While visiting Dallas for a high-profile tech trial in January, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg spent the day building a fruit and vegetable garden in Oak Cliff.
While visiting Dallas for a high-profile tech trial in January, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg spent the day building a fruit and vegetable garden in Oak Cliff.
courtesy Facebook

Big Macs, Barbecue and Mark Zuckerberg: The Most-Read Dallas Observer Food News of 2017

It is perhaps the world's largest understatement that 2017 was a year filled with news — earth-shaking, head-scratching, social consciousness-raising news. The Dallas dining scene was not immune to such moments.

This list, arguably, does not contain the city's "biggest" dining news of the year, but rather the news that proved most intriguing to Observer readers. It's a peek inside the minds of Dallas diners and the topics that speak to them, and a look at the kind of information people love to share with one another. From social justice issues to openings and closings to philanthropy during Texas' biggest time of need, these are our most-read stories of 2017, in ascending order.

10. The Bottle Shop Is Closing and Selling Their Entire Cellar of Rare and Hard-to-Get Beers
In January, Greenville Avenue craft beer haven the Bottle Shop announced that, after six years, the end was nigh.

"Bottle Shop has had a good run — Greenville is not the same street as it was when we opened," Stephanie Roethlisberger, the former general manager, said at the time. "We couldn't be happier about all of the development in the area, but the parking isn't really conducive for retail business — i.e, You can't just park, run in and get a growler filled, or grab a six-pack and get outta there without having to valet park or walk half a mile. So, in essence, it's just time."

While the news of the closing saddened Dallas beer lovers, it may have been eclipsed by one detail: Bottle Shop's intention to sell off its entire vast cellar of rare, limited-release and hard-to-get beers. Bottle Shop's cellar was one of the city's best, which made the news of the closing no less heartbreaking.

9. A Master List of Dallas Restaurants Raising Money, Supplies for Harvey Relief Efforts
Hurricane Harvey gave Dallas little more than a few weak rain bands — and a few thousand Harvey refugees in North Texas shelters — but its devastation across the state struck an obvious chord in Dallas. Much like it did in the aftermath of the July 2016 police shooting downtown, the Dallas restaurant community was one of the first groups to activate, this time throwing massive fundraisers and gathering donations for Texans in need. Their infinite connections and penchant for hospitality make bars and restaurants some of a community's most effective fundraisers.

8. 52 Grams of Fat, 860 Calories: McDonald’s New Grand Mac Is a Monstrosity
This is where we're reminded that the year's biggest news and the year's most-read news are two very different things. Even still, Nick Rallo took one for the team by eating McDonald's Grand Mac, released in January, so the rest of us didn't have to. With a full 1/3 pound of beef, two slices of American cheese, a super-sized sesame bun, lettuce, onion and pickle, this unnecessary creation clocked in at 52 grams of fat, 62 grams of carbs, 1,470 milligrams of sodium, 860 calories and 140 grams of cholesterol.

Even if you don't touch that milkshake or a single french fry (yeah, right), eating this burger means you'll consume 91 percent of your daily recommended saturated fat intake. Hard pass, Ronald McD. We'll take our hard-earned beef money to one of the city's best local burger joints instead.

Kimzey's is meticulously crafted to resemble a Comstock home, a series of whimsical cottages designed and built by Hugh Comstock during the 1920s in a small seaside California town.
Kimzey's is meticulously crafted to resemble a Comstock home, a series of whimsical cottages designed and built by Hugh Comstock during the 1920s in a small seaside California town.
Courtney Jacobs

7. This Whimsical Fairy Tale Cottage Is Home to North Texas’ Newest Craft Coffee Shop
Sex sells, sure, but so does whimsy — and you'd be hard-pressed to find a North Texas coffee shop more whimsical than Kimzey's, which opened in March in Argyle. A concept from the development group behind Barley & Board, LSA Burger and Earl’s 377, Kimzey's was modeled after the idea of a "fairy tale author’s home, a cozy nook where he and his 10-year-old daughter pen storybook adventures by the fireside over hot cocoa," Courtney Jacobs wrote. But even aside from the cuteness, there's decent coffee (Denton' West Oak) to keep people in this small town returning for more.

