Chef Tim Byres to Open Chicken Scratch and The Foundry

<strong>Chris Jeffers, Chris Zielke and chef Tim Byres, the owners of Smoke restaurant in Dallas, will open Chicken Scratch, a  Texas-roadhouse style, casual restaurant specializing in wood roasted and skillet fried chicken dinners.

“We’ll have Chicken Scratch open in February,” Byres told me, “and open a bar called the Foundry right before that, in late January.”

The new concepts will be located down the road from Smoke, in the former Jack’s Backyard. Byers will oversee both Smoke and Chicken Scratch.

“Chicken Scratch will be a fast-casual, kid-friendly restaurant,” says Byres, which he hopes will serve as a focal point for families in theOak Cliff neighborhood. “The entire staff at Smoke is committed to the community here, and we want to continue that same commitment of ‘giving back’ when we open Chicken Scratch.”

Byres says he’ll rehab the site to include a large courtyard area, a green space where people can watch movies on an outdoor screen or listen to live music on weekends.

“We’re going to grind off the rough edges of the urban space there, open the view to Commerce Street so you can see the stage, move the parking lot. We want kids to run a round and play in the courtyard, write on the sidewalks with chalk, watch movies and eat good food in a family-friendly environment.”

Byers said the chicken-centric menu will be “narrow and focused on quality.”

“Everything will be made from scratch and hormone-free. We’re going for wholesome and light — except for the fried chicken,” which will be fried in cast iron skillets. (The rotisserie chicken still qualifies as wholesome.)

To create the menu, Byres is headed out Monday for a six-day road trip across the south and central US. He’ll cover 2,000 miles, romping through Arkansas, Memphis, Nashville, Kentucky, Kansas, St.Louis, Oklahoma and Texas. His goal: sample his weight in greens, biscuits, chicken and side dishes at dinner houses and roadside diners, then recreate the best of his roadshow at Chicken Scratch.

Next to Chicken Scratch, Byres will open the Foundry, which he describes as a “Texas roadhouse bar, garage doors up, tap beer, whiskey, simple drinks. Definitely no mixology.”

The look and feel of both the Foundry and Chicken Scratch will be created by the Dallas design firm JonesBaker.