The organizer of Savor Dallas says the long lines that plagued Friday night's wine stroll were a sign the city's dining culture is on the mend from a recession that emptied reservation books.
"I think it means people are feeling better about the economy," Savor Dallas' founder Jim White says. "Restaurants have been struggling; they've been through hard times. We appreciate all the folks who are getting back out there."
On Friday night, those folks numbered about 1,000 too many. As first reported by Sidedish, the annual extravaganza sold 2,200 tickets to a wine tasting event that's typically attended by about 1,200 people. White attributed the increased ticket sales to a Groupon promotion in February and unseasonably good weather last week. He halted on-site sales soon after the Arts District stroll started, but it was too late to staunch the problems posed by overcrowding: Patrons reportedly waited upward of 20 minutes to have their wine glasses filled.
"We were appalled," White says. "We learned some hard lessons."
White has offered to talk with anyone displeased by the long lines, but says thus far nobody has requested a refund.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
"Nobody seemed upset; nobody was jumping up and down," White says of the scene Friday night. "I saw nothing but happy people."
The wine representatives didn't mind having extra tasters willing to sample their wares, White adds: "The vendors were thrilled," he says.
White says the event's format will return to normal next year. While organizers long suspected the event stroll could accommodate more participants, White's now adamant about restricting ticket sales in accordance with the venue size and available chefs.
"We always work to be better and better," he says.