Royal Blue grocer 2

You didn’t think they’d leave Parkies without a grocery store, now did you? Of course not! Hot news – Nancy Nichols reports on SideDish that Washburne signed a deal just last night with Austin-based Royal Blue Grocery Store. The urban market has everything from bagels and breakfast tacos to antipasto and cheese platters. They also do deli-type catering for one or fifty. The new store is slated to open July 1 in the spot vacated by Tom Thumb at HPV.

Royal Blue Grocer1


Photo: Courtesy of Highland Park Village

Photo: Courtesy of Highland Park Village

I know lots of people who would be thrilled about Dean & DeLuca moving into Highland Park Village as Tom Thumb plans to move out on Nov. 30, as Maria Halkias reported on the Dallas Morning News business blog. They would certainly be a better fit for the neighborhood, which has homes with an incredibly high values and density.

However, now that the owners of Highland Park Village have said that plans for a hotel in the posh shopping center have been scrapped, we have to wonder what will occupy the 18,500-square-foot space, which is too small for a traditional grocer, but too big for a high-fashion retailer.

What would you like to see in that spot?

Gingerbread Stroll

Gingerbread House by Four Seasons Resort and Club Pastry Chef Randy Gehman and Hayoung Lesser, Photo: Courtesy of Haynsworth Photography

We love the annual Gingerbread Stroll hosted by Highland Park Village. It’s an event that is beloved by both children and adults and features some of the most amazing pastry chefs Dallas has to offer. Organized by the tireless Christine McKenny, a top-producing Realtor at Dave Perry-Miller and Associates, it’s a must-do event for the holiday season.

Of course, because of it’s popularity with, we’re not surprised that this fantastic event that combines three of our favorite things — houses, shopping, and charity — is one of the top-five gingerbread home events in the nation!


Tom Thumb HPVHighland Park Village Tom Thumb

It’s been rumored for weeks, but today it was made official: Tom Thumb will close its charming Highland Park Village grocery store at Preston and Mockingbird in the next 12 months.

The reason? The store is small and outmoded by today’s mega-supermarket standards, and there is plenty of room for expansion. Also, Safeway, parent company of Tom Thumb, is being courted by potential buyers.

“We have enjoyed being in Highland Park Village over the years, but the store is small and outmoded by today’s supermarket standards, with no opportunity for on-site expansion,” Tom Thumb president Paul McTavish said today in a news release.

Ironically, the Highland Park Village store first opened as a Safeway in 1935.

With Safeway trying to “house stage” for a suitor, the company may well have decided that the store, a mere 18,500 square feet, does not have the revenue potential of the average 46,000 square foot Tom Thumb. There are other, smaller Tom Thumbs around town, such as the Tom Thumb at Snider Plaza, and Preston Center next to Park Cities Baptist Church, but perhaps the rents are not as high. McTavish also says the company is seeking a location to build a full-sized Tom Thumb in the neighborhood.

There is also a Simon David at Inwood and University.

Personally, I like the smaller stores. The fifth and newest Central Market in the Dallas area is on the southeast corner of Royal Lane and Preston Road in the Preston Oaks shopping center.  The space is approximately 30,000 square feet. That’s smaller than the average 45,000 square foot super market, but in my humble opinion, much more efficient. The huge stores have way too many choices, way too many aisles to temp us into buying.

Which is why, perhaps, an 18,500 square foot store cannot be as profitable.

Dallas is one of the most competitive grocery markets in the country. Apparently, it’s a real slug-fest in the grocery store biz. The nation’s supermarket competitors are duking it out harder than ever to:

“enhance their performance and accelerate market share. Gaining an edge over the many faces of competition in the present era, however, requires an ever more delicate balancing act between price, selection and service on one end and cost containment, capital investments in people, facilities and shopper engagement strategies on the other, to attract and retain a strong customer base.”

Rumor (RUMOR!) has it a Dean&Deluca New York-style deli will go into the Tom Thumb space, giving a place to buy a little milk, juice, fruit, black & white cookies and hopefully some great New York City bagels.

There’s nothing like a great New York deli bagel to help you feel better. Skillerns Corner



Talk about delicious real estate! The 2013 Gingerbread Stroll at Highland Park Village plans to top years past with eye-popping confections from the regions most acclaimed chefs.

This annual event is perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth who wants to support a fantastic cause. From now until Nov. 30, you can tour 13 of the most posh shops and boutiques in the Park Cities and bid on these incredible decorated gingerbread houses.

