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See menu, step inside Ida Claire, new southern charmer opening July 13 in DFW


Fork It Over, the folks behind the Ranch in Las Colinas, Whiskey Cake Kitchen and Velvet Taco, have created a real southern charmer in Ida Claire, their new restaurant in Addison. Here’s what you’ll find when the restaurant opens next week. UPDATE: The restaurant will begin dinner service Monday, July 13. 

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Sarah Lewis whipped up the desserts

Bonnie Wilson whipped up Ida Claire's drinks

Bonnie Wilson whipped up Ida Claire’s drinks

Chefs John Franke and Fitzgerald Dodd whipped up Ida Claire's menu

Chefs John Franke and Fitzgerald Dodd whipped up Ida Claire’s menu

Ida Claire inhabits the former Truluck’s space in Addison. The restaurant’s decor is at once kooky and comforting, as if your crazy aunt moved in and unpacked her fusty collection of knickknacks in the living room: mismatched plates hang over the kitchen pass, bird cages dangle in a back corner, crazy clocks line the wall of another. Out back, a polished aluminum Airstream trailer serves as a private dining room whose patio is trimmed with picnic tables and an outdoor movie screen (the projector is tucked inside an oversize mailbox). Big windows behind the bar let the outside spill in and cocktails spill out. When the bartender spins vinyl albums in the late afternoon, cocktails like the Peachy Keane (bourbon, peach liqueur, honey, lemon and bitters) and Bollywood (vodka, saffron syrup and preserved lemon) – from bar whiz Bonnie Wilson Coetzee – are marked down to garage-sale prices.

Chef Fitzgerald Dodd runs the kitchen show here, executing a menu of southern staples (hand formed burgers, chicken biscuits, pickled okra) and plenty of surprises. “Low Country cuisine with a New Orleans Creole influence,” is how Dodd described it to me last January, when we first told you about Ida Claire. Since then, the menu has grown more ambitious, mainly because John Franke, the culinary genius behind Fork It Over, is a restless soul; he loves to “Frankefy” simple food, zigging where other chefs might zag.

For example, Ida Claire’s crispy fried chicken and fluffy cornmeal waffles get drizzled not just with maple syrup but with maple syrup infused with Cafe du Monde coffee. It’s unexpected, and it’s absolutely delicious.  In another Crescent City nod, Dodds and Franke blacken a thick filet of trout in brown butter and peppery ras el hanout, a heady North African spice mixture of cardamom, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg that’s both spicy and exotic. Try it once and you may never order salmon again.

Ida Claire’s three-inch-tall biscuits will drive you crazy; they’re soft and sturdy and perfect for knife-and-fork eating, especially when stuffed with juicy fried chicken (brined first then crisped) or a wedge of tender beef short rib. Salads get dressed with sorghum and chicken wings get a barbecue shellacking. Fried eggs get between the sheets on more than a handful of entrees, while flatbreads are enriched with semolina for a crackery crunch.

For dessert? Pastry pro Sarah Lewis turns out homemade cakes and a Crazy Aunt Ida version of cannoli — doughnuty shells and chai-spiced pastry cream.

Peep the complete menu; items are reasonably priced and generously portioned. “We like to under promise and over deliver,” says Franke. Yep.

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Ida Claire opens July 13. 5001 Belt Line Road at Quorum Drive. (214) 377-8227 or

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