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The Pope of Greenville Avenue
Jason Sheeler | Photo: Nick Prendergast | May 29, 2014
Elias Pope is transforming the former party strip one chic destination at a time.
Yes, yes, Lower Greenville has changed. The rough-and-tumble neighborhood that was once all about a party is now more about Paleo. Restaurant owner Elias Pope broke into the East Dallas area last year with the all-natural, low-carb restaurant HG Sply Co. (HG stands for “hunter-gatherer,” and the menu includes the phrase “cheat day.”) Now Pope can take some credit—or blame, depending on who’s talking, for the change. Just don’t call it gentrification.
“Aargh, that word,” the 34-year-old complains. “Let’s say Lower Greenville is having a new beginning. When I got the building for HG Sply Co. two years ago, all the clubs were shut down. Nobody was walking the streets; there was a ton of crime—and now people are walking with kids and dogs.”
The married-with-kids former executive with the Landry’s restaurant group actually partied in his UT Arlington days where he now serves up quinoa meatballs and Brussell sprout chips, back when it was a club called Suede. Pope now has three businesses on Greenville: He recently opened a gym right next to HG, called Social Mechanics, and this summer he’s debuting a modern soda fountain, Remedy, which will send you to Social Mechanics. “It’s going to be the kind of spot my granddad would have gone to. Just a place to indulge, with real sugar of course.” Pope pauses and has what must be a thought bubble above his head. “You know back when I was partying here at Suede, this was the place where everyone wanted to be. That’s happening again down here. Those people just have strollers.” He laughs and adds, “Me included.”
What Kirstyn Brewer is doing with vegetables at Victor Tangos, Libertine bar manager Mate Hartai’s passion for frozen water, Ben Jenkins’ Warstick Wood Bat Co., anything brewed by Michael Peticolas, low-proof cocktails, watching heads turn when my wife walks in the restaurant
Sweet & sour mix, restaurants with no soul, arrogance in hospitality, awkward situations, online over-sharing, the so-called lime-pocalipse of 2014, entitled people