On The Road
September 29, 2019

29 Dates @ 29 Rooms

12 min read

There are so many things I love about my husband, his thoughtfulness and creativity not the least among them.  On a recent date night, both made an appearance as he took me on a whimsical adventure of food, fantasy, and fun with dinner at L O C A L followed by an interactive art installation by Refinery 29 at Gilley’s.  

Local wall mural

Located in the historic Boyd Hotel in Deep Ellum, L O C A L offers a chic, modern environment ensconced in a classic, vintage space. The Boyd Hotel is registered as the oldest standing hotel in Dallas (circa 1908) and greets guests in a timeless space designed by Alice Cottrell Interior Design that resonates with the juxtaposition of grace and gravitas.  

The stylish yet substantive experience extends  to every element of the establishment, from the decor to the people to the menu, and it is one of our favorite haunts.  Everyone we encounter there,  including the hostesses and waitstaff, as well as the long-time regulars, is incredibly welcoming, knowledgeable, and eager to do their part in creating a top-notch evening. and the easy laughter and genuine interest of the staff imbue you with a sense of shared community.  (The last time we were there, we think we bumped into the chef at the bar,.  We had a wonderful visit with ‘a couple of regulars’, and as we were leaving, heard someone mention one was the chef - and they had treated us just like family.)

Local fork wall artwork

The fare is modern American and exquisite, both in presentation and taste. True to its spirit and name, the restaurant draws ingredients from local providers to create finely crafted culinary masterpieces. Although offering a seasonal menu subject to change, I predict you won’t be disappointed, no matter the season. We enjoyed the lobster cake to start, as well as the bass and beef tenderloin, and lingered over dinner, savoring the sumptuous setting and meal. I might still be lounging there enjoying the retro ambiance and delectable food, if we hadn’t had another adventure awaiting us.  (Note: I recommend reservations for L O C A L, either through OpenTable or by calling ahead, especially on Saturday evenings.)

Some of the beautiful rooms at LOCAL

Suitably sated, we headed to Gilley’s to explore 29 Rooms, an immersive, fashion-forward art exhibit created in collaboration with Refinery 29 composed of varying expressions of pop-culture, creativity, charity, and community.  Behind each door, new experiences awaited, including a zen igloo, interactive icebreakers, shag carpeted Nintendo, a stairway of possibilities, walls of love notes and affirmations, and doorways leading into topsy-turvy landscapes. I think my favorite piece may have been the room covered in messages visitors were invited to write to their younger selves.  Reading those messages and seeing the similarities across them although authored by people from all ages and walks of life was telling.  There are some messages we all need to hear - you matter, you have worth, worry less and believe more.  There may also have been a lasso...possibly...and people dressed as bees...but I digress.  It was a wonderful, highly memorable exploration of dreams and positivity designed to inspire and empower, and it was breathtaking.  The exhibit is touring through the states, and I recommend checking it out when it comes to town.

One of the rooms in 29 rooms