DALLAS’ BEST KEPT DINING SECRET IS A RESTAURANT IN A CLASSIC CAR STORAGE FACILITY

Way out by Love Field lies an unexpected find in place and menu. The Shop Club is a member’s club where folks store their classic cars, laid out showroom style, to be admired in an airplane hanger of a room. And on the other side of the floor sits a restaurant called Derby that may surprise with how creative and high-quality it is. The dishes focus on comfort food, but head chef Gregory Dishman, injects each with twists that level them up and locally sourced meats and vegetables on par with the finest Dallas restaurants.

Dishman tells Eater Dallas that a few items cannot come off the menu. The first, Matt’s Bad Ass Bacon, was developed for one of the club’s founders and is two slices of thick-cut bacon topped with Maldon salt from the UK, cayenne and maple syrup. If you’re thinking, “Bring it on, who doesn’t love bacon?” then brace yourself because this dish is too grandiose, in both flavor and serving size, for one person to tackle.

The second is by popular demand of the customers, the brisket grilled cheese. Dishman developed the sandwich when a diner asked him if he could make a grilled cheese. He grins devilishly and says, “Yeah, I can but then it evolved into making a better grilled cheese...I try to pay close attention to these conversations and a month later I’ll surprise a guest with a plate.” And the plate he eventually developed is more than the typical grilled cheese with brisket. It is served on brioche with the yellow cast of egg shining through and the sweetness of sugar to complement the savoriness of the three types of cheese (cheddar, pepper jack, and American) that are layered on with thin-sliced brisket and crispy onions in between. The outside of the bread is rubbed with barbecue aioli before it is grilled, giving it a colorful sear and infusing the bread with that brisket and barbecue taste inside and out. It doesn’t necessarily look like it will be a special sandwich on the plate, but when it hits the taste buds, it’s immediately apparent this is not your mama’s grilled cheese.

The menu is anchored with expected dishes like burgers and steaks, with flourishes that make them better than the average. “I went through 11 different burger patties before deciding on the blend being made for us,” Dishman says of the Wagyu, chuck, and brisket burger. “To me, it almost has a steak quality, which is interesting.” The steaks, served in a flatiron wedge salad and a grilled ribeye, come from 44 Farms, a beef ranch used by some of the most expensive places in town. Much of the produce comes from Profound Micorfarms, another place preferred by many of the finest restaurants in Dallas.

“We try to change the menu every month, and we’re changing 60 to 80 percent of it,” Dishman says, except for the dishes that stay by popular demand or because they’re signatures. “We’ve gotten pretty good at creating menu items.”

It’s not all food for dudes, however. Dishman serves a mean chicken piccata that’s seasonally influenced — right now, it comes with farro, barley, cucumber, corn and tomato salad, and a lemon herb reduction so delicious that licking the plate is a serious danger. Even appetizers are treated with this mission to elevate, from calamari battered with parmesan and Szechuan peppers and served with tomato aioli to chicken wings that straddle the line between spicy Buffalo and Korean with a crisp, fried exterior and roasted pepper hot sauce.

This can be consumed while looking out into a showroom of the city’s most stunning and well-maintained cars, ranging from the 1930s to the late 1990s. The Shop offers membership options that allow access to an upstairs bar and restaurant, meeting rooms, and a hidden poker room, among other amenities. But anyone can walk in off the street and grab lunch or dinner in the Derby at any time — and there is a free public tour, plus a weekend barber who takes appointments for men’s grooming.

It’s the fanciest lunch, brunch, or dinner in a surprisingly dynamic environment that doesn’t feel fancy at all.

The Shop recently opened a location in northwest Houston, where it is also seeking new members and has loads of space to store cars. The menu for its Derby restaurant was also developed by Dishman.

2024-06-12T17:34:32Z dg43tfdfdgfd