Delicious: Rise offers a slice of Europe without ever leaving the Hollow

Marshmallow soup (Photo by Kathy Tran)
Marshmallow soup (Photo by Kathy Tran)

Savory & Silky

Food only is a fraction of what Rise No. 1 offers.

The Inwood Village establishment’s ambiance is as important to founder Hedda Gioia Dowd as its French cuisine. She pays painstaking attention to every detail, from the table settings with mismatched flatware to the indoor birch trees wrapped in sparkling lights.

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Dowd was adamant that the restaurant should be family-oriented and inviting when she opened the restaurant with chef Cherif Brahmi in 2008. The simple menu features sweet or savory soufflés, usually made with seasonal ingredients.

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With French and Italian roots, Dowd was exposed to European culture at an early age, and she jokes that Rise’s inception traces back to her own birth. She spent every childhood summer in France with her grandparents, who taught her to appreciate conversation during a quality meal, she says. She aims to provide that at her own establishment.

“In this restaurant, in nine years, I could count on one hand how many times someone pulled out a computer,” she says.

The cozy setting and relaxed environment has made it a favorite for all, and even former president George W. Bush, a Preston Hollow neighbor, has become a regular.

Rise became a footnote in history when Bush got the phone call that Osama bin Laden was dead while eating a crab soufflé at the bistro. Headlines from The Atlantic’s “When Bush Got the Bin Laden Call (While Eating a Soufflé)” to USA Today’s “Bush was ‘eating souffle’ when Obama called with news of bin Laden’s death” quickly circulated the internet.

It’s a moment the bistro staff won’t easily forget. But it’s not the only one engrained in Dowd’s memory.

“So many interesting people come to Rise,” she says. “They feel like it’s their place. You don’t have to be a former president.”

One customer even asked Dowd if her ashes could be scattered at the restaurant. Dowd had to refuse, but she says she’s honored the establishment has made such an immense impact.

“It’s become the soul of so many people’s lives,” she says.

Houston, and soon Forth Worth, can taste the decadent soufflés, which Dowd calls “an egg in celebratory form.” She and Brahmi teamed up with Chris Florczak, who previously ran Highland Park’s Hillstone, to expand Rise.

“It’s great to work with a team like Hedda and Cherif, who are dedicated to preserving the uniqueness of this kind of dining experience,” he says.

Did you know: Founder Hedda Gioia Dowd planned Rise’s entire menu while on an airplane traveling from France to Dallas.

Rise No. 1
Ambiance: Cozy bistro
Price Range: $10-$30
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday,
11 a.m.- 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday,
11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday
5360 Lovers Lane
214.366.9900
risesouffle.com

Bananas Foster soufflé (Photo by Kathy Tran)
Bananas Foster soufflé (Photo by Kathy Tran)

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