Detail Matters: Billy Can Can
Nestled in a landscape of large, beige brick structures, the restaurant Billy Can Can has created an identity all its own. A tenant finish-out, the 4,500-square-foot, 140-seat venue has transformed a corner of Victory Park Lane with black-painted brick, a custom steel storefront, and signage displaying Billy Can Can in a reverse shou sugi ban, or surface charred wood, technique. Billy Can Can, a mythical 1892 bon vivant, provided the inspiration for this “Saloon Extraordinaire.”
Photo by Michael Cagle
Just past the semi-enclosed vestibule of the entry, the interior opens up to a space nearly 20 feet high, where a white coffered ceiling contrasts with the warm tones of the reclaimed wood floor. There is a variety of seating options; most are custom pieces, heavy and made of solid wood, projecting a sense of permanence as if they belonged to a day gone by. While enjoying a drink or cornbread served in an iron skillet, a patron will begin to notice the crafted details and conversation pieces that fill the space.
Photo by Michael Cagle
Beyond the taxidermy on the walls and the 40-foot, 22-seat solid pecan bar, the owners wanted to “create a balance of vintage elements without being too kitschy,” said Taryn Anderson, a partner at Rebees, a place creation company. After bringing on interior designer Kate Murphy, they had craftsmen — many of them local to Dallas — shape the vintage pieces that complete the space. From the lighting, to the menus, to the gold inlaid poker table, craftsmen took a strong hand in bringing the idea of a modern Texas saloon to life.
Custom mercantile light sketch by Kate Murphy
Working with the craftsmen was a “creative collaboration and iterative process,” Murphy said. The result is a restaurant with layers of design that bring a depth and understanding that it is more than just a place to eat and drink — it is a showcase of design talent with many custom pieces that are the contributions of the community.
Restaurant Developer: Rebees
Architect: Civitarese Morgan Architecture
Interior Design: KMIA
General Contractor: Green Tag Construction
Janet Spees, Assoc. AIA is a project manager at Merriman Anderson Architects.
Originally published in the Spring 2019/ Belief issue of AIA Dallas' Columns magazine.