Openings and Closings

The Iconic Underground Dakota’s Steakhouse Rises Again

The dining room at Dakota's is projected to reopen in July
The dining room at Dakota's is projected to reopen in July Dakota's Steakhouse/Kevin Marple
The historic Dakota’s Steakhouse is being saved. Last May we reported that the 37-year-old restaurant shuttered, a victim of the pandemic. A new owner has stepped in and plans to reopen it in July.

Before we get to the introductions, first a little background on what makes this space interesting. Originally the property was owned by the First Dallas Baptist Church and a clause in the deed prohibited any future owners from selling alcohol on the grounds. Little did they know that just makes drinking there even more enticing.

Case in point, the next occupants wanted a swanky restaurant as an anchor for their corporate headquarters and interpreted “on the grounds” not to include “below ground,” so the digging began. For 37 years Dakota’s was a high-end steakhouse in a setting quite unlike any other; an 1,800-square-foot underground restaurant,  dining amidst classic New Orleans charm and a five-tier water wall.

click to enlarge
The water wall will flow once again.
Dakota's Steakhouse/Kevin Marple
Meredith McEneny is the new owner. Her husband, Tim McEneny, is a local restaurateur whose concepts include Jalisco Norte, obar, Dish Preston Hollow and other spaces.

“For the past 10 years, I’ve supported Tim with accounting and payroll duties for his companies. I thought it time to get involved in this industry wearing a different hat. I saw the closing of Dakota’s as an opportunity to do just that,” McEneny said in a statement.

McEneny has fond memories of celebrating special occasions at Dakota’s while attending SMU and is “excited to bring back a treasured place where we can return to lots of laughter, good times and great food.”

The kitchen will receive an overhaul before reopening, but McEneny is saving the historic dining room and patio. Customers can expect the same classic culinary approach, including steaks from Allen Brothers.

Dakota’s Steakhouse is located at 600 N. Akard St. and plans to reopen in July.
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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.