Founded by Dallas Realtor and all-around charitable virtuoso Christine McKenny, this event is a tasty way to bring together the community while raising funds for local childrens charities. Last year, the stroll raised $8,000 for Community Partners of Dallas, and this year’s beneficiary is Wipe Out Kids Cancer, a non-profit dedicated to eradicating pediatric cancer by funding research.


“The Gingerbread Stroll has become a wonderful tradition during the most wonderful time of the year,” McKenny said. “People of all ages gather with their family and friends to attend, and it’s always fun to see how the chefs express themselves creatively. Everyone loves a gingerbread house!”


Gingerbread Stroll attendees can enter to win prizes such as a holiday carriage ride through the Park Cities, an overnight stay at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek or the Ritz-Carlton. You can buy gingerbread cookies from Celebrity Bakery, too, of which a portion of the proceeds will benefit Community Partners of Dallas.

The talented pastry chefs participating in this year’s stroll include:

• Celebrity Café & Bakery | Decorator Jamie Eckert
• Fine Arts Concepts | Joy Lynn
• Four Seasons Resort and Club, Cafe on the Green | Pastry Chef Randy Gehman & Hayoung Lesser
• Hilton Anatole | Pastry Sous Chef Kristina Kent
• Hyatt Regency Dallas at Reunion | Pastry Chef Saju Meppidayil & Executive Chef Hermann Hiemeyer
• Omni Dallas Hotel | Pastry Chef Kristina Kent
• Remington College Pastry Arts Program | Chef Jeff Johnston & Students
• Rosewood Crescent Hotel | Pastry Chef Carly Fields
• Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek | Pastry Chef Nicolas Blouin
• Royal Oaks Country Club | Executive Chef Wade Burch CEC
• The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas | Pastry Chef Corey Thomson
• Tom Thumb | Gingerbread House Creator Sherry Barnard

Merchants opening their shops for the stroll include: Beretta Gallery, Carolina Herrera, Celebrity Café & Bakery, Cole Haan, Deno’s of Highland Park, ESCADA, Kiehl’s Since 1851, Lela Rose, Robert Talbott Carmel, SCOOP NYC, Trina Turk, Tom Thumb, Village Barber Shop, Village Kitchen and TOKO V.

Go stroll and bid today!

3800 Miramar

I’m just back from the beach, so I was catching up on my news reading when I saw that there was some pretty hairy crime in the Park Cities.

But I’m not going to let the news of a robbery at knifepoint make you think that Highland Park isn’t a safe place to make your nest. After writing the police blotter for a couple of years at Park Cities People, I can tell you that while crazy stuff does happen in Highland Park, the Highland Park DPS is full of top-notch, caring officers who bust their butts to keep their citizens safe.

3800 Miramar Great Room

So to help you get over the news, we have a lovely home for you at 3800 Miramar Avenue in Highland Park. Not only is this amazing Spanish Colonial Revival built in 2000, but it looks just as if it was meant to be in Highland Park. Is this Weldon Turner-designed home not a dead ringer for Fooshee and Cheek’s iconic Highland Park Village? This pair also designed some very beautiful Spanish-style homes on Beverly Drive, a style that reverberates throughout the Park Cities in new construction.

3800 Miramar Great Room Bar

Just west of Drexel Drive and south of Beverly Drive sits this amazing 9,972-square-foot home. While there are just four bedrooms and four full and three half baths, this home is full of rooms with purpose, and is built to enlighten and entertain crowds who can appreciate the attention to detail in the curved arches, the carved columns, and every hand finished tile in this John Sebastian-built mansion. It’s listed by Allie Beth Allman for $12.5 million — a sum that, after looking through the amazing pictures, seems to be worth every penny.

3800 Miramar Music RoomThe sellers are Pam and Gary Patsley, both accomplished executives, with Paymentech and Bank of America, respectively. No word on why they’re selling this amazing property, but if you’re wondering, Dallas Central Appraisal District has 3800 Miramar on the tax rolls for a little more than $7 million.

Baylor Hospital Foundation Event

3800 Miramar Dining Room

Things you’ll love about this home: 12-foot ceilings, gilded chandeliers, a wooded and private feeling corner lot, tons of natural light buffeted by a canopy of trees, a huge great room with plenty of room for a grand piano, an amazing stone spiral staircase that leads to an impressive wine cellar in the basement, an underground media room, a sizable guest house, and gorgeous plaster work.

3800 Miramar Kitchen


The master bedroom is huge and has its own balcony. It’s just the place to loosen your tie and relax after entertaining a crowd downstairs. The balcony offers fantastic views and plenty of room to soak up the waning sun with a glass of wine.

