“It’s as if you walked into our house,” says Chef Luke Rogers of his newly-acquired Beckley 1115, a neighborhood restaurant and wine located at, well, 1115 N Beckley Ave in Dallas. Chef Rogers describes the restaurant as “cozy and welcoming, yet has a splash of sophistication.”
He is missing one adjective: delicious.
Chef Rogers cut his teeth at the James Beard Award-winning Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen before studying at L’École Culinaire and working at the Michelin-starred Ristorante Vespasia in Italy. Chef Rogers was also the executive chef at Cathedral, which opened in Plano in August 2022. This month, he took the reins at Beckley 1115, buying the restaurant with his wife Geni from the legendary Chef Sharon Van Meter.
Chef Van Meter logged time as executive chef of The Ritz-Carlton, International and executive chef at Neiman Marcus. She also taught American Cuisine at Paris’ Le Cordon Bleu, the institution where she studied.
“I’d been speaking to Sharon about buying Beckley from her for a long time, there were a few other chefs interested as well, but I’m glad she chose Geni and me,” says Chef Rogers.
“I’ve dreamed of having my own restaurant, and for about 5 years now I’ve tried to get investment to start up one, so to have a world-class chef like Sharon who believed in us enough to invest in me and my wife, this way, is incredible.”
Chef Van Meter still owns 20% of Beckley 1115 — something that Chef Rogers sees as a vote of confidence.
During our visit to Beckley 1115, the duck confit tostada and octopus carpaccio jump-started our palates, and Chef Rogers served up a Caesar salad that was classic, fresh and delicious. The Lobster mac and cheese was both comforting and decadent, while the stuffed pork was a work of art that tasted as good as it looked. (And was it ever a stunner.)
Coming from a chef with experience in a Michelin-starred establishment, I expected the hand-made pasta to be excellent — and it was. What caught us completely off guard was just how darn good Beckley 1115’s classic cheeseburger was — a dish we thought had been added to to quell the little ones. We were wrong. Chef Rogers told us he thought it might be his best dish — and he does it in the style of a chimi, a Dominican-style hamburger, complete with meat seasoned with a variety of spices and smashed thin, grilled and topped with cheese.
These days, it feels like chefs have to fancy up comfort food, instead of focusing on what makes comfort food so darn comforting: the emotional memories the dish evokes. It reminded me of cheeseburgers I had as a kid, but better than any of them — and better than any I’ve ever had. That’s exactly what Beckley 1115 does so well: It is cozy, it is homey, and it is delicious, all of which you want from a neighborhood restaurant.
But for Chef Rogers, the restaurant is much more — a longstanding dream come true.
“I had a goal to be a restaurant owner by the time I was 30,” says Chef Rogers, “and I honestly can’t believe I made that mark, a month before my 31st birthday!”