Restaurateur Ford Fry isn’t wasting any time. Last week Anne Quatrano announced that Abattoir on the Westside would close on March 28. Fry has now confirmed that he’s taking over the space to open a “beefsteak dinner-inspired steakhouse” called Marcel in July of this year.
Fry says the name comes from Marcellin “Marcel” Cerdan, a French boxer in the 1900s who was around at the time when beefsteak dinners were popular. These dinners were celebratory meals held by men, often in secret locations. Fry is taking that nostalgia and infusing his steakhouse with it.
“It will be a really cool, fun place—nothing innovative, just very crave-able food we all love to eat,” he says. “It will have plush leather—that dark burgundy color.”
Steaks will be USDA prime cuts, cooked over wood, and finished in a copper pan with butter and thyme. Sides will have French or at least European influences. They may include Pommes Anna, pommes frites, carrots, and whatever vegetables the farmers bring. Caesar salad will be served tableside. Other starters may include chopped salad and lobster chowder with a puff pastry.
Bread service will be complimentary with a big display featuring pan-fried dough, house-made cheese, radishes with salted butter, and maybe crusty French bread.
In addition to steak, Marcel will likely serve mutton chop, veal parmesan, plump ravioli, prime rib of pork, sole meuniere or turbo roasted on the bone, and spaghetti with porcini and pecorino. Desserts may include bananas foster, baked Alaska, and soufflés.
The lunch menu will focus more on sandwiches, such as slow-roasted beef, fried bologna, and lobster.
Rocket Farms Restaurants beverage director Lara Creasy will design the drink list, featuring “really good versions” of classic cocktails, possibly highlighting scotch, Fry says. Brian Horn of JCT Kitchen will oversee Marcel, as well as JCT. Fry plans to look internally for both the chef de cuisine and mixologist.
In other news, Fry says he wants to open another Mex-Tex spot—similar to Superica and the El Felix—off Roswell Road in Buckhead in early 2016. It would take over the space occupied by Outback Steakhouse and feature a lot of outdoor seating. Fry’s little sister to the Optimist is scheduled to open in fall 2015. Not surprisingly, Fry says he’s “looking everywhere for restaurants,” including in Austin and Nashville.