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Food News: Nodding Donkey SMU Closes, Dallas McDonald's Test 'Fresh Beef' & a Fancy Club Gets Fancier

In this week's Dallas food news, two eateries shutter, a nightclub unveils an expensive renovation, Stephan Pyles announces the team for his latest endeavor and local beer comes to the Dallas Farmers Market.

  • Henderson Avenue "upscale dance club" Candleroom is celebrating its 13th birthday by unveiling a massive renovation. They're also launching a new cocktail menu broken down into categories: champagne, whiskey, juniper, agave, rum and so on.  Via a press release about the club's new look:

The renovation of Candleroom is being directed by award-winning 5G Studio Collaborative’s Interiors, led by Tiffany Woodson, Geoffrey Woodrum and Kim Lam-Davis. 5G’s design approach for Candleroom’s interiors combines luxe textures, finishes and details that create dramatic effects in the space that provide the comfort and intimacy for a distinctively high-style experience of nightlife. The result of the renovation design is the creation of a space that has elements of a comfortable, historic home with the expanses and vistas that are intriguing and conversation-generating apropos for a modern, exciting nightlife destination. 

  • In fast food news, McDonald's is testing "Quarter Pounders made with fresh beef" at 14 locations in Dallas, Nation's Restaurant News reports. We won't even get into how depressing it is that using fresh meat is a new concept for McDonald's, but NRN reports that if the burger beta tests go well, it "could foretell one of the biggest shifts in product specifications in the chain’s history." The test only applies to "burgers made with quarter-pound patties, including the Quarter Pounder with Cheese, Homestyle Burger, Bacon Clubhouse Burger and the Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese," the story reads. In a statement from McDonald's, the company warns against getting too excited about the fresh meat test:

“Like all of our tests, this one too is designed to see what works and what doesn’t within our restaurants by considering the operational experience, customer response, price points and other important information, which may inform future decisions,” McDonald’s spokeswoman Lisa McComb said in the email. “It’s very premature to draw any conclusions from this test.”

  • Now that Stephan Pyles' namesake restaurant is gone, the high-profile chef is going full-steam ahead on Stephan Pyles Flora Street Cafe, opening late May in the Arts District. Yesterday Pyles announced a couple members of the Flora Street Cafe team: Peter Barlow, the new chef de cuisine, and Ricardo “Ricchi” Sanchez, executive pastry chef. Executive chefs J Chastain and Peter Barlow "will lead the opening culinary team and then after a few months of transition, J Chastain will be departing to focus on upcoming personal and business projects," according to the release.

    Barlow and Sanchez are new to Dallas. Pyles snagged Barlow from Easy Bistro and Bar in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he was chef de cuisine. “I had heard great things about Peter so I flew to Chattanooga to visit the restaurant where he was Chef de Cuisine. He prepared a brilliant 17 course tasting menu for me and I offered him the job the next day,” Pyles said in the release.

    Sanchez, a native of Beaumont, joins Pyles after a stint as executive pastry chef at Nobu Las Vegas.

  • There are probably some bummed SMU students this week now that Nodding Donkey closed this week, GuideLive reports. Nodding Donkey's Uptown location is still in business, owners say, and is offering free drinks to anyone who mentions "SMU 618" to their server. 

  • Noble Rey Brewing Co. is bringing a "satellite taproom" to The Market at Dallas Farmers Market, GuideLive reports, and the 600-square-foot bar next to Scardello is set to open sometime this summer.

  • In a move that's sure to break the hearts of vegetarian hot dog enthusiasts, Samson's Gourmet Hot Dogs shuttered its Oak Lawn location this week to focus on its mobile unit, according to a Facebook post. To get your gourmet hot dog fix this weekend, hit up Samson's food truck at HomeGrown Fest at Main Street Garden Park. 

  • Asian Mint has doubled its space at 11617 N. Central Expressway at Forest Lane, according to a press release, and has added new menu items, according to a press release:

Expect to find the favorite Pad Thai offerings, Sea Bass, Thai Salads and lighter fare, along with signature spicy tuna crisps, drinks, organic wines, martinis, and tempting desserts. Look for such new menu items as Asian noodle salad, red snapper, peanut basil chicken. Look for gluten free options in casual digs and Saturday/Sunday brunch menus to delight.

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