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10 of the Most-Read Dallas Observer Food Stories of 2020

The xiao long bao (soup dumplings) are listed on the Fortune House menu as "steamed juicy dumplings," and you need them.
The xiao long bao (soup dumplings) are listed on the Fortune House menu as "steamed juicy dumplings," and you need them. Kathy Tran
Though most of this year hasn’t been ideal for dining inside our favorite restaurants, there was still plenty to write about. And readers read.

Here are some of the most-read food-related pieces in the Dallas Observer over the last year. Before we look forward to vaccines, getting together with others one day and sitting beside strangers as we sip perfect Manhattans at our favorite bar, let’s take a look back.

5 Ways Texas’ Reopening Could Destroy the Restaurant Industry



It feels like three years ago, but it was in April that critic Brian Reinhart considered the result of restaurants reopening after the initial closing in 2020.

Was he right? Read it to find out. (But we’re confident he was absolutely correct on No. 5.)

Mot Hai Ba’s Chef Accused of Harassing Asian-Americans



Some people just want to eat great food at a restaurant they love, no matter what's coming out of the mouths of the people preparing the meal.

That proved not to be the case for many when accusations came out against Mot Hai Ba chef Peja Krstic.

As Brian explained in June, “It all started with a typo.”


Why You Don’t See Face Masks on Many Grocery Store Workers

It’s hard to imagine a time when we didn’t see every employee of a place masked, but that was the case in April, and writer Philip Kingston explored why.

3 Restaurants in the Dallas Area Are Favorites on Yelp, Nationally



I wrote this story and couldn't recall what those three restaurants were.

Are they your favorites? Revisit the story from January and see. (We’ll admit one of them is definitely a favorite of ours.)

The Soup Dumpling Power Rankings in Dallas



It says something wonderful about our readers that this is on the list. You all have good taste in food.

Soup dumplings can be some of the best comfort food on a cold night or in any other weather type you need as an excuse to consume these precious xiao long bao.

Now, Brian’s February piece was back in the day when we ranked things — we’ve done less of that in the era of the pandemic — but it’s still a useful resource, especially as temperatures cool. (We like to think they will, even though as we write this on Dec. 9 the temperature outside is 79 degrees.)

click to enlarge COURTESY OF FLETCHER'S ORIGINAL CORNY DOGS
courtesy of Fletcher's Original Corny Dogs

We Try the Fletcher’s Corn Dog from Golden Chick’s Drive-Thru



In September, a certain author didn’t give a hoot about the State Fair of Texas not happening in its normal way, but when news came about Fletcher’s being available, she hustled to a Golden Chick.

We wrote about it and lots of people read it. Then they followed up with their own, rather terrible experiences. So we followed up with another post.

The Whippersnapper’s New Pop-Up Bar that’s Inspired by The Office



Just 10 days into 2020, Lauren Drewes Daniels had a story about the transformation of the Whip in East Dallas.

The bar has seen a number of facades and themes, and Office lover Lauren had to go and write with show references her editor didn’t understand.

In Seven Days, Seven Dallas Restaurants Report Positive Cases of COVID-19 Among Staff



This year has had plenty of depressing times — the day this list was written, 30 people in Dallas County died of the virus — but when Lauren wrote this story about restaurants dealing with coronavirus cases on their staff, that week felt like endless bad news.

We had to keep updating this one story as the number of restaurants rose between her filing and our publishing.

Hillstone Employees Told They Can’t Wear Face Masks



Here’s another bummer of a story: While plenty of restaurants are doing all they can to both stay open and keep everyone safe, not all are, but everyone’s paying for it.

In May, writer Alex Gonzalez spoke to workers at Hillstone, who explained how they couldn’t wear masks.

Bonkers, right?

The Dallas Food Scene Isn’t Excited for Its Newest Chinese Restaurant



While restaurants were grappling with their futures in April, a new one came to the scene by Trinity Groves’ Phil Romano: Sum Dang Good Chinese. Truly, that was and still is the name.

Brian supplied a few words from the menu and the community’s response, which was less than welcoming.

We still don’t like the name but the dumplings are good, as they should be with the experienced Weigou Cai at the lead.
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Taylor Adams has written about the restaurant industry for the Dallas Observer since 2016. Now the Observer's food editor, she attended Southern Methodist University before covering local news at The Dallas Morning News.