Dai Due Gets Physical
,p>Eight years may seem like a rather long time to take to open a restaurant, but Dai Due isn’t your ordinary establishment. In fact, when Jesse Griffiths, owner and chef of Dai Due (dī-doo-ā), first debuted his farmers market pop-up stand, he had every intention of taking a sabbatical from the restaurant world for a while. Fast-forward to this past August, and the chef rejoined the brick-and-mortar scene in a new space in the Cherrywood neighborhood on Manor Road. “When I started Dai Due, I didn’t want to open a restaurant simply because that was the world I was coming out of at the time,” says Griffiths. “But getting involved in the farmers markets over the years made us realize Dai Due’s demand really called for a more permanent space. I’m grateful it took eight years to get here—we had enough time to solidify our ideas and our ideals, and built a great staff in the process. I’m just glad everything is finally under one roof now.”

The 2,500-square-foot, red brick and light wood butcher shop/restaurant is characterized by its distinct details: a finger-smudged glass case of gorgeous cold cuts, including venison chops and antelope; country-chic, white-washed wood paneling; glass jars full of colorful, worldly spices; an open, inviting kitchen that reveals the staff’s methodical baking, butchering and cooking; and a nightly crowd of friends and families dining on local fare, such as quail, goat sausage, brined Dewberry Hills Farms chicken and an impeccable collection of Texas wines and beers, which are served both in bottles and on tap. “We took a pretty big risk in saying we were only going to stick with Texas wines—mostly because there’s this perception that they aren’t very good. But we’ve put together a collection that way exceeded what we’d expected,” Griffiths says. “I think people will be pleasantly surprised.”

What’s more, Griffiths has managed to extend his wild-game program, which has easily become his signature culinary trade. “Through different channels, we were able to find these meats we’re featuring on the menu and in our cold cuts,” he says. “We actually have this wild venison and antelope from the Hill Country that I’m really excited about, as well as some axis, red deer, oryx and feral hogs. That seems to be what people are really gravitating towards right now.” —Layne Victoria Lynch


Dai Due is located at 2406 Manor Rd. For more information and hours, call 512-524-0688, or visit daidue.com