The co-founders of an all-day cafe called Foxtrot think Dallas could use some bodegas.
In New York City, for instance, bodegas dot the city, and neighbors tend to stop in regularly to grab small selections of groceries or a newspaper. In Dallas, however, these corner markets haven’t swarmed our city, where gas stations and larger grocery stores abound. Eatzi’s and a coming-soon Eataly show a demand among Dallasites for gourmet groceries, but Foxtrot hopes to fill a smaller, neighborhood-focused need. It’s similar to the market served by Austin-based company Royal Blue Grocery.
CEO and co-founder Mike LaVitola describes Foxtrot as “a modern corner store and cafe — a bright, airy, hospitality-driven space.” He says Dallas is “definitely our focus right now,” and the shops opening in the next few months are the first ones outside of the Chicago area.
Foxtrot originated in 2014 in Chicago as an on-demand delivery service and has grown to six brick-and-mortar shops there.
Texas’ first Foxtrot is expected to open June 25 in Uptown Dallas, in the spot where KISS-FM DJ Big Al Mack’s divey sports bar McKinney Avenue Tavern stood for years.
A second Foxtrot in Texas will be in University Park and is expected to open in late summer, a spokeswoman said.
The shops are part grab ‘n go shopping spot and part coffee bar, with beer and wine on tap, Wi-Fi available all day and coffee from Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters. The shop in Uptown will be open from 7 a.m. to midnight.
The Foxtrot interior has some industrial glam, with steel beams and white penny tiles in a room that feels both airy and cozy. “We really try not to make this a super bougie place,” LaVitola said. “It’s an interesting balance — a place you can use as your everyday pantry but also find something new.”
The shop will sell products from local companies Emporium Pies and the Mozzarella Company as well as popular Chicago spots like Carol’s Cookies.
“We have a pretty strong point of view on these products,” LaVitola said. Instead of offering a Spec’s-like array of wine, he explained that Foxtrot sells curated, slimmed-down offerings: one rosé in several price points, for instance, which he hopes “surfaces the best stuff in each category.”
Executive chef Brad Alexander has designed a menu of smoothies, avocado toast, grain bowls and the like. Food can be eaten inside the cafe, on the patio or packaged to-go.
At the existing Foxtrots, 50% of the business is in its delivery services. Customers can use the Foxtrot app or website, and deliveries arrive in an hour or less. Delivery costs $5, and there’s a $20 minimum. Foxtrot’s first shop in Uptown will deliver to Uptown, downtown, Park Cities, Lower Greenville, Lakewood and Knox-Henderson. The delivery area will expand when the University Park shop opens.
“No one was delivering the three to four items people buy every day: the wine and the ice cream and that kind of thing,” LaVitola said.
During Foxtrot’s opening week in Uptown Dallas, visitors will find events and freebies. Deals include free coffee and $3 frosé on June 25; $2 wine and $1 beer on June 28; free hot dogs and treats for dogs on June 29; and more.