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First Look: Mister Charles, Duro Hospitality's Newest Restaurant

Mister Charles impresses and delights
Photo courtesy Mister Charles

When Mister Charles opened this summer, it was lauded with praise. A few months later, the question remains: Does Mister Charles live up to the hype? Oh yes. The restaurant is as good — no, great — as you've heard, and that makes the latest establishment from Duro Hospitality even more impressive. 

The space is stunning — and is even more impressive if you visited the location when it was the old Highland Park Pharmacy. It shouldn't be a surprise that Mister Charles is a beauty: Duro Hospitality is a maker of beautiful things. But there are plenty of good-lookin' restaurants in North Texas — and even more with the recent, big-name arrivals from out of state. Looks are not what makes Mister Charles so special. The service is exceptional. The food is delicious. Ditto for the drinks. 

It was sometime between the canapes (caviar and egg salad, cured salmon, chilled oyster, foie gras, A5 striploin), the prime beef carpaccio and cipollini onion tarte tatin with brie and herb salad, that I jotted three words down in my notebook: "Ken Griffey, Jr."


The 1990s were a great time for baseball, but few could effortlessly excel in some many different aspects of the game — and without performance enhancers. He could do it all: run, hit, throw. And it did it beautifully. He wasn't the greatest player the game has seen, but damn, he was great, top ten, certainly, and in some many varied aspects of the game. 

But when I think about Griffey's appeal is that he did everything with style, grace and a sense of joy. Mister Charles is a fancy restaurant, but not a stuffy one. The wait staff — take Hana, who took care of us, for example — is top-notch: attentive, personable and extremely talented. And they're decked out in navy yacht blazers and pristine white sneakers. The place is comfortable. It's playful. It's fun. Heck, the menu says, "An irreverent play on the classics." 

So many restaurants want to be Mister Charles. They want to serve beautiful and delicious Italian or French-inspired meals — and they might be really, really good. But something is missing. Maybe it's the greeter at the door. Maybe it's the plates or the glassware. Maybe it's that the food is quite good, but cannot close the gap. Maybe it's the combination of all of these?

Griffey made everything look effortless and natural, carefully obscuring all the hard work and dedication. He became iconic with all the hype that was built up around him — and how he lived up to it. That made him even better. And, likewise, that's what makes Mister Charles great.