Doing the Harloff Hustle

Behind the Screen Door: Joel Harloff
Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

You may have eaten his lyrical food at the Landmark Restaurant in the Melrose Hotel, or maybe at Nana and Mi Piaci. You may have heard about Screen Door, the upcoming restaurant to feature his craft in One Arts Plaza. Still, Joel Harloff has been under the radar.

“I haven’t disappeared,” he says. “I’m working on things, and I’m waiting to break it on out.” Harloff is the food brains (mostly) behind Screen Door, the restaurant he and Café Italia owner Scott Jones will open in late fall. What’s the food? Modern Southern.

Wait, hasn’t the Modern or New Southern motif lived briefly in Dallas only to crash like a mayfly on Kentucky bourbon? (Side note: the U.S. Senate just named September National Bourbon Heritage Month, because if Senate resolutions stop, the terrorists have won.) Scrub your memories. There was Rooster. There was Traci’s. To a lesser extent there was Bay Leaf in Deep Ellum, which tried to sass up the South with a little Asian. Harloff insists he’s taking a different approach, creating things like pot pies with Spanish ingredients.

He calls it bringing Southern food back to life with Euro-Southern style (double dog dare: chitlin carpaccio). Think of it as slapping numbers on few Bentleys and getting them sideways on a dirt oval in Georgia.

“I think that right now everyone is just trying to compete to make the best mac ‘n cheese,” he says. Not Harloff. He’s competing with signature mint juleps. Watermelon for example. So drink up. A steak shortage is hitting New York. Dallas will soon follow. Ethanol is blamed. --Mark Stuertz

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.