James Beard Award-nominated chef Jonathan Justus has been trying to open Black Dirt in the south Plaza neighborhood for two-and-a-half years.
Now the lease is signed with the restaurant scheduled to open in late summer.
“We’re going. We started with an investor, then a bank loan, then investors again,” Justus said. “We’re really excited but we are also terrified. Restaurants are really difficult and take a tremendous amount of focus and energy.”
Black Dirt will be a modern American restaurant and bar and “more approachable” than Justus Drugstore with lower price points. It will have a made-from-scratch contemporary menu offering a “modern takes on classic dishes and a few straight up comfort favorites.”
51Main is a mixed-use project that consists of 176 luxury apartments, fully leased. A 3,359-square-foot restaurant space is still available on the first floor.
Tiffany Ruzicka of AREA Real Estate Advisors handled the lease negotiations.
Justus Drugstore will temporarily close a couple of weeks before Black Dirt opens and the staff will relocate to Black Dirt to “get it on its legs,” Justus said. Justus Drugstore will then get a quick facelift.
Justus and Eklof opened Justus Drugstore in Smithville in May 2007.