Pasta House concepts, theme bars, dive bars, good tacos, bad tacos, head shops, Barnes and Jewish before BJC, high crime, low crime, beat cops, no cops, bike tours, street protests, tear gas, we’ve watched it all from our perch on the northern end of the strip.
There was a time in the early part of the millennia when we were the only lights on north of McPherson. Those were some lonely times but the regulars were always there, perhaps less drawn by sheer number of options available today. We’re currently surrounded by three construction projects and it feels much the same. You might be forgiven for thinking Dressel’s is closed when all you can see from a distance are construction dumpsters. Hopefully the colorful hanging baskets have sent a signal of business as usual to those wondering such things.
It’s been a tough season for our kitchen, having gone through more turnover in four months that we had in the previous five years. It’s been my goal for some time to simplify what we do and try to focus on the core of really great pub/bar food with an emphasis on the best Fish and Chips and locally sourced proteins we can get from our supply chain. Some of the more creative elements have been on hold while we lock down some of the basic dishes that were lost between episodes of Top Chef.
That’s not to say the special board won’t be dusted off soon in the capable hands of our new chef but let’s leave that for another blog. We have to get back to perfecting our new hand-cut double cooked fries before Tuesday!