The grand opening of the "new" D&T Drive Inn has been a year and a half in the making. Down House co-owners Chris Cusack and Joey Treadway acquired the bar in early 2012 and have been working on transforming the once divey icehouse on Enid and Calvacade into a slicker version of itself.
D&T is still laid-back with a neighborhood vibe, but with shiny new add-ons such as a beautiful new bar and communal table made from an oak tree that had to be taken down during renovations, and a bar with 50 craft beers on tap. A bar associated with Down House wouldn't be complete without food offerings, and along with a steak and fried-chicken night, D&T offers a small menu of sandwiches and meats and cheeses.
A good crowd braved the heat to attend Saturday's grand opening. The small front bar area was bustling, as was the large back patio. Patrons were treated to samples from the menu -- po-boys, smoked pimento cheese made with sharp Cabot cheddar, house-made giardiniera pickles, potato salad and pickled eggs. As a non-fan of potato salad, I found this one to be extraordinary and kept wanting more. It wasn't your usual creamy variety but more tangy, kicked up with mustard seed and parsley. The pickled eggs were shrimp-boiled, adding a layer of spice. It was simple but unique.
I can easily see that the area will embrace the makeover. For all its modern touches, D&T didn't want to completely change what had been. It wanted to preserve the history of the neighborhood joint and bring out the full potential of the space. Don't worry: You can still get your Lone Star, Miller Lite and Bud Light, in a can, on ice -- it still is an icehouse, after all.
If you missed the grand opening, D&T is throwing a grand 4th of July Brew-ha-ha with Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company from noon until midnight.