Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Restaurant openings spell good times for Dallas scene and economy
A dozen high-profile places will open in the next few weeks.
DALLAS Prosperity is smiling on the Dallas-Fort worth restaurant scene with a dozen high-profile restaurants slated to open in the next couple of months, including a barbecue joint with Texas pedigree and four new places doing their unique rendition of authentic Mexican.
Dallas restaurateur Tristan Simon, head of Consilient Restaurant Group, whose restaurant Alma will open next week, attributes the openings to timing as well as a growing optimism about the economy.
"Pretty much everyone I know who runs a good restaurant had a 2010 holiday season that was markedly better than 2009," he says. "And the holiday momentum which normally falls off a cliff seems to have rolled into 2011."
That said, the current flurry of openings are more circumstance than design.
"Spring ends up being a common time for new places to premiere, although I don't think that's deliberate," he says. "What happens is that you shoot for getting a place open before the holidays. But restaurant development being what it is, you encounter delays and then have to make the decision: Do you rush to get it open before the holidays, or do you wait until right after?"
That was the dilemma faced by restaurateur Abraham Salum, who will open his new Mexican home-cooking restaurant Komali in 10 days.
"We wanted to be open in November, but it was hard to get permits, the city is really backed up," Salum says. "The process took a little longer than we thought. But spring is a good time, in my case it just happened like that."
The silver lining to end-of-the-year delays is that opening in January is better from a personnel standpoint, Simon says.
"If you're trying to hire staff, no good servers or bartenders are going to leave their job during the holiday season because that's when they're making good money," he says. "There's no better time to hire than in January."
Here's a list of some of the more prominent new restaurants in Dallas-Fort Worth set to open in the next six weeks:
- Best Enchiladas Ever (AKA "BEE"). Date: January 25.
"Enchiladeria" in Bishop Arts from Monica Greene of Monica's Aca Y Alla fame. You build your own Chipotle-esque enchilada with four kinds of tortillas: corn, blue corn, wheat, and white flour, and three sauces: chipotle crema, avocado verde, and oaxaca mole.
- Lockhart Smokehouse. Date: within the next week
New barbecue restaurant in Bishop Arts from relatives of legendary Kreuz Market owner Edgar "Smitty" Schmidt will also be exclusive distributor of Kreuz Market sausage in Dallas.
- Malai. Date: January 31
Thai-Vietnamese restaurant going into the former Tom Tom Noodle House space in West Village comes from Braden and Yasmin Wages, graduates of Cornell University’s School of Hospitality Management, who've trained with Hillstone Restaurant Group.
- Hacienda San Miguel. Date: within the next couple of weeks
New Fort Worth branch of Cafe San Miguel, the authentic Mexican restaurant on Henderson Avenue and one of the first to stake a spot on the eastern edge of the strip. The Fort Worth branch will open in the West 7th District next to Patrizio, and will be similar to the Henderson Ave. original.
- Cedars Woodfire Grill. Date: next few weeks
Fast-casual concept opening first outlet in Plano at Park & Midway, from former corporate restaurant types who worked at Carlson, Yum, Domino’s, and Dr Pepper. Food will have no hormones or antibiotics, no processed cheese, no freezer or microwave. Oh, and "local artisan bread".
- Alma. Date: February 2
Chef-driven regional Mexican restaurant from Consilient Restaurants opens in the old Cuba Libre space. This past weekend, they hosted friends-and-family tastings which earned special praise for the guacamole and tres leches cake.
- Komali. Date: February 4.
Authentic regional Mexican restaurant from chef Abraham Salum going into space on Cole Avenue at Fitzhugh next door to his high-end Salum. Menu will include a seafood soup made with tomatillo and thickened with masa, and a trio of mini-quesadillas filled with huitlacoche, zucchini blossoms, and mushrooms & poblanos.
- Il Cane Rosso. Date: early February
Pizzaioli Jay Jerrier's much-anticipated bricks & mortar pizzeria in Deep Ellum.
- Clear Fork Station. Date: mid-February.
Chef Grady Spears' new "cowboy cuisine" restaurant opening in Fort Worth's Willow Park. According to Bud, it'll feature Grady's signature chicken-fried steak, chicken and dumplings, and chicken potpie. He'll still keep Grady's on Forest Park Boulevard.
- Marquee Date: mid-March.
- Cedars Social. Date: mid-March
"Cocktail den" with Southern comfort food in small plates, opened in the Cedars community on South Lamar by former NFL linebacker Brian Williams, starring chef John Tesar as an opening consulting chef, and mixologist Michael Martensen.
- Four Sisters Cafe. Date: March.
Newest concept from Dale Wamstad, founder of Del Frisco’s and III Forks, is going into the same Shire complex in northeast Richardson that's also home to a Silver Fox, another Wamstad creation.