Food News

The Virgin Hotel Will Feature a New Matt McCallister Restaurant

Chef Matt McCallister in his now-closed restaurant FT33
Chef Matt McCallister in his now-closed restaurant FT33 Kathy Tran
The Virgin Hotel, opening in the Design District this December, will include a restaurant by Dallas chef Matt McCallister.

The Kitchen by Matt McCallister, as the new dining room will be rather grandly named, will showcase the kind of seasonal cooking we’ve come to expect from the chef, who became famous for designing plates around locally farmed produce.

Because McCallister will stay busy at his home base, Homewood, he has tapped chefs Nick Walker, formerly of CBD Provisions, and Jared Harms, from the Fairmont, to oversee day-to-day operations at the Virgin. Walker and Harms, like McCallister, try to source local products and ingredients wherever possible.

There will also be a full-time pastry chef, although that position hasn’t been filled yet. (It will not be Maggie Huff, who is staying at Homewood.)

Virgin’s restaurant situation is going to be a little complicated, so let’s unpack it carefully.

The hotel will have a large bar-restaurant-lounge area called Commons Club. The Kitchen will nestle within the Commons Club, as will the hotel’s bar, which is called — get ready for a shock — The Bar. An all-day cafe and “shared work space” will go by the name Funny Library.

(Update: A representative of the Virgin Hotel asked us to clarify that The Kitchen is “not the official name of the restaurant,” but rather merely part of the Club, which is “restaurant, bar and lounge combined.” So, yes, it’s confusing.)

According to a press release, the Commons Club lounge will be called The Shag Room and will have “a '70s glam inspiration design” and “smoked mirrored walls.”

But let’s go back to the restaurant. Fans of Homewood will know roughly what to expect: French and Mediterranean influences, a focus on fresh produce and a more relaxed, welcoming feeling than his first restaurant, FT33. Because The Kitchen is in a hotel, it will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the menus won’t change as frequently as they do at Homewood.

So far all we know about specific dishes is that there will be charcuterie; Walker posted a picture from his menu development on Instagram.

Commons Club represents a potential next level in Dallas hotel dining. It also marks a milestone in McCallister’s career. It’s the first restaurant to have his name in the title; it’s his first time serving breakfast or lunch; it’s his first restaurant in a hotel.

A one-time rebel on the Dallas dining scene has become one of its cornerstones.
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Brian Reinhart has been the Dallas Observer's food critic since spring 2016. In addition, he writes baseball analysis for the Hardball Times and covers classical music for the Observer and MusicWeb International.
Contact: Brian Reinhart