Driftwood Closes, Leaves a Striped Bass-Shaped Hole in Oak Cliff's Heart

Driftwood, now shuttered.
Driftwood, now shuttered.
Amy McCarthy

It seems like this week, plumbing issues are damned and determined to take out some of Dallas' best places to buy and eat delicious food. First, we found out that Tom Spicer was losing his Spiceman 1410 storefrontover extensive plumbing issues in his ancient building, and now, Driftwood in Bishop Arts has shuttered permanently after closing earlier this month to repair similar issues.

Now, Driftwood owners Misery Loves Company, who you likely know as Sal Jafar II and Michael Martensen, look to relocate their seafood-driven restaurant. As the entrepreneurial pair told (of all fucking people) The Dallas Morning News' Leslie Brenner, the restaurant's "number one complaint" was its location in a small, nondescript building beside Bolsa Mercado along 635 West Davis Street.

If you've ever been by the building, it makes a lot of sense. I, for one, thought that Driftwood was a barbecue joint for a very long time. It doesn't exactly look like a place where you could drop a few twenties on a plate of truffled snow crab and big eye tuna sashimi. McClelland's style of cooking is refined and modern, something that just felt a little out of place alongside more rustic plates at its neighbor, Bolsa.

Notably, the restaurant had slipped a little in status since Chef Kyle McClelland took the reins from the restaurant's previous chef, Omar Flores. Brenner awarded the Flores-helmed restaurant four stars, but McClelland only earned three. In the time since that review, McClelland has been doing double duty, running the kitchen at both Driftwood and its sister restaurant Proof + Pantry.

Whether or not Driftwood suffered after the opening of Proof + Pantry is a dubious point, but its fancy-schmansy menu of New England seafood freshly flown in every day was a little upscale for the neighborhood. Sure, Bolsa and Lucia have been able to succeed, but they're both a little more niche than a straightforward restaurant that's serving up raw oysters on the half shell and beef Wellington. Bolsa was really the first fine dining restaurant in that part of town, and Lucia is, well, Lucia.

The restaurant's only real competition in terms of both price and quality of seafood in Dallas, John Tesar's Spoon Bar & Kitchen, is located in the more upscale Preston Center area, a move that would also make sense for the owners of Driftwood. There are plenty of ritzy neighborhoods for this much-beloved to set up shop in next, and if the success of Proof + Pantry is any indication, we'll likely see the restaurant open again sooner rather than later.


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