North Texas Daily

Denton’s house businesses make customers feel at home

Denton’s house businesses make customers feel at home

June 15
12:32 2012

Ben Peyton / Staff Writer

Dentonites don’t have to venture far from the comfort of their own residences to find themselves at home. Many of the city’s most popular restaurants, bars and clubs are in old, often historic, houses.

Offering a refreshing change of pace from cookie-cutter style restaurant chains are these one of a kind in-house businesses, each with its own character and ever-evolving story.

Giuseppe’s Italian Restaurant

If you ever pay a visit to Giuseppe’s Italian Restaurant, you’ll most likely find yourself enjoying a relaxing and intimate candlelit dinner. Forty years ago, a trip to 821 N. Locust St. would have been a less pleasant experience.

The house, built in 1938, was occupied by L.W. MacKenna Dentist’s office in the 1960s after its initial residents moved out. A handful of other businesses set up shop in the former home before it became one of Denton’s most well-known restaurants.

Owner Giuseppe Brownell said he knew he had found his dream restaurant the second he walked in.

“A house was the last thing I was looking for,” Brownell said. “The minute I walked in I said ‘This is the spot.’”

Brownell believes that cozy features of the house such as its rustic wood floors add a lot to the experience that keeps Denton residents coming back.

Hoochie’s Oyster Bar

The recently-opened Hoochie’s Oyster Bar at 207 S. Bell Ave. is a testament to some of the difficulties involved in turning a house into a functional restaurant.

The house was moved from Elm Street to serve as an office building for the Denton Arts Council before becoming a Bail Bonds office and eventually Hoochie’s, although trouble getting the building up to code delayed the restaurant’s March opening.

“The little yellow house took a lot of work to get it back to snuff,” said owner Sam Solomon. “[But] it makes people feel at home when they walk in.”

Cups and Crepes

Patrick Will and his wife always feel at home when they walk into this three-story Victorian-style house, complete with their very own restaurant on the bottom floor.

The Wills both work and live in Cups and Crepes, a quaint coffee and breakfast café at 309 Fry St.

“It’s the only place I drink coffee,” Patrick Will said.

Will bought what was then an apartment complex in 1989 before beginning the process of converting it into Cups and Crepes in 2004.

“It’s my wife’s dream,” Will said. “I like having a happy wife; she likes having a breakfast place.”

The cozy café relies on the college community’s bike and foot traffic.

“I enjoy the social part of it. I enjoy Fry Street and the college kids.”

Oak Street Drafthouse

Offering 50 different draft beers, including 20 from Texas, is enough motivation for anyone to visit the Oak Street Drafthouse. However, the Drafthouse stands out from most typical drinking establishments.

“I am a sports fan but not having TVs, you know, you have to talk to people,” owner John Williams said.

Located at 308 E. Oak St., the third oldest house in Denton, the bar features photographs depicting the city’s history and furniture that would not be out of place in your grandmother’s living room.

Sometimes, a home’s history keeps coming back: Williams said a past resident of the house regularly drops by the Drafthouse.

Williams said Sam Saul Jr., who lived in the house from 1933 to 1952, still comes by once a month to have a beer and look back on fond memories of his old home.

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