Bitter End should come with a disclaimer: our ambience does not reflect the title of our concept.
Bright and airy, a touch of neon and seismic splashes of technicolor art, this is the evocation Torry Cray and partners wanted to capture, which takes smoothly at the Dallas crossroads of Elm Street and Malcolm X; an east end corner formerly anchored by Idle Rye. More so, they have docked the first bonafide oyster bar in the neighborhood.
The spotlight on East Coast selections is reminiscent of one partner’s Atlantic upbringing, yet, they’re not charging prices that most eateries in Dallas would for these bivalve breeds. Cray says, “We will always offer Gulf Coast and Blue Point along with both charbroiled options, oysters casino and garlic Parmesan. Above that, we’ll rotate in three to five East Coast varieties, which will change daily.”
With a spacious patio accompanied by a mural of James Dean, guests will have the ability to enjoy them plus other menu items when the weather cooperates. If not, there is plenty of indoor seating including two bars. The oyster bar allows intimacy with guests while watching the shucker, or the bar facing a wall of shimmering bottles of liquor flanked by TVs. In fact, there are 20 flatscreens to catch whatever sports ball your sports heart desires.
The cocktail menu is creative, though subtle. One of the namesake drinks is The Duke, their twist on an Old-Fashioned complete with vanilla bean infused Maker’s Mark, house-made bitters, with orange peel garnish. Or try The Marilyn, a frozen concoction of prosecco, aperol and orange that will help you hang on. The draft list is well formed, while the list of cans represents thoroughly.
Cray continues, explaining what we really care most for, the happy hour. And their model is to ensure everyone has a chance to experience it. “Every Monday and Tuesday all raw oysters are $1.50 including specialty and we offer a $5 Champagne at those times.”
Also, from Sunday through Friday, 5 PM – 7 PM, they offer $5 wells, drafts, frozen beverages, red and white wines, and bubbly along with a $5 slider plate. Reverse happy hour is seven days a week starting at 10 PM, and also includes $1.50 raw oysters.
If oysters don’t seduce your palate, the regular menu comes across as haute, sans pretentiousness. Think whipped avocado dip with an ability to add lobster then fortified with zucchini chips. From there you have hickory wood-fired wings, steak and frites, fish and chips, or two selections of sliders, beef patties or hot chicken.
Effortlessly understated, the atmosphere, led by Jerod “Dtox” Davies’ artwork, and friendly neighborhood pricing is the copacetic blend Deep Ellum was waiting for.
Cover courtesy photo Bitter End raw oyster bar
Cody Neathery is a Dallas/Fort Worth-based writer who spent several years as a food writer for the Dallas Observer and Fort Worth Weekly. He owns the Off the Cuff bar in the Dallas neighborhood of Deep Ellum and Cowtown Brewing in downtown Fort Worth. Instagram: @codyneat