6. Bottled Blonde, Opening in Deep Ellum, Accused of Racism and Liquor License Violations in Chicago
If there's any Dallas neighborhood with a steadfast sense of identity, at least for now, it's Deep Ellum. So when word came that a massive new nightclubby restaurant from an out-of-town company would bring scantily clad servers and competing neighborhood ideals to the ever-changing area, Deep Ellum was uncertain. Bottled Blonde Dallas opened in the fall and, at least for some locals, became somewhat of a metaphor for the cadre of changes that are about to come.

5. Dallas Dining Scene Rocked by Two Major Restaurant Closures in One Day
The closure of a local, independent restaurant — especially in a restaurant scene as tightly knit as Dallas' — often elicits feelings of loss and a fear of who could be next. But two at once is especially rough. So it went in August, when Filament (Matt McCallister's Deep Ellum experiment in Southern fare) and the Plano location of Dallas barbecue heavy-hitter Smoke both closed in one weekend. Smoke remains open at the Belmont in West, and Filament's trendy industrial space on Main Street is still empty.

4. Mark Zuckerberg Spent Martin Luther King Day Building a Community Garden in Oak Cliff
Before Mark Zuckerberg's visit in mid-January, local news reports speculated that a high-profile tech case could bring the Facebook founder to Dallas. And it did, but Zuckerberg used the visit, at least in part, as an opportunity to kick off his grand attempt to visit every state in the U.S. this year. In Dallas, he spent an afternoon with local community organization Commit Partnership, helping the group clear land to make way for a community garden in Oak Cliff. He used the photo op to bring attention to Oak Cliff and South Dallas' food desert status, a situation that, despite the high-profile visit, remains largely unchanged — although creative efforts are underway.

A sign at Lark on the Park on Feb. 16 read, "Call your congressmen and tell them life in the USA does not work well without letting immigrants work."EXPAND
A sign at Lark on the Park on Feb. 16 read, "Call your congressmen and tell them life in the USA does not work well without letting immigrants work."
Beth Rankin

3. These Dallas Restaurants Are Short-Staffed or Closed Today As Part of a Day Without an Immigrant
On Feb. 16, a nationwide protest called A Day Without an Immigrant encouraged immigrants to stay home from work, keep their kids home from school and refrain from spending money in an effort to make a statement about immigrants' deep-rooted impact on the American economy. In Dallas, staff at restaurants such as the Theodore, Bolsa and Bolsa Mercado walked off the job for the day. Other restaurants confirmed staff shortages, and some served limited menus as a result. Oddfellows' Anastacia Quinones faced hectic days but was supportive of her protesting staff.

"They are making a stance for sure for their friends and family," Quinones said. "They didn't take their kids to school, either, not going to the grocery store or anything. I'm tempted to send them all food."

2. Everybody Freak Out: Hill Country Barbecue Icon Salt Lick BBQ Is Coming to DFW
In May, barbecue-loving Dallasites jumped for joy at the news that Texas barbecue icon Salt Lick would be opening a location in Grapevine. Initial press releases said that the Driftwood eatery would open a 10,000-square-foot indoor and outdoor dining space nestled on 10 wooded acres. The restaurant was originally slated to open in late 2018. We reached out to Salt Lick for an update, and the restaurant confirms that plans are still underway but that the anticipated open date has been pushed back to early 2019.

1. Booze With a View: The 12 Best Rooftop Patios in Dallas-Fort Worth
What can we say? Our most-read story of 2017 is proof that Dallas loves a good rooftop patio. This year saw more bars and restaurants committing to such grand amenities, and we don't see the trend dying down in 2018.

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