Restaurant Group Acquires Highland Park Soda Fountain Location

The home of the former Highland Park Soda Fountain, which closed in 2018, is set to get new life. 

Duro Hospitality, the group behind popular Design District hot spots The Charles, Bar Charles, and new Greenville Avenue restaurant Sister, will take over the historic location at the corner of Knox Street and Travis Street in the fall. A press release didn’t provide many details about what the location will become, though. 

The more-than-century old establishment was a pharmacy before becoming a soda fountain. 

Duro Hospitality, which was founded in 2020 by managing partners Benji Homsey, Chas Martin, Corbin See, and Ross See, is a hospitality firm specializing in operations, concepting, development, and design focused on restaurants, bars, hotels, and multi-family projects.

The acquisition of the Highland Park Soda Fountain location is part of an expansion of Duro Hospitality’s footprint in the city. 

The group says their first foray into the hotel industry, Casa Duro, will open in the first quarter of 2022. The three apartments that sit above Sister will be available for short and long-term stays. Each apartment (two with two bedrooms, and the third with one bedroom) has undergone full renovations and are completely furnished, including kitchens. 

Rounding out the Lower Greenville location will be Café Duro. Adjacent to Sister, Café Duro will serve as a café and market offering coffee, wine, house-made pasta, pre-cut meats, charcuterie, cheese, pastries, paninis, home goods, and more. Café Duro is also slated to open in the first quarter of 2022. 

Duro Hospitality has also recently acquired a property in the Design District at the corner of Cole and Riverfront that’s in the early stages of development. It’s expected to open in mid-2022.

“We built Duro Hospitality on the dream of becoming one of the most well-respected hospitality groups in the country. We’re so fortunate to be able to do what we love while bringing a unique vision to the market, and couldn’t be more excited to expand in Dallas,” said Chas Martin, founding managing partner. “To me, hospitality is about what we like to call ‘The Duro Release’ – making organic, memorable experiences that transport guests out of the day-to-day grind and into a place that is inviting and comfortable. I can’t wait for more people to experience what we’re creating.” 

Martin has served as general manager and managing partner of The Charles since it first opened in May 2018, but is relinquishing the former of those titles to focus on new hospitality projects. 

Homsey spent nearly 20 years with Hotel Zaza with a focus on all aspects of the business including operations, most recently serving as president of brand and development for Z Resorts, where his focus was to procure new developments. 

Corbin is one half of the duo of Sees Design, a second-generation interior design firm with offices in Dallas and Oklahoma City. See, whose main focus is interior design, has been featured on Architectural Digest, Sotheby’s 20 to watch in 2020, participated in the inaugural and esteemed Kips Bay Dallas Showhouse, and has been consecutively listed by D Home as Best Designers in Dallas since 2017. 

Ross, Allied ASID, brings over 15 years of interior design experience to the Sees Design duo. See’s main role at the design firm is a focus on interior architecture and space planning.

Benji Homsey, Chas Martin, Corbin See, and Ross See. PHOTO: Courtesy Duro Hospitality

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at

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