3800 Miramar Master

The master bath has the best layout I’ve seen in a long time, with room for entertainment and cardio equipment without skimping on a massive shower and jetted tub. The vanities are close to the shower, which is perfect and accessible. I just love the stone and fixtures, too!

3800 Miramar Master Bath

If you think the interiors are amazing, just step outside the great room to the loggia, from which you’ll admire the pool and landscaping. You can also see the guest house, which is just as luxurious and well-appointed as the main house. The patio is a work of art, too, with greenery and stone work that is a feast for the eyes. This home is just amazing, don’t you agree? I wonder who will snap it up!?

3800 Miramar Patio 3800 Miramar Loggia



3800 Miramar Media Room 3800 Miramar Wine Cellar

6601 Hunters Glen gatesBy now we all know about the Hicks-Crespi estate on Walnut Hill Lane at Hollow Way, breathtaking  beautiful and the most expensive home for sale not just in Dallas but in the whole country at $135 million. Ha — take that, Woodside, CA and New York! We know number 2 on the list, 4939 Manson Court ruled the top roost last year and this year, until the Hicks home was declared available. Manson Court owners are Shanin and Bryan Wilburn of Southwest Risk LLP, an insurer that takes on high-hazard business exposure. Number three is that classical beauty of Mt. Vernon overlooking White Rock Lake, which you have heard me gush about for years: classic, auto concourse, bowling alley, guest house. Mt. Vernon is owned by real estate tycoon John Amen and his wife, Teresa.

But you have not heard much about 6601 Hunters Glen. This home is listed for $19,500,000, gotta watch my zeros here. This house is simply amazing and a world unto itself, yet it’s almost within walking distance of Highland Park Village in Volk Estates. Try 12,957-square feet, three-stories in a neoclassical design with lucite, contemporary touches. Also where will you find gated 1.802 acre grounds in University Park Estates, Highland Park High School? In Volk Estates, of course. This is perhaps the most spectacular gourmet kitchen anywhere, with adjoining breakfast and keeping rooms. Your cook will pay YOU just to work here. There is the center island counter with glass extension for guests to linger over, extra deep sink, four Fisher & Paykel dishwashers, four Sub-Zero beverage drawers and a wine cooler as well as shelves for cookbooks. The island is truly that, a world unto itself, but to the side is a Lacanche nine-burner range with pot filler, and take your pick, Miele or Wolf: one Miele oven, one Wolf oven, convection oven, two Sub-Zero refrigerators, a prep sink and butler’s area. The fact that there are just four bedroom suites in the main house tells me those suites are loaded like a magnum. The master suite has his-and-her bathrooms and dressing rooms, a sitting area with espresso bar and an exercise room. There is also an open library overlooking the great room on the first floor, one of several formal areas –reception room, library/billiard room, game room, dining room — and a second floor oversized laundry room with dripping closet and sink. There are ten fireplaces, private gardens and courtyards, outdoor kitchen, tennis courts with a covered viewing terrace — I saw one of these in Hawaii, very cool for impromptu matches, plus private putting green, pool, two-story cabana with kitchen and a massive oasis with outdoor kitchen, in-ground trampoline and a fire pit.

The grand entrance with fountain centerpiece and circular drive is perfect for valet parking events.  Guests are banished to the guest suite on the third level, with sliding doors, plus a whole comlex of rooms for a safe room, crafts room, more storage or staff’s offices. The home is owned by Tracey and Richard Cheatham. He’s a former director of land and negotiations acquisitions for Hunt Oil, now an investor in Bluescape Resources.

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4142 Normandy Front
If you have school-aged kids, renting a home in Highland Park or University Park is a great way to ensure your child receives an excellent education without the pain of finding the perfect private school.

If you’re still in the search for a great rental, our friends at have done the work for you. This week’s featured listing is 4142 Normandy, just a stone’s throw from excellent shopping at Highland Park Village, as well as the Park Cities YMCA and the Dallas Country Club.

4124 Normandy Living

And of course, this rental is inside Highland Park ISD, one of the top school districts in the state, and perhaps even the country.

For $1,800 a month you get a two-bedroom, one-bath, second-floor unit that is great for a small family or a single mom. There’s a total of 1,700 square feet in which you have a terrace, a balcony, a fireplace, and washer/dryer connections. There are hardwood floors, too, that are in excellent condition.

4142 Normandy Terrace

I think this rental is at an excellent location with a great price, but it probably looks better in person than in photographs. What do you think?