Posted: November 24, 2015 by Kaitlin Schroeder
It took maybe 26 drafts to settle on a menu. “I never thought I’d have cornbread on the menu,” said Dana Downs, the well-known executive chef on the offerings at her new upscale restaurant “Park.” After months of renovation, menu experimentation and hiring, the Kettering restaurant is gearing up for a soft open this weekend with plans to be fully operating in two weeks.
Downs made a name for herself at Roost Modern Italian in the Oregon District and said she’s showing her range as a chef with Park, which will serve an upscale take on American cuisine. While Roost has an urban eclectic feel, Park is intended to have a more suburban, preppy vibe, Downs said.
“I don’t want people to think I’m just one note,” she said.
Downs invested about $175,000 into a total build-out of the Lincoln Park space, which will seat 120 and employ 37 people. The newly renovated restaurant is in an 8,600-square-foot lease at 580 Lincoln Park Blvd. With around 4,300 square feet for the front of the house, Downs doesn’t try to curb her enthusiasm for the space she has to work with in the back of the house.
“It’s a very large kitchen,” she said.
The layout includes an upper and lower dining room, a private event space, a bar and a large patio. Of the 120 total seats, 88 are dining room seating.
Downs said as long as she doesn’t hit a scheduling hitch, she plans to have a soft opening Friday with just the bar menu. Park will be closed Sunday and Monday, but will then re-open this Tuesday with just the dinner menu until Saturday. On Sunday, the brunch menu will be added. Park will then close every Monday and re-open the following Tuesday with the full menu.