Carrier breaks mold again with ‘social club’ DKDC
There’s a new commotion at the corner of Cooper and Young as seasoned restaurateur Karen Carrier taps into the neighborhood’s nightlife with her new venture, Bar DKDC, which opened Jan. 12.
Carrier has spent her time in Memphis building a reputation for her creative input and ownership of The Beauty Shop and Mollie Fontaine’s Lounge, both of which are known for their hip aesthetics and atmosphere. After the recent closing of Do Sushi, something Carrier chalks up to the simple fact that she “got bored,” she chose to see this as an opportunity to combine the neighborhood intimacy of Beauty Shop with the elegant lounge approach of Mollie Fontaine’s to create something unique.
“The initial plan was to bring Mollie’s to Midtown, but as things have progressed, Bar DKDC has become something entirely on its own.”
The first thing people will notice upon entering DKDC is that the space is much smaller than the other bars in Cooper-Young, which Carrier believes to be more conducive to social interactions.
“I think some bars tend to be too large and cavernous … Sometimes, it can seem easy to get lost! DKDC is smaller, yes, but more intimate. I envisioned a place that would function more as a ‘social club’ than a standard bar.”
It’s clear, as always, that Carrier has put a lot of time and effort into creating an atmosphere that puts the customer at ease while breaking the mold. The booths along the left wall have cushions lined with colorful fabrics purchased at a market in Israel while the tables and chairs have all been designed and custom built by Carrier’s longtime friend and business associate Wayne Edge.
She says her son’s paintings will eventually be included in the decorations and she even plans on installing a classic photo booth in the back corner for customers to take vintage snapshots of themselves with friends. Music will be playing a large role as well with Memphis soul and New Orleans jazz being utilized to help set the right mood.
As someone who travels frequently, Carrier got the idea for DKDC’s food menu when she asked herself, “How do you find out what the locals eat?”
“You won’t find the answer in the top tier restaurants or even in most local chains. You can only find out by talking to the people you meet on the street.”
“Street food” and “local flavor” were the key words for building the menu, which Carrier plans on changing every three weeks or so to keep things fresh and new. Customers will be able to order local favorites from all over world ranging from simple dishes (those commonly sold by street vendors) to more “extravagant and savory offerings,” each with different recipes gathered by Carrier during her travels.
“I’ve been wanting to call a project ‘DKDC’ for 20 years,” she said, “and I finally just asked myself, ‘Why the heck not?’”
As for what the letters stand for, she continues to remain secretive but assures that the answer will be revealed in the not-too-distant future.
“Midtown is perfect for DKDC; Cooper-Young in particular,” she said. “The community is more lively and tight-knit than any other neighborhood in Memphis and I wouldn’t dream of opening it anywhere else.”
By Robert Soden
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