Nothing remains of the original City Hall, the police department or the whorehouses. But the big brick pile at 528 Walnut (where three buildings became one large space in 1898 to hold the merchandise sold by dry-goods dealer Scott Cromwell) survived 135 years and dozens of incarnations, including stints as a Greek restaurant in the 1970s and a dimly lighted lesbian bar in the 1990s.
Now beautifully restored, the building officially reopened on Cinco de Mayo as the first new Dos Hombres restaurant in six years. It also will be the last, says owner R.J. Samuels, who closed his Lawrence location in 2000. At one point, there were 10 of these establishments, but, Samuels says, "This is it. I'm done with expansion."
He hadn't planned to go back into the full-service dining business at all, but he missed it. "I don't know how I stayed out of it as long as I did," he says.
This Dos Hombres menu has all of the familiar dishes from Samuels' earlier restaurants, along with a few additions, such as a buffalo chicken quesadilla, steaks and wraps. The place has been packed since the first day, leaving customers with just one complaint: finding a parking place.
Samuels points out that there's plenty of parking in the neighborhood, though some patrons might have to walk a little to get their chili con queso.
A few miles south, on 39th Street's restaurant row, young entrepreneurs Brian Donatell and Kevin Van Emburgh and chef Grant Linebach have completed a major renovation at 1815 West 39th Street (the space formerly occupied by Matadors) to create Thomas, a 66-seat restaurant serving regional American cuisine. It opened on May 11 and serves dishes such as apple cider chicken and braised short ribs.
Sexy food but not too bawdy.