Food News

Seven Years In: Dallas Restaurants That Endured and Others That Didn't

Dallas welcomed a whole slew of new restaurants in 2021. And while it’s always exciting to have something new to try, what happens when a place falls off the "hot new places" list?

We picked a moment in time — 2014 or thereabouts — and looked at what happened to restaurants that opened then. San Salvaje, Proof + Pantry, Luscher’s and Casa Rubia were all highly anticipated and widely acclaimed, yet none of them survived seven years. But as we expected, we found a number of restaurants that marked their seventh anniversary in the past year or so that are still very much worth celebrating.

Barbecue Was in the Spotlight
We’ve been a little barbecue captivated this year, with good reason. Looking back, 2014 certainly spurred that captivation with Cattleack Barbecue newly opened 2013. That next year, after a few years in Bishop Arts, Lockhart Smokehouse was ready to expand.

“We were high off of making the Texas Monthly top 50 list for the first time and scouted out locations that were manageable but didn’t have too much barbecue nearby,” said Jill Bergus, who co-owns Lockhart with her husband Jeff. “Downtown Plano fit the feeling that we liked in the Bishop Arts District and we had been longtime customers of Jorg’s Café Vienna across the street.”

Today, we can get Kreuz Market sausage, brisket, ribs and at Lockhart Smokehouse locations in Dallas, Plano and Arlington, at Texas Live.

When a change in ownership at the Dallas Farmers Market unsettled Diane and Justin Fourton’s plans for the future of their hotter-than-hot barbecue spot Pecan Lodge, they debated whether and how to continue. In 2014, they took the plunge and opened a restaurant all their own.

“The night before our grand opening in Deep Ellum, I couldn’t sleep,” Diane Fourton said. “Felt like once again, we’d risked everything. What if no one shows up? What if it was all for nothing? I remember walking through the dining room the next morning at 10:55 am and seeing people lining up outside and my heart was beating fast. I opened those doors for the first time, to welcome them inside and thought to myself 'They’re here! Thank God. We’re home.'"

A few blocks down in Deep Ellum, BrainDead Brewing opened with an iconic Coma Burger, plenty of beers and a patio that perfectly suited the neighborhood. Sadly, 2021 was not as good to them as 2014, and the brewery and hangout spot closed for good last month.

Big Changes Came to Lower Greenville
After Trader Joe’s opened on Lower Greenville Avenue in 2013, a flurry of restaurants followed, starting with Jason Boso’s Truck Yard, which will celebrate its ninth anniversary in September 2022. Restaurants that opened in the neighborhood in 2014 didn’t fare as well. The highly anticipated Blind Butcher closed in 2018, as did Yucatan Taco Stand. Both Clark Food & Wine Co. and C’Viche lasted only until 2016.

One notable survivor of that era is Palapas Original Seafood Bar, which opened in 2014 later than intended because permitting for its thatched roof turned into a drawn-out affair and lengthy delays. Last year they expanded the patio (more thatched roofs); the pink angel outside got a little makeover, and she’s still a recognizable streetside landmark in the neighborhood.

Both 2014 and 2021 Brought Transformation to Uptown
This year Dream Cafe moved out of the Quadrangle and not far over longtime beer haven The Ginger Man was bulldozed. TNT Tacos and Tequila, which opened in 2014, has also recently shuttered and has a wrecking ball aimed at it.

Crushcraft Thai also opened in The Quadrangle around 2014 with street food and a festive interior that made the rounds on Instagram. It’s the only current restaurant in the mixed-use center that will survive the construction of a new 12-story office tower; at some point, the cheerful spot for phat noodles, coconut milk curries and Thai beers will relocate nearby as construction continues.

Elsewhere in Uptown, Henry’s Majestic is still bringing strong drinks, live music and food seven years later. In West Village, you can still get a PB&J burger and other way-better-than-school-cafeteria food at Public School 214 (3700 McKinney Ave., No. 148).

Farther north in the Knox-Henderson neighborhood, Gemma has made good use of its seven years. Elegant food in a cozy and relaxed dining room is still a winner for special occasions or everyday meals for foodies.

Trinity Groves Fired Up
Trinity Groves, the restaurant strip built from a converted truck terminal, opened in 2013 following the completion of the Margaret Hunt Hill bridge in 2012. By 2014, things were rolling along, and while most of the original restaurants in the complex failed (Hoffman Hots, Kitchen LTO, Amberjax, SOUK and Trinity Hall among others), Kate Weiser Chocolate has thrived. Since opening at Trinity Groves, the chocolate shop has opened two more locations.

Next door, Tracy German’s Cake Bar has also stood the test of time since opening in 2014.

Up the road at Sylvan 30, Ten Ramen opened in 2014 serving some of what is arguably the best tonkotsu ramen in Dallas. Their spicy lobster miso and mushroom miso are still standouts, and they’ve since added another location in The Colony.

Bishop Arts Was Primed (and Capitalized) For Growth
Before the developer projects and apartments (and money) moved in, the Bishop Arts District was a fun, funky neighborhood with independent shops and stores. It’s still fun and funky and plenty of locally owned businesses still thrive there.

Dallas Grilled Cheese Co. opened in January 2015. Owner Mack Simpson had long dreamed of opening his own restaurant, and all these years later, this restaurant is still bringing the cheesiest sandwiches in town.

Jon and M.G. Stevens had dreams too. When they opened in 2014, they wanted their restaurant Stock & Barrel to be a mainstay in the neighborhood, not just the latest “it” restaurant. At the time, M.G. told the Observer, “We do feel that we have become a mainstay in the neighborhood. We have our long-time regulars that dine with us routinely, and we love that!”

The couple has made a lot of memories in the restaurant where Jon handles the New American wood-fired grill menu. The top one, they told us, was being able to host their own wedding reception for friends and family at their own restaurant.

When asked what their greatest challenge has been, M.G said, “COVID, obviously. Staying open the entire time was a challenge. … We had to get super creative in what we were able to offer to meet our customers' needs but also stay afloat and with a skeleton crew. We made it, hallelujah, and [we’re] so thankful.”

“We have been reminded to listen to the pulse of our neighbors; some ideas (menu items or otherwise) aren’t always what people want. It’s important to be open to new ideas and suggestions,” M.G. said.

Besides that, M.G. says the neighborhood feels like home now, and they plan to stay awhile.